2019 Asian Cup: Groups, tickets, latest news and all you need to know

The 2019 Asian Cup gets under way on Saturday, January 5 when hosts UAE take on Bahrain in Abu Dhabi

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This year's Asian Cup is the biggest ever in terms of teams participating, with 24 nations vying to be crowned champions of Asia.

Australia arrive as the reining kings of the continent, having won the tournament on home soil in 2015.

The UAE will look to improve on their third-place finish four years ago. The hosts have never won the Asian Cup, with a second-place finish in 1996 - the last time the Emirates hosted the tournament - representing the national team's best showing at the continental showpiece.

Here is a run down of all you need to know about the tournament being held in the Emirates for only the second time.

What is it?

The Asian Cup is a quadrennial football tournament organised by the Asian Football Confederation. First held in 1956, it is the second oldest continental football championship in the world after the Copa America. Australia are the reigning Asian champions following their success on home soil in 2015.

When is it?

The 2019 Asian Cup will take place in the UAE from January 5 to February 1 - only the second time the Emirates has played host. The country last staged the tournament in 1996, when the national team were defeated in the final on penalties by Gulf rivals Saudi Arabia. That remains the UAE’s best Asian Cup performance to date. Four years ago, they finished third.

Where do the matches take place?

Eight venues have been chosen across three emirates to stage the 51 matches. In Abu Dhabi, matches will be played at Zayed Sports City Stadium, Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium and Al Nahyan Stadium, while Al Ain’s Hazza bin Zayed Stadium and Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium will also host games. In Dubai, Al Maktoum Stadium and Rashid Stadium have been selected, as has Sharjah Stadium. The majority of the venues have undergone refurbishment ahead of the Asian Cup. Zayed Sports City will stage the opening match and the final.

Australia are the defending AFC Asian Cup champions and will defend the title in the UAE. AFP


GROUP A: UAE, Bahrain, India, Thailand

GROUP B: Australia, Syria, Jordan, Palestine

GROUP C: South Korea, China, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines

GROUP D: Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Yemen

GROUP E: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, North Korea

GROUP F: Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Turkmenistan

Al Nasr and UAE international Khalifa Mubarak. Courtesy HK Strategies


Match schedules and tickets for purchase are available at www.the-AFC.com. For group ticket packages contact groups@asiancup19.ae. Tickets start at Dh25 (student discounts apply).

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