Asian quartet snatch Colombia tickets
© AFP

Korea Republic, Korea DPR, Australia and Saudi Arabia have qualified for next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup by reaching the semi-finals of the AFC U-19 Championship.

The South Koreans were the first to secure passage to Colombia 2011, though not without a fight. Hiroshi Ibusuki struck twice inside the first half-hour to give Japan a two-goal cushion in Linzi, but goals from Kim Kyung-Jung, Hwang Do-Yeo and Jung Seung-Yong – the latter coming in first-half stoppage time – ensured Lee Kwang Jong’s took a 3-2 lead in at the break, and that is how it finished.

Korea DPR’s place in the last four was earned via a 2-0 victory over hosts China PR. The visitors dominated possession in a goalless first half and made it count after the interval, with goals from Jong Il-Gwan and Pak Song-Chol ensuring an all-Korean semi-final ensues.

Australia and Saudi Arabia will contest the remaining last-four tie after requiring extra time to eliminate United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan respectively. Efforts from Matthew Leckie and Matthew Fletcher helped the boys from Down Under, who were 2-2 after 90 minutes, emerge 4-2 victors, while Fahad Al Johani was the solitary marksman in the additional 30 minutes to send the Saudis through.