President Jokowi applauds the Indonesian U-23 team’s historic run at the AFC Asian Cup

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo praised the Indonesian U-23 national team for their performance in reaching the semi-finals of the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup in Qatar despite being debutants.

Expressing his appreciation via his Instagram account @jokowi, Jokowi wrote in response to Iraq’s victory on Thursday: “The Indonesian U-23 national football team must accept defeat after losing 1-2 to Iraq in their match at the AFC U -23 Asian Cup. As debutants, their performance in reaching the semi-finals deserves appreciation.”

On Friday, Jokowi urged the Young Garuda Squad to remain energetic in their quest for a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics against Guinea in the upcoming play-off match.

Indonesia’s hopes of automatic qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics were dashed on Thursday after a 1-2 defeat to Iraq in the third-place play-off match of the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

As a result of this defeat, the Young Garudas will now face Guinea, the fourth-place team of the 2023 Africa U-23 Cup, in a play-off match scheduled for May 9 in Paris, France.

Meanwhile, Iraq, who finished third in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup behind Japan and Uzbekistan, have secured their place at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Shin Tae-yong, the coach of the Indonesian U-23 National Team, praised the performance of Justin Hubner and his teammates during the tournament in Qatar.

Despite their debut in the tournament, Marselino and his teammates managed to reach the semi-finals and finished in fourth place.

“Since the beginning of the tournament, many may have thought that Indonesia’s performance was very dramatic. I think this team deserves praise for the results they achieved,” Shin said at a post-match press conference.

The Young Garudas made history by reaching the semi-finals, beating strong teams such as Australia and Jordan in the group stage and South Korea in the quarter-finals. However, they ultimately lost to Uzbekistan and then Iraq in the third place play-offs, which also undermined Indonesia’s chances of securing an Olympic spot earlier.

In the match against Iraq, Indonesia took the lead through a goal by Ivar Jenner in the 19th minute. However, Iraq equalized in the 27th minute through Zaid Tahseen Hantoosh’s goal.

Iraq secured victory with Ali Jasim’s goal in extra time, resulting in a final score of 2–1.

“Congratulations to Iraq for qualifying for the Olympic Games. This match showed the fierce struggle of both teams to secure third place and an Olympic place. Both teams played very well, and I am very grateful to the Indonesian team for their hard work battle in this match,” Shin said.

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