Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, Qatar national team coach, described the Asian Cup draw that was drawn today in the Qatari capital, Doha, at the Katara Opera House, as excellent, pointing out that the most important thing is that “we are among the best teams in Asia and the world.” We want to compete against the best and beat them.”
And the former Iran national team coach added, “It is time to work to be ready at the start of the tournament and defend the title. We know exactly what awaits us. The next step is to think about ourselves. It does not matter who we will face, but that we are ready at the right time to face everyone.
The draw for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, scheduled for Qatar in early 2024, resulted in balanced groups, so the Qatari champion signed with China, and four-time crowned Japan with Iraq and Vietnam, while the path of the Saudi national team seems easy because it falls with Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Oman.
The draw for the finals, scheduled between January 12 and February 10, 2024, was drawn on Thursday.
Qatar fell into an acceptable first group that includes China, runner-up in 1984 and 2004, Tajikistan, the only participant for the first time in the finals, and Lebanon, which will play the opening match against the host country.
Al-Annabi failed at home in the 2022 World Cup when it was bid farewell from the group stage with nostalgia after 3 disappointing losses. Veteran Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz replaced Spain’s Felix Sanchez.
In the strong second, Australia, which reached the elimination rounds in the World Cup in Qatar and was crowned in 2015 with the Asian Cup on its soil, will face both Uzbekistan, fourth in 2011, Syria and India.
Australia coach Graham Arnold said: “Naturally, we expect to win any tournament in which we participate. We achieved excellent results in Qatar, and we are used to playing here.”
Iran, the three-time champion and close to qualifying for the round of 16 in the World Cup in Qatar, signed with the Emirates, Hong Kong, returning to the continental competition for the first time since 1968, and Palestine in Group C.
As for Japan, which has the best world ranking in Asia (20) and holds the record for the number of wins (4), the last of which was in 2011 in Qatar, it will face Iraq, the 2007 champion, Indonesia and Vietnam in the fourth. Coach Hajime Moriyasu’s team defeated Spain on its way to reaching the round of 16 in the last World Cup in Qatar.
In Group E, South Korea signed with Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain in the fourth of 2004.
The “Taeguk Warriors” are currently coaching the German Jurgen Klinsmann, and their attack is led by the English player, Tottenham Hotspur Heung-Min Son, in the process of searching for the first title since 1960 and the third in its history.
Iraqi Adnan Hamad said in statements to reporters: “In Qatar, we always present high levels due to the quality of the stadiums and good organization, as well as the presence of the Jordanian fans.”
In the last sixth, Saudi Arabia, the defending champion, will play three times, the last of which was in 1996, with its neighbor, the Sultanate of Oman, and Thailand, third in 1972, and Kyrgyzstan.--
And it was the only Saudi Arabia that beat Argentina, the champion in the 2022 World Cup.
While the 24 teams were divided into four levels according to the FIFA classification, the first round competitions take place in a one-round league system between the teams of each group, so that the first and second places advance to the round of sixteen, accompanied by the four best third-place teams.
The tournament qualifiers, organized once every four years, spanned three years.
The tournament was scheduled to take place in 10 Chinese cities in June and July 2023, before China apologized last year due to exceptional circumstances related to the Corona virus pandemic. South Korea and Indonesia, along with Qatar, expressed their desire to host the tournament, before the two countries withdrew, and Qatar won the organization and became the first host of the finals three times after the 1988 and 2011 editions.
The next edition of the tournament will be held with the participation of 24 teams for the second time, after the last edition in the United Arab Emirates in 2019, when the Qatari team won its title for the first time in its history by defeating Japan 3-1.
South Korea and Iran are the most participating (15), with a difference of two from China, which has not won the title in its history.
Iran played the largest number of matches in the finals (68), according to the Asian Football Confederation, noting that it was the only one to win three times in a row (1968, 1972, 1976).
The tournament competitions will be held in eight stadiums, including six that hosted the 2022 World Cup in Qatar last November and December for the first time in the Middle East, which are Al Janoub Stadium (Al Wakrah), Al Bayt Stadium (Al Khor), Ahmed Bin Stadium. Ali (Al Rayyan), Al Thumama Stadium, Education City Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium, Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium and Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium join it.
Lusail Stadium, the host of the World Cup final between Argentina and France, with 88,000 spectators, is not included in the continental championship stadiums.
Qatar confirmed that the exclusion of the World Cup final stadium from the Asian Cup had nothing to do with “fear of embarrassment” due to the poor attendance of the fans.
Jassim Al-Jassem, CEO of the Asian Cup, said during a response to the question of “Asharq Al-Awsat”, that “the AFC left us as the host country the freedom to choose stadiums,” adding: “The exclusion of Lusail Stadium was not related to the capacity, and there was no request from the AFC to use a stadium.” Lucille.”
Al-Jassem added, “We saw that the Saudi and Qatari fans and the fans of different communities filled the stadiums (during the World Cup), and there are ten Arab countries participating, which gives a great impression and a great opportunity for the Arab audience to attend.”
The AFC and the Local Organizing Committee launched the official logo for the tournament, which includes a display of the structure of the tournament cup, as well as a group of unique cultural elements that express the spirit of the tournament, while the lines of the tournament cup are inspired by the feathers of the falcon, a bird of historical value in the State of Qatar. In addition to drawing inspiration from the petals of the lotus flower whose homeland comes from the continent of Asia, these two symbols are united by one feature, which is their ability to rise to the top, through the lotus flower rising above the water, while the falcon soars in the sky.