The draw for the rescheduled 2023 Asian Cup is staged this week in Doha, with 24 teams from the continent discovering their possible path to the trophy. Here are the details.
What is it?
The 2023 Asian Cup. The continent’s premier competition, which takes place every four years. Expanded for 2019 to feature Asia’s top 24 teams, the tournament was initially to be held in China this summer. However, the Chinese withdrew in September leaving the Asian Football Confederation to eventually shift the event to Qatar – and revise the dates.
When is it?
January 12-February 10, 2024.
Where is it?
Qatar. The Gulf state will become the first country to host the tournament for a third time, after 1998 and 2011. The UAE staged the most recent Asian Cup, four years ago.
Japan are the tournament’s most successful country, having captured the trophy four times: 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011. Saudi Arabia and Iran are three-time winners, with the Saudis also finishing runners-up three times. Iran are the only country to lift the trophy in three successive tournaments, from 1968-1976.
South Korea have tasted success twice, with Israel, Kuwait, Australia, Iraq and Qatar winning once. Qatar are the reigning champions, having defeated Japan in the final in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
Thus, the 2023 hosts will attempt to become only the fifth team to successfully defend the trophy, matching Iran, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Tajikistan, meanwhile, will make their debut in the competition, with Hong Kong and China featuring for the first time since 1968.
The draw takes place on May 11 at Katara Opera House, Doha, at 2pm local time (3pm UAE). The qualification process stretched across three years and came to a close last June, with the 24 teams now divided into four pots of six in accordance with the latest Fifa rankings.
They will then be drawn into six groups of four (Groups A to F). Qatar have been allocated the first spot in Pot 1 to ensure they contest the tournament’s opening match.
Pot 1: Qatar, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Australia, Saudi Arabia Pot 2: Iraq, the UAE, Oman, Uzbekistan, China, Jordan Pot 3: Bahrain, Syria, Palestine, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon Pot 4: India, Tajikistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia