On June 8, Shin Tae-yong’s squad will go against the former champion Kuwait in the third round of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers.


The third round of AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers will start in June 2022. The draw, which was held virtually in AFC’s headquarter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday, February 24, saw the teams drawn into six groups. 

Indonesia joined Group A, which consists of Jordan, Nepal, and Kuwait. To make it to the main competition, Indonesia must fight hard enough to be able to cut through the Qualifiers. The Garuda squad is bound to be challenged in their new group of strong opponents. 

Also in the team is Nepal from pot 4 - the pot which holds inferior Asian teams. However, in the first match, Indonesia will directly go against the host, Kuwait, on June 8. The opponent country hails from pot 2 and holds the title as the only former Asian Cup champion playing in the Qualifiers round.

In order to cut through to the Final Round, Indonesia has to successfully outride as the group’s champion. Or, at the very least, the team has to be amongst the top 5 runner-ups from all over the groups to make it through to China. 

So far, there are 13 countries that have already secured their place in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Final Round, which will begin from June 16 to July 16, 2023. Indonesia, and the rest of the teams playing in the group phase, are still yet to fight for the 11 tickets left for the ultimate competition.

Fueled with motivation

Although placed in a hell group, Indonesia is not the weakest party. The Shin Tae-yong's squad has previously done a great feat during the play-off, in which they beat Chinese Taipei 2-1 in the 1st leg and 3-0 in the second leg.
In the last match held in October 2021, Indonesia displayed remarkably aggressive play. It didn’t take long for Indonesia to hit their first goal, which was done by Egy Maulana Vikry in the first half. The second goal from Ricky Kambuaya, and the third by Witan Sulaeman, were done in confidence despite suppressing intense stress to defend against the line of Chinese Taipei throughout the game. 

Regardless of its status as one of the pot 3 countries, Indonesia is considered likely to make it through to the AFC Asian Cup China 2023. Following Indonesia's prolific performance in the play-off and recent AFF 2020 final, the team is recruiting two new players to perform in the Qualifiers round. The two foreign players, Sandy Walsh and Jordi Amat, who are both experienced in European competitions, are expected to be an added advantage for the Evan Dimas-led team. It is predicted that the two European players' in-progress naturalization will be finished by the time the third round Qualifiers begin.

Next year, a total of 24 teams will compete in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 which is planned to be held in 10 different stadiums spread across 10 cities.

Given their last appearance in the event was in 2007, Indonesia certainly has a long way ahead to secure a place in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023. Despite this, it is clear that the Indonesian team is motivated, prepared and eager to perform their best effort and taste the long-awaited victory in the AFC Asian Cup 2023. 

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