RANGOON — Burma’s Under-19 national team advanced to the semifinals of the AFC Asian Cup with a 1-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates on Friday, in the process qualifying for the U-20 World Cup for the first time ever. Than Paing scored the winner for Burma, finding the back of the net in the 52nd minute at Rangoon’s Thuwunna Youth Training Center Stadium before a crowd of 29,000 people. The team on Monday faces the winner of a quarterfinal match between China and Qatar, scheduled for later Friday night. The U-20 World Cup will be played in New Zealand from May 30 to June 20 next year. Burma will be one of just four Asian countries represented at the 32-team tournament. [irrawaddy_gallery] Following Than Paing’s go-ahead goal on Friday, the Burmese team settled into a defensive stance and possession was dominated by the UAE, making for a nerve-wracking final stretch that included a whopping seven minutes of stoppage time. Burma is hosting the AFC Asian Cup this year, with the final scheduled for Oct. 23 in Rangoon. North Korea also advanced to the semifinals on Friday, beating Japan in a penalty kick shootout and securing the team a place in the 2015 World Cup alongside Burma.
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