AFC Asian Cup

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AFC Asian Cup
Founded 1956; 62 years ago (1956)
Region Asia (AFC)
Number of teams 24
Qualifier for FIFA Confederations Cup
Current champions  Australia
(1st title)
Most successful team(s)  Japan (4 titles)
Website Official website
2019 AFC Asian Cup

The AFC Asian Cup is an international association football tournament run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It is the second oldest continental football championship in the world after Copa América. The winning team becomes the champion of Asia and qualifies for the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The Asian Cup was held once every four years from the 1956 edition in Hong Kong until the 2004 tournament in China. However, since the Summer Olympic Games and the European Football Championship were also scheduled in the same year as the Asian Cup, the AFC decided to move their championship to a less crowded cycle. After 2004, the tournament was next held in 2007 when it was co-hosted by four nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Thereafter, it has been held every four years.

The Asian Cup has generally been dominated by a small number of top teams. Initially successful teams included South Korea (twice) and Iran (three times). Since 1984, Japan (four times) and Saudi Arabia (three times) have been the most successful teams, together winning 7 of the last 9 finals. The other teams which have achieved success are Australia (2015, current champions), Iraq (2007) and Kuwait (1980). Israel won in 1964 but were later expelled and have since joined UEFA.

Australia joined the Asian confederation in 2007 and hosted the Asian Cup finals in 2015.[1] The 2019 tournament will be expanded from 16 teams to 24 teams, with the qualifying process doubling as part of the qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[2][3] The tournament will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates. Unlike other confederation tournaments, the Asian Cup has often been rescheduled to another time of year to better suit the climate of the host nation, for example in 2007 it was played in July but the following three tournaments were played in January.

History

Two years after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) came into being in 1954, the first ever AFC Asian Cup was staged in Hong Kong with seven of the 12 founding members taking part. The qualifying process involved the hosts plus the winners of the various zones (central, eastern and western). It was only a four-team tournament, a format that also existed for 1960 and 1964. Each sub-confederation already hosts their own biennial championship, each with varying degrees of interest. Dominance has swung between the East and West so far. From the superiority of South Korea in the early years of the competition, the tournament became the preserve of Iran who won three consecutive tournaments in 1968, 1972 and 1976.[4]

West Asian countries ruled in the eighties with Kuwait becoming the first country from the Arab region to win the championship in 1980, followed by Saudi Arabia's consecutive wins in 1984 and 1988.

Japan hold the record for the most victories in the tournament's history, having won in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011.[5]

The 2007 Asian Cup also saw Australia compete for the first time, reaching the quarter-final stage; Iraq defeated Australia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia to win their first ever Asian Cup despite an adverse domestic situation and conditions for the players.[6]

Changes for the 2019 Asian Cup include the use of Video assistant referees in the tournament for the first time,[7] as well as the absence of a match for third place and an expansion to 24 teams.[8] In addition, a fourth substitution was allowed during extra time.[9]

The specific match-ups involving the third-placed teams depend on which four third-placed teams qualified for the round of 16:[10]

Third-placed teams
qualify from groups
1A
vs
1B
vs
1C
vs
1D
vs
A B C D 3C 3D 3A 3B
A B C E 3C 3A 3B 3E
A B C F 3C 3A 3B 3F
A B D E 3D 3A 3B 3E
A B D F 3D 3A 3B 3F
A B E F 3E 3A 3B 3F
A C D E 3C 3D 3A 3E
A C D F 3C 3D 3A 3F
A C E F 3C 3A 3F 3E
A D E F 3D 3A 3F 3E
B C D E 3C 3D 3B 3E
B C D F 3C 3D 3B 3F
B C E F 3E 3C 3B 3F
B D E F 3E 3D 3B 3F
C D E F 3C 3D 3F 3E

Trophy

The AFC Asian Cup trophy (2004–2018)

There have been two Asian Cup trophies. The first one used since 1956 until 2015, and the second will be used since 2019.

The first trophy came in a form of a bowl with circular base. Its was 42 centimeters tall and weighs 15 kilograms.[11] Until the 2000 tournament, the base contained plaques engraved with names of every winning country, as well as the edition won.[12][13] Since then the base was plaque-free and the winner names were engraved on the back.

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.[14] 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.[15]

Format

Final tournament

The final tournament is played in two stages: the group stage and the knockout stage. In the group stage each team plays three games in a group of four, with the winners and runners-up from each group advancing to the knockout stage along with the four best third-placed teams. In the knockout stage the sixteen teams compete in a single-elimination tournament, beginning with the round of 16 and ending with the final match of the tournament.

Results

# Year Host Final Third place match Number of teams
Winner Score Runner-up Third place Score Fourth place
1 1956
Details
 Hong Kong
South Korea
round-robin
Israel

Hong Kong
round-robin
South Vietnam
4
2 1960
Details
 South Korea
South Korea
round-robin
Israel

Republic of China
round-robin
South Vietnam
4
3 1964
Details
 Israel
Israel
round-robin
India

South Korea
round-robin
Hong Kong
4
4 1968
Details
 Iran
Iran
round-robin
Burma

Israel
round-robin
Republic of China
5
5 1972
Details
 Thailand
Iran
2–1 (a.e.t.)
South Korea

Thailand
2–2 (a.e.t.)
(5–3 p)

Khmer Republic
6
6 1976
Details
 Iran
Iran
1–0
Kuwait

China PR
1–0
Iraq
6
7 1980
Details
 Kuwait
Kuwait
3–0
South Korea

Iran
3–0
North Korea
10
8 1984
Details
 Singapore
Saudi Arabia
2–0
China PR

Kuwait
1–1
(5–3 p)

Iran
10
9 1988
Details
 Qatar
Saudi Arabia
0–0 (a.e.t.)
(4–3 p)

South Korea

Iran
0–0
(3–0 p)

China PR
10
10 1992
Details
 Japan
Japan
1–0
Saudi Arabia

China PR
1–1
(4–3 p)

United Arab Emirates
8
11 1996
Details
 United Arab Emirates
Saudi Arabia
0–0 (a.e.t.)
(4–2 p)

United Arab Emirates

Iran
1–1
(3–2 p)

Kuwait
12
12 2000
Details
 Lebanon
Japan
1–0
Saudi Arabia

South Korea
1–0
China PR
12
13 2004
Details
 China
Japan
3–1
China PR

Iran
4–2
Bahrain
16
14 2007
Details
 Indonesia
 Malaysia
 Thailand
 Vietnam

Iraq
1–0
Saudi Arabia

South Korea
0–0 (a.e.t.)
(6–5 p)

Japan
16
15 2011
Details
 Qatar
Japan
1–0 (a.e.t.)
Australia

South Korea
3–2
Uzbekistan
16
16 2015
Details
 Australia
Australia
2–1 (a.e.t.)
South Korea

United Arab Emirates
3–2
Iraq
16
# Year Host Final Losing semi-finalists[A] Number of teams
Winner Score Runner-up
17 2019
Details
 United Arab Emirates TBD TBD TBD 24
18 2023
Details
TBD TBD TBD 24
  1. ^ No third place match has been played since 2019; losing semi-finalists are listed in alphabetical order.

Summary

Team Winners Runners-up Third Place Fourth Place Total (Top Four)
 Japan 4 (1992*, 2000, 2004, 2011) 1 (2007) 5
 Saudi Arabia 3 (1984, 1988, 1996) 3 (1992, 2000, 2007) 6
 Iran 3 (1968*, 1972, 1976*) 4 (1980, 1988, 1996, 2004) 1 (1984) 8
 South Korea 2 (1956, 1960*) 4 (1972, 1980, 1988, 2015) 4 (1964, 2000, 2007, 2011) 10
 Israel1 1 (1964*) 2 (1956, 1960) 1 (1968) 4
 Kuwait 1 (1980*) 1 (1976) 1 (1984) 1 (1996) 4
 Australia 1 (2015*) 1 (2011) 2
 Iraq 1 (2007) 2 (1976, 2015) 3
 China PR 2 (1984, 2004*) 2 (1976, 1992) 2 (1988, 2000) 6
 United Arab Emirates 1 (1996*) 1 (2015) 1 (1992) 3
 India 1 (1964) 1
 Myanmar 1 (1968) 1
 Hong Kong 1 (1956*) 1 (1964) 2
 Chinese Taipei 1 (1960) 1 (1968) 2
 Thailand 1 (1972*) 1
 Vietnam2 2 (1956, 1960) 2
 Cambodia 1 (1972) 1
 North Korea 1 (1980) 1
 Bahrain 1 (2004) 1
 Uzbekistan 1 (2011) 1
Total 16 16 16 16 62

* hosts
1 Israel was expelled from the AFC in the early 1970s and eventually became a member of UEFA.[16]
2 as South Vietnam

Champions by region

Federation (Region) Champion(s) Number
EAFF (East Asia) Japan (4), South Korea (2) 6 titles
WAFF (West Asia) Saudi Arabia (3), Kuwait (1), Iraq (1) 5 titles
CAFA (Central Asia) Iran (3) 3 titles
AFF (Southeast Asia) Australia (1) 1 title
SAFF (South Asia)

Note: Israel, winner of the 1964 edition, is not included.

National team appearances

Records and statistics

As end of 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Rank Team Part Pld W D L GF GA Dif Pts
1  Iran 13 62 37 18 7 119 45 +74 129
2  South Korea 13 62 32 16 14 100 62 +38 112
3  Japan 8 41 24 12 5 80 38 +42 84
4  China PR 11 51 20 13 18 81 58 +23 73
5  Saudi Arabia 9 44 19 13 12 63 45 +18 70
6  Kuwait 10 42 15 10 17 47 51 –4 55
7  United Arab Emirates 9 36 12 8 16 32 48 –16 48
8  Iraq 8 35 13 7 15 38 42 –4 46
9  Uzbekistan 6 24 11 3 10 35 44 –9 36
10  Australia 3 16 10 3 3 34 10 +24 33
11  Qatar 9 32 6 11 15 33 46 –13 29
12  Israel 4 13 9 0 4 28 15 +13 27
13  Syria 5 18 7 2 9 15 23 –8 23
14  Bahrain 5 19 4 5 10 26 34 –8 17
15  Jordan 3 11 4 4 3 13 9 +4 16
16  North Korea 4 15 3 2 10 14 26 –12 11
17  Thailand 6 20 1 8 11 15 45 –30 11
18  Oman 3 9 2 3 4 6 11 –5 9
19  Indonesia 4 12 2 2 8 10 28 –18 8
20  Myanmar 1 4 2 1 1 5 4 +1 7
21  India 3 10 2 1 7 8 23 –15 7
22  Malaysia 3 9 1 3 5 7 20 –13 6
23  Chinese Taipei 2 7 1 2 4 5 12 –7 5
24  Vietnam 3 10 1 2 7 12 28 –16 5
25  Singapore 1 4 1 1 2 3 4 –1 4
26  Cambodia 1 5 1 1 3 8 10 –2 4
27  Hong Kong 3 10 0 3 7 9 23 –14 3
28  Lebanon 1 3 0 2 1 3 7 –4 2
29  Turkmenistan 1 3 0 1 2 4 6 –2 1
30  South Yemen 1 2 0 0 2 0 9 –9 0
31  Palestine 1 3 0 0 3 1 11 –10 0
32  Bangladesh 1 4 0 0 4 2 17 –15 0

Controversies

Despite being the second oldest continental football tournament, the AFC Asian Cup has suffered numerous criticisms. Criticisms over the inability of the AFC Asian Cup to attract large attendances, political interferences, high costs of traveling between AFC member states and different cultures were highlighted over the Asian Cup.

Political interferences

The AFC Asian Cup is marked with numerous political interferences. This was the case of Israel, as the team used to be a member of the AFC but following Yom Kippur War and increasing tensions against the Arab AFC members, Israel was expelled from the AFC in 1974 and had to compete in OFC until being granted UEFA membership in 1990.[17] Meanwhile, similar cases also exist in other AFC tournaments like the case between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Following the 2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, Saudi Arabia has rejected playing with Iran and even threatens to withdraw if the AFC refuses to follow, even extended it to international level;[18] or tensions between two Koreas during the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification had led North Korea to withdraw from hosting South Korean team and refusing to display South Korean flag and anthem. As a result, North Korea's home matches were moved to Shanghai.[19]

Low attendance

Low crowds have also been another problems for the AFC Asian Cup. At the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, there had been concerns over low record of crowds due to little football interests and high costs of traveling between Asian nations leading to then-Australia coach Holger Osieck claimed that the Qatar Armed Forces were used to fill up the stadiums simply for aesthetics, while Australia international Brett Holman commented, "Worldwide it's [the Asian Cup] not recognised as a good tournament”.[20]

See also

Notes

References and footnotes

  1. ^ "Australia play for the first time". Asiancup.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  2. ^ "Revamp of AFC competitions". The-afc.com. 25 January 2014. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014.
  3. ^ "AFC Asian Cup changes set for 2019". Afcasiancup.com. 26 January 2014. Archived from the original on 30 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Asian Cup: Know Your History - Part One (1956-1988)". Goal.com. 2011-01-07. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  5. ^ "Asian Cup: Know Your History - Part Two (1992-2007)". Goal.com. 2011-01-07. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  6. ^ Lampen, Jerry. "Iraq ride wave of support to lift Asian Cup". Reuters. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  7. ^ "AFC plans to introduce VAR at UAE 2019". 27 September 2018.
  8. ^ "AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 - Match Schedule" (PDF). AFC. 7 May 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Fourth substitution to be introduced at UAE 2019". AFC. 12 October 2018.
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference regulations was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ AFC Asian Cup Trophy on YouTube
  12. ^ "The Asian Cup Trophy - Asia Cup". Getty Images. 21 December 1996.
  13. ^ "Japan coach Philippe Troussier lifts the Asian Cup trophy". Alamy. 29 October 2000.
  14. ^ "Dazzling new AFC Asian Cup trophy unveiled in Dubai". Asian Football Confederation. 4 May 2018.
  15. ^ Highlights: AFC Asian Cup 2019 trophy reveal on YouTube
  16. ^ "About the IFA". The Israel Football Association. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  17. ^ Conor Heffernan (20 November 2014). "The Controversial Case of Israel & International Football". punditarena.com. Pundit Arena. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Saudi-Iranian Tension Extends To Sports – Saudi Arabian Football Federation Announces: We Will Not Play In Iran". memri.org. The Middle East Media Research Institute. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  19. ^ Mark Ledsom (7 March 2008). "Koreas match moved to Shanghai after anthem row". Reuters. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  20. ^ Chris Paraskevas. "Asian Cup 2011 Comment: Empty Stadiums Hurting Asian Football And Qatar". goal.com. Retrieved 29 July 2018.

External links

  • AFC Asian Cup Official Website
  • AFC Asian Cup, AFC.com
  • RSSSF archive
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