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2019 AFC Asian Cup

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.[1]

2019 AFC Asian Cup
كأس آسيا 2019
2019 AFC Asian Cup logo.svg
Tournament details
Host countryUnited Arab Emirates
Dates5 January – 1 February
Teams24 (from 1 confederation)
Venue(s)8 (in 4 host cities)
Tournament statistics
Matches played42
Goals scored109 (2.6 per match)
Attendance455,888 (10,854 per match)
Top scorer(s)Qatar Almoez Ali (7 goals)
2015
2023
All statistics correct as of 21 January 2019.

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.

Contents

Host selection

The bidding procedure and timeline for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup was approved at the AFC congress on 28 November 2012.[6] The winning bid was originally set to be announced at an AFC congress in June, then November 2014.[7] 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.[8]

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.[2]

On 9 March 2015, AFC announced the hosts during an AFC Executive Committee meeting in Manama, Bahrain.[9]

Teams

 
  Qualified for Asian Cup
  Failed to qualify
  Disqualified or withdrew
  Not an AFC member

Qualification

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.[3] The new qualification structure took place in three stages, with the first two merging with the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.[3] 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.[10] 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.[11][12]

Qualified teams

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.[13]

The following 24 teams qualified for the final tournament:

Team Method of
qualification
Date of
qualification
Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Previous best
performance
December 2018
FIFA ranking
  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
2 Yemen once qualified to the 1976 AFC Asian Cup as South Yemen, but according to FIFA and the AFC, the previous records of Yemen are registered as North Yemen instead.

Draw

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.[14][15] 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.[16] Four renowned Asian players: Ali Daei, Sun Jihai, Sunil Chhetri and Phil Younghusband were chosen to draw the teams.[17]

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4

  United Arab Emirates (81) (hosts)
  Iran (36)
  Australia (40)
  Japan (60)
  South Korea (61)
  Saudi Arabia (70)

  China PR (73)
  Syria (76)
  Uzbekistan (88)
  Iraq (88)
  Qatar (101)
  Thailand (122)

  Kyrgyzstan (75)
  Lebanon (82)
  Palestine (83)
  Oman (87)
  India (97)
  Vietnam (103)

  North Korea (112)
  Philippines (113)
  Bahrain (116)
  Jordan (117)
  Yemen (125)
  Turkmenistan (129)

Final draw

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:

Group A
Pos Team
A1   United Arab Emirates
A2   Thailand
A3   India
A4   Bahrain
Group B
Pos Team
B1   Australia
B2   Syria
B3   Palestine
B4   Jordan
Group C
Pos Team
C1   South Korea
C2   China PR
C3   Kyrgyzstan
C4   Philippines
Group D
Pos Team
D1   Iran
D2   Iraq
D3   Vietnam
D4   Yemen
Group E
Pos Team
E1   Saudi Arabia
E2   Qatar
E3   Lebanon
E4   North Korea
Group F
Pos Team
F1   Japan
F2   Uzbekistan
F3   Oman
F4   Turkmenistan

Match officials

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.[18][19] Video assistant referees (VAR) will be used from the quarter-finals onwards.[20] In each match, the referee and his assistants are accompanied by two additional assistant referees stationed next to each team's goalpost.

Referees
Assistant referees
Stand-by referees
Stand-by assistant referees

Squads

Each team must register a squad of minimum 18 players and maximum 23 players, minimum three of whom must be goalkeepers.[4]

Venues

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.[21]

Abu Dhabi
Zayed Sports City Stadium Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium Al Nahyan Stadium
Capacity: 45,000[22] (expanded) Capacity: 42,056 (expanded) Capacity: 12,201 (expanded)
     
Dubai
Rashid Stadium
Capacity: 12,000[22] (expanded)
 
Dubai
Al Maktoum Stadium
Capacity: 15,058 (renovated)
 
Al Ain Sharjah
Hazza bin Zayed Stadium Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium Sharjah Stadium
Capacity: 25,965 Capacity: 16,009 (expanded) Capacity: 11,073 (expanded)
     

Format

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.

Schedule

 
Opening ceremony before first group match.

The AFC announced the official match schedule on 7 May 2018.[23][24] 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.

Group stage

The top two teams of each group and the four best third-placed teams advanced to the round of 16.

All times are local, GST (UTC+4).[25]

Tiebreakers

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:[4]

  1. Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
  2. Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
  3. Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
  4. 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;
  5. Goal difference in all group matches;
  6. Goals scored in all group matches;
  7. Penalty shoot-out if only two teams were tied and they met in the last round of the group;
  8. 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);
  9. Drawing of lots.

Group A

 
Zayed Sports City Stadium during the India vs United Arab Emirates match.
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   United Arab Emirates (H) 3 1 2 0 4 2 +2 5 Advance to knockout stage
2   Thailand 3 1 1 1 3 5 −2 4[a]
3   Bahrain 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4[a]
4   India 3 1 0 2 4 4 0 3
Source: AFC
(H) Host.
Notes:
  1. ^ a b Head-to-head points: Thailand 3, Bahrain 0.
United Arab Emirates  1–1  Bahrain
Report
Thailand  1–4  India
Report

Bahrain  0–1  Thailand
Report
Attendance: 2,720
India  0–2  United Arab Emirates
Report

United Arab Emirates  1–1  Thailand
Report
Attendance: 17,809
Referee: Ryuji Sato (Japan)
India  0–1  Bahrain
Report
Attendance: 11,417

Group B

 
Australia vs. Syria
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   Jordan 3 2 1 0 3 0 +3 7 Advance to knockout stage
2   Australia 3 2 0 1 6 3 +3 6
3   Palestine 3 0 2 1 0 3 −3 2
4   Syria 3 0 1 2 2 5 −3 1
Source: AFC
Australia  0–1  Jordan
Report
Attendance: 4,934
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (Oman)
Syria  0–0  Palestine
Report

Jordan  2–0  Syria
Report
Palestine  0–3  Australia
Report
Attendance: 11,915

Australia  3–2  Syria
Report
Palestine  0–0  Jordan
Report

Group C

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   South Korea 3 3 0 0 4 0 +4 9 Advance to knockout stage
2   China PR 3 2 0 1 5 3 +2 6
3   Kyrgyzstan 3 1 0 2 4 4 0 3
4   Philippines 3 0 0 3 1 7 −6 0
Source: AFC
China PR  2–1  Kyrgyzstan
Report
South Korea  1–0  Philippines
Report
Attendance: 3,185

Philippines  0–3  China PR
Report
Kyrgyzstan  0–1  South Korea
Report

South Korea  2–0  China PR
Report
Kyrgyzstan  3–1  Philippines
  • Lux   24'51'77'
Report

Group D

 
Iran vs. Yemen
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   Iran 3 2 1 0 7 0 +7 7 Advance to knockout stage
2   Iraq 3 2 1 0 6 2 +4 7
3   Vietnam 3 1 0 2 4 5 −1 3
4   Yemen 3 0 0 3 0 10 −10 0
Source: AFC
Iran  5–0  Yemen
Report
Iraq  3–2  Vietnam
Report

Vietnam  0–2  Iran
Report
Attendance: 10,841
Yemen  0–3  Iraq
Report
Attendance: 9,757
Referee: Fu Ming (China PR)

Vietnam  2–0  Yemen
Report
Attendance: 8,237
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (Oman)
Iran  0–0  Iraq
Report
Attendance: 15,038

Group E

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   Qatar 3 3 0 0 10 0 +10 9 Advance to knockout stage
2   Saudi Arabia 3 2 0 1 6 2 +4 6
3   Lebanon 3 1 0 2 4 5 −1 3
4   North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 14 −13 0
Source: AFC
Saudi Arabia  4–0  North Korea
Report
Attendance: 5,075
Qatar  2–0  Lebanon
Report
Attendance: 7,847
Referee: Ma Ning (China PR)

Lebanon  0–2  Saudi Arabia
Report
Attendance: 13,792
Referee: Ali Sabah (Iraq)
North Korea  0–6  Qatar
Report

Saudi Arabia  0–2  Qatar
Report
  • Ali   45+1'80'
Lebanon  4–1  North Korea
Report
Attendance: 4,332

Group F

 
Japan vs. Turkmenistan
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   Japan 3 3 0 0 6 3 +3 9 Advance to knockout stage
2   Uzbekistan 3 2 0 1 7 3 +4 6
3   Oman 3 1 0 2 4 4 0 3
4   Turkmenistan 3 0 0 3 3 10 −7 0
Source: AFC
Japan  3–2  Turkmenistan
Report
Attendance: 5,725
Uzbekistan  2–1  Oman
Report
Attendance: 9,424

Oman  0–1  Japan
Report
Turkmenistan  0–4  Uzbekistan
Report

Oman  3–1  Turkmenistan
Report
Japan  2–1  Uzbekistan
Report

Ranking of third-placed teams

Pos Grp Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 A   Bahrain 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4 Advance to knockout stage
2 C   Kyrgyzstan 3 1 0 2 4 4 0 3[a]
3 F   Oman 3 1 0 2 4 4 0 3[a]
4 D   Vietnam 3 1 0 2 4 5 −1 3[b]
5 E   Lebanon 3 1 0 2 4 5 −1 3[b]
6 B   Palestine 3 0 2 1 0 3 −3 2
Source: AFC
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Goals scored; 4) Disciplinary points; 5) Drawing of lots.[4]
Notes:
  1. ^ a b Disciplinary points: Kyrgyzstan −5, Oman −6.
  2. ^ a b Disciplinary points: Vietnam −5, Lebanon −7.

Knockout stage

In the knockout stage, extra time and penalty shoot-out are used to decide the winner if necessary.[4] A fourth substitution can be made during extra time.[26]

Bracket

 
Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
 
              
 
20 January – Hazza bin Zayed
 
 
  Thailand1
 
24 January – Mohammed bin Zayed
 
  China PR2
 
  China PR
 
20 January – Mohammed bin Zayed
 
  Iran
 
  Iran2
 
28 January – Hazza bin Zayed
 
  Oman0
 
Winners Match 46
 
20 January – Al Maktoum
 
Winners Match 45
 
  Jordan1 (2)
 
24 January – Al Maktoum
 
  Vietnam (p)1 (4)
 
  Vietnam
 
21 January – Sharjah
 
  Japan
 
  Japan1
 
1 February – Zayed Sports City
 
  Saudi Arabia0
 
Winners Match 49
 
22 January – Rashid
 
Winners Match 50
 
  South Korea
 
25 January – Zayed Sports City
 
  Bahrain
 
Winners Match 43
 
22 January – Al Nahyan
 
Winners Match 44
 
  Qatar
 
29 January – Mohammed bin Zayed
 
  Iraq
 
Winners Match 47
 
21 January – Zayed Sports City
 
Winners Match 48
 
  United Arab Emirates (a.e.t.)3
 
25 January – Hazza bin Zayed
 
  Kyrgyzstan2
 
  United Arab Emirates
 
21 January – Khalifa bin Zayed
 
  Australia
 
  Australia (p)0 (4)
 
 
  Uzbekistan0 (2)
 

Round of 16


Thailand  1–2  China PR
Report

Iran  2–0  Oman
Report

Japan  1–0  Saudi Arabia
Report

Australia  0–0 (a.e.t.)  Uzbekistan
Report
Penalties
4–2

United Arab Emirates  3–2 (a.e.t.)  Kyrgyzstan
Report

South Korea  Match 43  Bahrain
Report

Qatar  Match 44  Iraq
Report

Quarter-finals

Vietnam  Match 45  Japan
Report

China PR  Match 46  Iran
Report

Winners Match 43Match 47Winners Match 44
Report

United Arab Emirates  Match 48  Australia
Report

Semi-finals

Winners Match 46Match 49Winners Match 45
Report

Winners Match 47Match 50Winners Match 48
Report

Final

Winners Match 49Match 51Winners Match 50
Report

Statistics

Goalscorers

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.

7 goals

4 goals

3 goals

2 goals

1 goal

1 own goal

Discipline

A player is automatically suspended for the next match for the following offences:[4]

  • 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:

Player Offence(s) Suspension(s)
  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)

Marketing

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.[27] 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.[28]

The slogan "Bringing Asia Together" (Arabic: جمع آسيا معاً‎) was unveiled on 5 January 2018, a year before the tournament's kick-off.

Match ball

 
Molten Acentec football used in the tournament.

The official match ball is provided by Molten Corporation.[29] According from the AFC, the match ball will be known as Molten Acentec.[30]

Mascots

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.[31]

Trophy

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.[32] 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.[33] The winner names are engraved around the trophy base.

Prize money

Total prize money pool for the tournament is US$14,800,000.[34] 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.[35]

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.[36]

Broadcasting

The tournament is broadcast live by around 80 TV channels covering the whole world. 800 million people are expected to watch matches,[37] with the tournament reaching a potential TV audience of more than 2.5 billion people.[38] Below is the list of confirmed broadcasting right holders for 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

Country or Territory Channel Ref
  Middle East and North Africa beIN Sports [39]
  Asia-Pacific Fox Sports Asia [40]
  Afghanistan Lemar TV [41]
  Australia Fox Sports [42]
Balkan Countries
Arena Sport [43]
  Cambodia BTV News [44]
  China CCTV, Star Sports, PPTV, Youku [45]
  India Star Sports [46][47]
  Iran IRIB TV3, Varzesh [48]
  Japan TV Asahi, NHK BS1 [49][50]
  Kyrgyzstan KTRK Sport [51]
  Lebanon Télé Liban [52]
  Qatar Al Kass
  South Korea JTBC, JTBC3 Fox Sports [53]
  Syria Syria Sport TV [54]
  Tajikistan Futbol FFT, Varzish TV [55]
  Thailand Channel 7 [40]
  Turkmenistan Turkmenistan Sport
  Uzbekistan MTRK Sport
  Vietnam VTV [40]

BeIN Sports has imposed a separate subscription fee for its MENA subscribers.[56] 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.[57]

Controversies

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.[58] The 1996 AFC Asian Cup which was hosted in the United Arab Emirates had a total of 448,000 (17,231 per match) attendance.

Crowd mismanagement

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”.[59] 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,[60] although the Emirati government later announced that it would permit Qatari citizens temporary entry into the country pending approval from Emirati authorities.[61] 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.[62] 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."[63]

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.[64] 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.[61]

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.[65] 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.[66]

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External links