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Fairy tale of Syria U23 – The team which dethroned the former champion and now READY for Olympic dream

Fairy tale of Syria U23 – The team which dethroned the former champion and now READY for Olympic dream

It was truly a David and Goliath story when Syria defeated and sent the AFC U23 Championship 2016’s champions Japan back to their home and qualify for the quarter-final.

It is no sheer luck that Syria has reached this level but rather than a lot of passion and dedication.

The conflict breaking out in 2011 has taken its toll on Syrian football ever since. Football training sessions right in the capital city of Damascus were always under constant threat of bombing and violence.

Fairy tale of Syria U23 – The team which dethroned the former champion and now READY for Olympic dream

Many Syrian footballers have left the country and played abroad for clubs in countries the likes of China, Saudi Arabia, etc. The ones staying in Syria did not have the pleasure to be 100% footballers but rather than part-time soldiers and the dilemma peaked with the death of goalkeeper @Abdul Baset al-Sarout@, who took up arms and got hit in the line of fire.

Nevertheless, Syrian football has seen the light at the end of the tunnel in recent years with the cooling of the civil war. In 2018, for the first time in 7 years of conflict, the three-tier football league system was restored with matches drawing up to 30,000 spectators.

Syria national men’s football team almost made history with the first time they have attended FIFA World Cup 2018 but only lost to Australia in the last qualification round. Syria U23 are also having an amazing run in which they have remained unbeaten since their loss against Vietnam in AFC U23 Championship.

Fairy tale of Syria U23 – The team which dethroned the former champion and now READY for Olympic dream

With the fighting spirit of a country rose from ruins and a style of play full of pace and speed, U23 Syria has been a serious contender in AFC U23 Championship 2020. At the quarter-final, they will face the team of Australia U23 and now, just started dreaming of a place in Tokyo.