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AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023: AFC Highlights Groups A, B, and C

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) highlighted the first three groups of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 to be hosted by Qatar from January 12 until February 10, 2024.

24 national teams will participate in the 18th edition of the Asian championship, whose opening match will see Qatar face off Lebanon.

The AFC report provided the below assessment of Groups A, B, and C: Group A: Defending champions Qatar and China PR will fancy their chances of advancing to the Round of 16 with Lebanon’s previous campaigns having ended in the group stage while Tajikistan will be making their Finals’ debut.

However, the AFC Asian Cup has always delivered surprises and Qatar and China will have to tread with caution.

Group B: Australia’s target is to regain the title they won in 2015 while Uzbekistan will be determined to go further after being eliminated in the Round of 16 in the previous edition.

Syria and India, however, will feel they have a chance as well, setting the stage for some exciting matches in Group B.

Group C: Islamic Republic of Iran, three-time champions and semi-finalists in 2019, will be expected to dominate Group C, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – whose campaign ended at the last four stage on home soil four years ago – expected to seal the second automatic slot in the Round of 16.

Hong Kong, China and Palestine, however, will be fired up for the challenge of taking on two of the continents biggest teams.

Qatar is the first country to host the tournament three times in its history, having hosted the 1988 and 2011 editions, ahead of Iran, Thailand, and the UAE, who previously hosted the tournament twice each.

The AFC report provided a historical overview of Group A teams, where the Qatari team participated 10 times in the championship, compared to 12 for China and 2 for Lebanon, whilst AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 will witness Tajikistan’s first-ever appearance in the championship’s finals. Qatar’s best achievement was winning the title in the Emirates 2019, along with appearing in the quarter-finals of the 2000 and 2011 editions. China’s best results were finishing runner-up in 1984 and 2004, in addition to being present in every version of the finals, since the inception of the championship in 1976. Whereas, Lebanon made it to the finals first during its hosting of the 2000 edition.

Source: Qatar News Agency