2019 AFC Asian Cup
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The 2019 AFC Asian Cup is the 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Asia organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It is being held in the United Arab Emirates from 5 January to 1 February 2019.
|كأس آسيا 2019|
|Host country||United Arab Emirates|
|Dates||5 January – 1 February|
|Teams||24 (from 1 confederation)|
|Venue(s)||8 (in 4 host cities)|
|Goals scored||109 (2.6 per match)|
|Attendance||455,888 (10,854 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Almoez Ali (7 goals)|
The United Arab Emirates was announced as the host for the tournament on 9 March 2015, with Iran being the only remaining bidder for the right to host the 2019 finals. It is the second time that the United Arab Emirates hosts the tournament after the 1996 finals.
For the first time, the Asian Cup final tournament is contested by 24 teams, having been expanded from the 16-team format that was used from 2004 to 2015. Under this new format, the finalists will contest a group stage consisting of six groups of four teams, followed by a knockout stage of 16 teams. The host nation automatically qualified for the final tournament, while the remaining 23 places were determined among the other 45 national teams through a qualifying competition, running from March 2015 to March 2018, in which the first two rounds also served as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification process for the AFC.
Australia are the defending champions going into the tournament, having won the previous competition in 2015. The winner of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup will earn the right to participate in the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup which is to be hosted by a yet to be determined AFC association after 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts, Qatar, lost the rights. Given the 2021 Confederations Cup host country qualify as hosts, if the eventual host country also wins the Asian Cup, the Asian Cup runner-up will qualify.
The bidding procedure and timeline for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup was approved at the AFC congress on 28 November 2012. The winning bid was originally set to be announced at an AFC congress in June, then November 2014. However, at its 60th Anniversary celebrations at the end of 2014, AFC gave the date of 'summer 2015' to when an announcement would be made.
In January 2015, AFC general secretary Alex Soosay said that Iran and the United Arab Emirates were the only two remaining bidders for the 2019 Asian Cup, and that the eventual hosts would be announced in March 2015.
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification process determined the 24 participating teams for the tournament. In 2014, a proposal to merge the preliminary qualification rounds of the FIFA World Cup with those of the AFC Asian Cup was ratified by the AFC Competitions Committee. The new qualification structure took place in three stages, with the first two merging with the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification. In the first round, the lowest ranked teams played home-and-away over two legs to reduce the total number of teams to 40. In the second round, the 40 teams were divided into eight groups of five to play home-and-away round-robin matches, where the eight group winners and the four best group runners-up qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals. In the third round, the next best 24 teams eliminated from second round were divided into six groups of four and competed for the remaining slots of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. The first qualifying round of the qualification took place on 12 March 2015, and the final match of the third round took place on 27 March 2018.
India, Syria, Thailand and Turkmenistan qualified to the tournament after being absent in several Asian Cup tournaments spanning from 2004 to 2015. Lebanon and Vietnam both qualified for the first time after hosting the tournaments, in 2000 and 2007 respectively. For Vietnam, this was the first time they qualified for the AFC Asian Cup as a unified nation, having participated as South Vietnam in the first two editions (1956 and 1960), outside of hosting the 2007 edition. This was also the first time Yemen qualified for the AFC Asian Cup as a unified country, due to FIFA and AFC categorizing the participation of South Yemen in the 1976 as a distinct record not related to Yemen, who succeeded North Yemen. In addition to Yemen, the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan also marked this edition as their first times to qualify for an Asian Cup.
Tajikistan, along with its fellow CAFA member nation Afghanistan, were the only two countries from their confederation who failed to qualify for the tournament. Iran qualified to the Asian Cup for the first time as a CAFA member, having qualified as part of the WAFF before. Malaysia and Indonesia were the only co-hosts of the 2007 edition that did not qualify for the Asian Cup, as Malaysia had ended their campaign in disaster with just one point out of six matches; while Indonesia was barred from entering the qualification due to tension inside the PSSI which led to FIFA suspension. Kuwait was the only Arab country not to qualify for the Asian Cup, as they were also barred from completing the qualification due to FIFA's sanction. India remained as the only South Asian team to qualify for the tournament. On 13 November 2018 Asian Football Confederation warned the Iranian government to stop meddling in the country's football association, otherwise it may face sanctions before Asian cup games start in January.
The following 24 teams qualified for the final tournament:
|United Arab Emirates||Hosts||9 March 2015||10th||2015||Runners-up (1996)||79|
|Qatar||Second Round Group C winners||17 November 2015||10th||2015||Quarter-finals (2000, 2011)||93|
|South Korea||Second Round Group G winners||13 January 2016||14th||2015||Winners (1956, 1960)||53|
|Japan||Second Round Group E winners||24 March 2016||9th||2015||Winners (1992, 2000, 2004, 2011)||50|
|Thailand||Second Round Group F winners||24 March 2016||7th||2007||Third place (1972)||118|
|Saudi Arabia||Second Round Group A winners||24 March 2016||10th||2015||Winners (1984, 1988, 1996)||69|
|Australia||Second Round Group B winners||29 March 2016||4th||2015||Winners (2015)||41|
|Uzbekistan||Second Round Group H winners||29 March 2016||7th||2015||Fourth place (2011)||95|
|Iran||Second Round Group D winners||29 March 2016||14th||2015||Winners (1968, 1972, 1976)||29|
|Syria||Second Round Group E runners-up||29 March 2016||6th||2011||Group stage (1980, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2011)||74|
|Iraq||Second Round Group F runners-up||29 March 2016||9th||2015||Winners (2007)||88|
|China PR||Second Round Group C runners-up||29 March 2016||12th||2015||Runners-up (1984, 2004)||76|
|Palestine||Third Round Group D runners-up||10 October 2017||2nd||2015||Group stage (2015)||99|
|Oman||Third Round Group D winners||10 October 2017||4th||2015||Group stage (2004, 2007, 2015)||82|
|India||Third Round Group A winners||11 October 2017||4th||2011||Runners-up (1964)||97|
|Lebanon||Third Round Group B winners||10 November 2017||2nd||2000||Group stage (2000)||81|
|Turkmenistan||Third Round Group E runners-up||14 November 2017||2nd||2004||Group stage (2004)||127|
|Jordan||Third Round Group C winners||14 November 2017||4th||2015||Quarter-finals (2004, 2011)||109|
|Bahrain||Third Round Group E winners||14 November 2017||6th||2015||Fourth place (2004)||113|
|Vietnam||Third Round Group C runners-up||14 November 2017||4th||2007||Fourth place (19561, 19601)||100|
|Kyrgyzstan||Third Round Group A runners-up||22 March 2018||1st||Debut||None||91|
|North Korea||Third Round Group B runners-up||27 March 2018||5th||2015||Fourth place (1980)||109|
|Philippines||Third Round Group F winners||27 March 2018||1st||Debut||None||116|
|Yemen||Third Round Group F runners-up||27 March 2018||1st2||Debut||None||135|
- 1 As South Vietnam
The draw of the final tournament was held on 4 May 2018, 19:30 GST, at the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The FIFA rankings of April 2018 were used as basis for the seeding. The 12 teams that secured their place in the final tournament by the end of the second round of the qualification process were placed in Pots 1 and 2 while the remaining teams which qualified during the third round were allocated to the remaining pots. As hosts, the United Arab Emirates were seeded into Pot 1. The 24 teams were drawn into six groups of four teams, with the hosts placed in position A1. Four renowned Asian players: Ali Daei, Sun Jihai, Sunil Chhetri and Phil Younghusband were chosen to draw the teams.
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|
Teams were drawn consecutively into Group A to F. Teams from each pot were assigned to the positions of their groups following by number orders of group stage, for example Pot 1 team were assigned to A1, and continued.
The draw resulted in the following groups:
On 5 December 2018, the AFC announced the list of 30 referees, 30 assistant referees, two stand-by referees and two stand-by assistant referees, including one referee and two assistant referees from CONCACAF for the tournament. Video assistant referees (VAR) will be used from the quarter-finals onwards. In each match, the referee and his assistants are accompanied by two additional assistant referees stationed next to each team's goalpost.
- Assistant referees
- Stand-by referees
- Stand-by assistant referees
Each team must register a squad of minimum 18 players and maximum 23 players, minimum three of whom must be goalkeepers.
After being awarded the bid, initially the UAE chose six stadiums to host the tournament. The six stadiums were Zayed Sports City Stadium and Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium and Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, and Dubai's Al Ahli Stadium and DSC Stadium. Later, two stadiums in Dubai were dropped due to financial problems and were replaced by Al Maktoum Stadium and Rashid Stadium, which were also located in Dubai.
After the 2015 Asian Cup, the AFC agreed to increase the number of teams from 16 to 24, following the UEFA Euro 2016. Hence, more stadiums were about to be chosen and rebuilt, in which Sharjah and Abu Dhabi won the rights to have more stadiums for the tournament. Sharjah Stadium and Al Nahyan Stadium were chosen aftermath, finalized the number of stadium to eight.
The eight venues used are Zayed Sports City Stadium, Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, and Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium and Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, Al Maktoum Stadium and Rashid Stadium in Dubai, and Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah.
|Zayed Sports City Stadium||Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium||Al Nahyan Stadium|
|Capacity: 45,000 (expanded)||Capacity: 42,056 (expanded)||Capacity: 12,201 (expanded)|
|Capacity: 12,000 (expanded)|
|Al Maktoum Stadium|
|Capacity: 15,058 (renovated)|
|Hazza bin Zayed Stadium||Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium||Sharjah Stadium|
|Capacity: 25,965||Capacity: 16,009 (expanded)||Capacity: 11,073 (expanded)|
The tournament was expanded to 24 teams from the previous format of 16 teams, which had been used since 2004. Only the hosts will receive an automatic qualification spot, while the other 23 teams will qualify through a qualification tournament. At the finals, the 24 teams will be drawn into six groups of four teams each. The teams in each group play a single round robin. After the group stage, the top two teams and the four best third teams will advance to the knockout stage, beginning with the round of 16. For the first time since a knockout stage was added to the competition in 1972, there will be no third place play-off. The format is exactly the one which was applied to UEFA Euro 2016, and is similar to the format of the 1986, 1990, and 1994 FIFA World Cups, except that the World Cup included a third place play-off.
The AFC announced the official match schedule on 7 May 2018. Zayed Sports City Stadium, one of three stadiums in Abu Dhabi, will stage both the opening match and the final. The match schedule itself will maximise the use of venues. At least five matches will be allocated to each venue, with every ground hosting at least one match in the knockout stage. The semi-finals will be played on different days in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. No city will host two matches on the same day – except in the final round of group stage matches when simultaneous kick-off is required.
The top two teams of each group and the four best third-placed teams advanced to the round of 16.
Teams were ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss), and if tied on points, the following tiebreaking criteria were applied, in the order given, to determine the rankings:
- Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
- Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
- Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
- If more than two teams were tied, and after applying all head-to-head criteria above, a subset of teams were still tied, all head-to-head criteria above were reapplied exclusively to this subset of teams;
- Goal difference in all group matches;
- Goals scored in all group matches;
- Penalty shoot-out if only two teams were tied and they met in the last round of the group;
- Disciplinary points (yellow card = 1 point, red card as a result of two yellow cards = 3 points, direct red card = 3 points, yellow card followed by direct red card = 4 points);
- Drawing of lots.
|1||United Arab Emirates (H)||3||1||2||0||4||2||+2||5||Advance to knockout stage|
- Head-to-head points: Thailand 3, Bahrain 0.
|United Arab Emirates||1–1||Bahrain|
|India||0–2||United Arab Emirates|
|United Arab Emirates||1–1||Thailand|
|1||Jordan||3||2||1||0||3||0||+3||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||South Korea||3||3||0||0||4||0||+4||9||Advance to knockout stage|
|South Korea||2–0||China PR|
|1||Iran||3||2||1||0||7||0||+7||7||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||Qatar||3||3||0||0||10||0||+10||9||Advance to knockout stage|
|Saudi Arabia||4–0||North Korea|
|1||Japan||3||3||0||0||6||3||+3||9||Advance to knockout stage|
Ranking of third-placed teams
|1||A||Bahrain||3||1||1||1||2||2||0||4||Advance to knockout stage|
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Goals scored; 4) Disciplinary points; 5) Drawing of lots.
- Disciplinary points: Kyrgyzstan −5, Oman −6.
- Disciplinary points: Vietnam −5, Lebanon −7.
|Round of 16||Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Final|
|20 January – Hazza bin Zayed|
|24 January – Mohammed bin Zayed|
|20 January – Mohammed bin Zayed|
|28 January – Hazza bin Zayed|
|Winners Match 46|
|20 January – Al Maktoum|
|Winners Match 45|
|24 January – Al Maktoum|
|Vietnam (p)||1 (4)|
|21 January – Sharjah|
|1 February – Zayed Sports City|
|Winners Match 49|
|22 January – Rashid|
|Winners Match 50|
|25 January – Zayed Sports City|
|Winners Match 43|
|22 January – Al Nahyan|
|Winners Match 44|
|29 January – Mohammed bin Zayed|
|Winners Match 47|
|21 January – Zayed Sports City|
|Winners Match 48|
|United Arab Emirates (a.e.t.)||3|
|25 January – Hazza bin Zayed|
|United Arab Emirates|
|21 January – Khalifa bin Zayed|
|Australia (p)||0 (4)|
Round of 16
|United Arab Emirates||3–2 (a.e.t.)||Kyrgyzstan|
There have been 109 goals scored in 42 matches, for an average of 2.6 goals per match. Players highlighted in bold are still active in the competition.
- Apostolos Giannou
- Chris Ikonomidis
- Jamie Maclaren
- Tom Rogic
- Mohamed Al Romaihi
- Jamal Rashid
- Gao Lin
- Xiao Zhi
- Jeje Lalpekhlua
- Anirudh Thapa
- Saman Ghoddos
- Alireza Jahanbakhsh
- Alaa Abbas
- Ali Adnan
- Bashar Resan
- Humam Tariq
- Ritsu Doan
- Genki Haraguchi
- Yoshinori Muto
- Tsukasa Shiotani
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Baha' Abdel-Rahman
- Musa Al-Taamari
- Anas Bani Yaseen
- Tareq Khattab
- Akhlidin Israilov
- Mirlan Murzaev
- Tursunali Rustamov
- Hassan Maatouk
- Felix Michel Melki
- Pak Kwang-ryong
- Mohammed Al-Musalami
- Ahmed Kano
- Stephan Schröck
- Bassam Al-Rawi
- Abdelkarim Hassan
- Boualem Khoukhi
- Salem Al-Dawsari
- Mohammed Al-Fatil
- Housain Al-Mogahwi
- Hattan Bahebri
- Omar Al Somah
- Omar Kharbin
- Chanathip Songkrasin
- Supachai Jaided
- Teerasil Dangda
- Thitipan Puangchan
- Arslanmyrat Amanow
- Altymyrat Annadurdyýew
- Ahmet Ataýew
- Khamis Esmaeel
- Khalfan Mubarak
- Odil Ahmedov
- Jaloliddin Masharipov
- Javokhir Sidikov
- Nguyễn Quang Hải
- Quế Ngọc Hải
1 own goal
A player is automatically suspended for the next match for the following offences:
- Receiving a red card (red card suspensions may be extended for serious offences)
- Receiving two yellow cards in two matches; yellow cards expire after the completion of the quarter-finals (yellow card suspensions are not carried forward to any other future international matches)
The following suspensions were served during the tournament:
|Zheng Zhi||in Qualification vs Qatar (qualification; 5 September 2017)||Group C vs Kyrgyzstan (matchday 1; 7 January)|
|Mohammed Saleh||in Group B vs Syria (matchday 1; 6 January)||Group B vs Australia (matchday 2; 11 January)|
|Han Kwang-song||in Group E vs Saudi Arabia (matchday 1; 8 January)||Group E vs Qatar (matchday 2; 13 January)|
|Egor Krimets||in Group F vs Oman (matchday 1; 9 January)||Group F vs Turkmenistan (matchday 2; 13 January)|
|Pansa Hemviboon|| in Group A vs India (matchday 1; 6 January)
in Group A vs Bahrain (matchday 2; 10 January)
|Group A vs United Arab Emirates (matchday 3; 14 January)|
|Musa Al-Taamari|| in Group B vs Australia (matchday 1; 6 January)
in Group B vs Syria (matchday 2; 10 January)
|Group B vs Palestine (matchday 3; 15 January)|
|Trent Sainsbury|| in Group B vs Jordan (matchday 1; 6 January)
in Group B vs Palestine (matchday 2; 11 January)
|Group B vs Syria (matchday 3; 15 January)|
|Jonathan Cantillana|| in Group B vs Syria (matchday 1; 6 January)
in Group B vs Australia (matchday 2; 11 January)
|Group B vs Jordan (matchday 3; 15 January)|
|Lee Yong|| in Group C vs Philippines (matchday 1; 7 January)
in Group C vs Kyrgyzstan (matchday 2; 11 January)
|Group C vs China PR (matchday 3; 16 January)|
|Đỗ Duy Mạnh|| in Group D vs Iraq (matchday 1; 8 January)
in Group D vs Iran (matchday 2; 12 January)
|Group D vs Yemen (matchday 3; 16 January)|
|Salem Al-Dawsari|| in Group E vs North Korea (matchday 1; 8 January)
in Group E vs Lebanon (matchday 2; 12 January)
|Group E vs Qatar (matchday 3; 17 January)|
|Ri Il-jin|| in Group E vs Saudi Arabia (matchday 1; 8 January)
in Group E vs Qatar (matchday 2; 13 January)
|Group E vs Lebanon (matchday 3; 17 January)|
|Jong Il-gwan||in Group E vs Qatar (matchday 2; 13 January)|
|Suphan Thongsong|| in Group A vs Bahrain (matchday 2; 10 January)
in Group A vs United Arab Emirates (matchday 3; 14 January)
|Round of 16 vs China PR (20 January)|
|Zhang Linpeng|| in Group C vs South Korea (matchday 3; 16 January)
in Round of 16 vs Thailand (20 January)
|Quarter-final vs Iran (24 January)|
|Vahid Amiri|| in Group D vs Iraq (matchday 3; 16 January)
in Round of 16 vs Oman (20 January)
|Quarter-final vs China PR (24 January)|
|Yoshinori Muto|| in Group F vs Uzbekistan (matchday 3; 17 January)
in Round of 16 vs Saudi Arabia (21 January)
|Quarter-final vs Vietnam (24 January)|
Logo and slogan
The official logo of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup was unveiled on 23 January 2017 in Abu Dhabi during the drawing ceremony for the third round of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification. The colors used in the logo were derived from the flag of the UAE. The seven hexagons formed by colored ribbons represents the seven emirates of the host country. The interlacing hexagon pattern of the logo was inspired from Islamic art, as well as the old Emirati tradition of using palm leaves, locally known as saf, in weaving. The outer circle along with the geometric design within it symbolizes the sport of football.
The slogan "Bringing Asia Together" (Arabic: جمع آسيا معاً) was unveiled on 5 January 2018, a year before the tournament's kick-off.
During the final draw on 4 May 2018, two mascots, Mansour and Jarrah, were unveiled. Mansour is a typical Arab football kid, while Jarrah is an Arabian falcon with lightning speed.
During the draw for the 2019 group stage on 4 May 2018 at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, an all new trophy made by Thomas Lyte was unveiled. It is 78 centimeters tall, 42 centimeters wide, and weighs 15 kilograms of silver. The trophy is modeled over lotus flower, a symbolically important aquatic Asian plant and five petals of the lotus symbolized the five sub-confederations under the AFC. The winner names are engraved around the trophy base.
Total prize money pool for the tournament is US$14,800,000. The champions will receive US$5 million, the runners-up will receive USD$3 million, and the losing semi-finalists will receive US$1 million. All 24 participating teams will also receive US$200,000.
Team bus slogans
The tournament organizers held a competition where fans got to choose and vote on slogans to be used on the team buses of the 24 participating national teams.
The tournament is broadcast live by around 80 TV channels covering the whole world. 800 million people are expected to watch matches, with the tournament reaching a potential TV audience of more than 2.5 billion people. Below is the list of confirmed broadcasting right holders for 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
BeIN Sports has imposed a separate subscription fee for its MENA subscribers. In the Philippines, the Asian Cup is broadcast on free-to-air television; ESPN5 made a "competitive bid" to broadcast the tournament in the Philippines but it was not accepted by the AFC.
Potential attendance issues
According to The National, poor attendance records have been seen as a problem for the United Arab Emirates, but AFC officials are confident the tournament will attract significant numbers. The 1996 AFC Asian Cup which was hosted in the United Arab Emirates had a total of 448,000 (17,231 per match) attendance.
Despite the tournament being on track for a modern record low attendance, it was reported that many ticket-holding fans were not let into the Group B match between Palestine and Australia, with management closing a number of the stadium gates before the start of the match and estimates of up to three thousand fans remaining in queue half an hour after kickoff. The Asian Cup organising committee issued an apology to supporters who were “inconvenienced or left disappointed”. Other games with relatively large attendances during the group stage were also not seen to reach their full attendance in the stands until after half time.
Qatar travel complications
Since 5 June 2017, Qatar has been embroiled in a political row with a number of its neighbours, including the UAE. As a result of the dispute, the UAE suspended all direct flights between the two countries, and initially banned Qatari citizens from entering the country, although the Emirati government later announced that it would permit Qatari citizens temporary entry into the country pending approval from Emirati authorities. According to a report, Saoud al-Mohannadi, a Qatari national who is the AFC vice-president and chairman of the organizing committee for the Asian Cup, was unable to enter the UAE two days prior to the tournament's start because Emirati authorities had not yet cleared him. The director of the 2019 AFC Organizing Committee denied reports that Al Mohannadi was refused entry and declared that Al Mohannadi has arrived on Friday morning and was preparing for his meetings. The director stated that there was no evidence that shows he was unable to enter and stated that this news has "political purposes". He stated "We try to keep sports away from politics."
The Qatar diplomatic crisis prevented many fans from attending Qatar matches in the United Arab Emirates. This has affected attendance figures in Qatar matches, as little more than 450 people spectated the Group E clash between North Korea and Qatar on 13 January. The United Arab Emirates government has confirmed previously that Qatari citizens may enter UAE with prior permission obtained directly through a hotline from UAE authorities.
According to Qatar's Sports Press Committee, five Qatar based media representatives were denied entry into the UAE despite having entry visas and receiving assurances that they would be allowed to attend and report on the tournament by the AFC. The AFC Media Committee dismissed the Qatari reports and stated that some of the Qatari based journalists confused visit visas with work visas and advised all journalists to contact them if they encounter any issues with the entry visa type.
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