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Friendly roundup: Falcao gives Colombia win in Japan, and more

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Colombia beat Japan 1-0 in Yokohama and South Korea beat Bolivia 1-0 in Ulsan in friendlies on Friday.

Radamel Falcao converted a second-half penalty after a handball by Takehiro Tomiyasu, to give Carlos Queiroz a win in his first match as Colombia coach.

[READ: Adams leaves USMNT camp for Leipzig]

Colombia earned a measure of revenge for losing to Japan in the World Cup pool stage last year, although both teams advanced, and Queiroz also earned some revenge as his eight-year tenure in charge of Iran was ended by Japan in January in the Asian Cup semifinals.

Japan failed to find the target despite 17 attempts in its first game since losing the Asian Cup final to Qatar.

Japan, joining Colombia at the Copa America in June in Brazil, gets another taste of South American action on Tuesday against Bolivia.

South Korea struggled to make its domination count against Bolivia. Son Heung-min wasted several chances before a header by Lee Chung-yong scored the winner with five minutes remaining.

The Koreans welcome Colombia to Seoul on Tuesday.

Korean plan among nine possible bids for 2023 Women’s World Cup

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says nine soccer federations are interested in hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup including South Korea, which could jointly bid with North Korea.

Brazil and South Africa are in the contest, suggesting underused stadiums built to host the 2014 and 2010 World Cups could be picked.

Other contenders are Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan and New Zealand.

South Korean officials said this month that FIFA approached them to explore a joint bid with North Korea.

Potential candidates have until April 16 to register to bid, then until Oct. 4 to submit bid books.

FIFA now includes a human rights evaluation when assessing World Cup bidders.

The 37-member FIFA Council will pick the host in March next year.

The next Women’s World Cup is played June 7-July 7 in France.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Vancouver signs South Korean midfielder as new Young DP

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Vancouver’s roster reshape has a potentially massive big piece.

The Whitecaps have signed South Korean playmaker In-beom Hwang from Daejon Citizen for two seasons with options for two more.

[ MORE: Son inspires Spurs win ]

The 22-year-old center midfielder will be a Young Designated Player for the ‘Caps, and becomes their first DP since the departures of Brek Shea (Atlanta United) and Kendall Waston (FC Cincinnati).

He has both attacking and defensive qualities, and has been capped 12 times by South Korea.

Hwang played all five matches of South Korea’s Asian Cup, which ended with a quarterfinal loss to Qatar. He scored against Panama in an October friendly.

Asian Cup: Qatar, UAE stun South Korea, Australia to reach semifinals (video)

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It was a day of huge shocks in the 2019 Asian Cup, as two soccer minnows reached the semifinal stage and one of them will be in the final on Feb. 1.

In Qatar’s case, it was the first time they’ve reached the final four of this tournament in their history. Qatar is currently 93rd in FIFA’s world rankings.

[ MORE: Latest Asian Cup news ]

Qatar and hosts UAE edged by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) giants South Korea and Australia respectively, as a single goal in the second half of each game did the damage.

Due to their injury issues, Tottenham Hotspur will be very happy that South Korean captain Heung-Min Son is heading home as he could now be available for their Premier League clash with Watford on Wednesday. While hosts UAE stunned reigning champs Australia in front of a jubilant home crowd in Abu Dhabi.

Below is a brief recap on what happened in the two quarterfinals on Thursday, as Qatar and UAE will now play each other for a place in the final with Iran and Japan clashing in the other semifinal.


Qatar 1-0 South Korea
The hosts for the 2022 World Cup reached their first-ever Asian Cup semifinal in stunning fashion, as they knocked out red-hot favorites South Korea. Captained by Heung-min Son, the Koreans had the majority of the play but couldn’t break through. Then Abdulaziz Hatem struck a wonderful effort from distance which sent Qatar into the final four. South Korea did score a few moments after Hatem’s opener, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside. Spurs sent out a message of commiseration for Son, but we all know they are delighted to have him back after the injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli over the past two weeks.


United Arab Emirates 1-0 Australia
The local hero Ali Mabkhout scored the winner with 22 minutes to go, and Australia had no answer. The reigning champs are out. Al-Jazira striker Mabkhout took his tally at the tournament to four goals as he latched onto a poor back pass from Degenek, rounded Mat Ryan and scored. Another PL club will benefit from Australia’s unexpected early exit, as Brighton will get starting goalkeeper Ryan back. Take a look below at the moment the UAE made it through to their second-straight Asian Cup semifinal, as Mabkhout played the hero in his hometown.

Asian Cup Wrap: South Korea clinches top spot in group, and more

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Heung-Min Son started, recorded an assist and went 89 minutes three days after arriving in the United Arab Emirates as South Korea finished off the group stage with a resounding, 2-0 win over China.

With the win, South Korea’s third straight, the Taegeuk Warriors advance to the knockout stages as one of the top seeds, where they’ll face a third-place team in their next match. Ui-Jo Huang scored on a penalty kick in the 14th minute to give South Korea the lead, and six minutes into the second half, Min-Jae Kim powered home a header off a Son corner kick to put the game away.

[READ: Goal-scoring Martinez re-signs with Atlanta United]

China won’t be too upset about the defeat. They finished in second place in Group C, and will open the knockout round against Thailand.

Elsewhere in Asian Cup action, Vitalij Lux scored a hat-trick as Kyrgyzstan beat the Philippines, possibly earning a spot in the knockout stages. It’s Kyrgyzstan‘s first appearance at the Asian Cup.

In Group D action, leaders Iraq and Iran, both enemies politically, perhaps finished with an appropriate scoreline. The two sides settled for a scoreless draw, seeing both advance to the next round. Vietnam, meanwhile, picked up its first win in a 2-0 victory over Yemen, potentially keeping its Asian Cup hopes alive for a few more days.