AFC Asian Cup

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For other uses, see Asia cup (disambiguation).
AFC Asian Cup
Founded 1956
Region Asia (AFC)
Number of teams 16
Current champions  Australia
(1st title)
Most successful team(s)  Japan (4 titles)
Website Official website

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 automatically 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 Mainland 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 and Iran. Since 1984, Japan and Saudi Arabia have been the most successful teams, winning 7 of the previous 8 finals. Other teams which have achieved success at times include Iraq, Israel and Kuwait.

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.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Two years after 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 vying for the title to become Asia's best football team. 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. The dominance factor 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 which also hosted the first and last editions.

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 impressive and consecutive wins in 1984 and 1988.

Japan hold the record for the most victories in the tournament's history with title triumphs in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011.

Iraq are the only winners in the new millennium (other than Japan) when they defeated Saudi Arabia 1–0 in the summit clash in 2007 in Indonesia. The win left the then war-torn nation elated.

The 2007 edition of the AFC Asian Cup also saw Australia come face-to-face for the first time with the footballing powers of Asia before the Socceroos signed off with a creditable quarter-final finish. Having come to grips with Asian football, the Australians went all the way to the final in their next outing four years later only to suffer heartbreak in the pulsating Doha final when they lost to Japan 1–0 in extra-time.

The 2015 AFC Asian Cup tournament was hosted by Australia. The host country and South Korea reached the final and Australia won the title after defeating South Korea 2–1 in extra time. United Arab Emirates also finished in third place after defeating Iraq in the third/fourth place play-off.

Trophy[edit]

The AFC Asian Cup trophy which is awarded to the winner of the tournament. Since the first tournament it has been awarded to the winning team for them to keep for four years, until the next tournament.

Format[edit]

Final tournament[edit]

The final tournament is being 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. In the knockout stage the eight teams advance to compete in a single-elimination tournament, beginning with the quarter-finals and ending with the final match of the tournament. A third-place match is also played between the two losing teams of the semi-finals.

Results[edit]

Year Host Final Third Place Match Number of teams
Champions Score Runners-Up Third Place Score Fourth Place
1956
Details
 Hong Kong
South Korea
round-robin
Israel

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

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

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

Israel
round-robin
Republic of China
5
1972
Details
 Thailand
Iran
2–1 aet
South Korea

Thailand
2–2 aet
(5–3) pen

Khmer Republic
6
1976
Details
 Iran
Iran
1–0
Kuwait

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

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

Kuwait
1–1
(5–3) pen

Iran
10
1988
Details
 Qatar
Saudi Arabia
0–0 aet
(4–3) pen

South Korea

Iran
0–0
(3–0) pen

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

China PR
1–1
(6–5) pen

United Arab Emirates
8
1996
Details
 United Arab Emirates
Saudi Arabia
0–0 aet
(4–2) pen

United Arab Emirates

Iran
1–1
(3–2) pen

Kuwait
12
2000
Details
 Lebanon
Japan
1–0
Saudi Arabia

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

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

Iraq
1–0
Saudi Arabia

South Korea
0–0 aet
(6–5) pen

Japan
16
2011
Details
 Qatar
Japan
1–0 aet
Australia

South Korea
3–2
Uzbekistan
16
2015
Details
 Australia
Australia
2–1 aet
South Korea

United Arab Emirates
3–2
Iraq
16
2019
Details
 United Arab Emirates TBD TBD TBD TBD 24

Teams reaching the top four[edit]

Team Winners Runners-up Third-place Fourth-place Top Two Top Three Top Four
 Japan 4 (1992*, 2000, 2004, 2011) 1 (2007) 4 4 5
 Saudi Arabia 3 (1984, 1988, 1996) 3 (1992, 2000, 2007) 6 6 6
 Iran 3 (1968*, 1972, 1976*) 4 (1980, 1988, 1996, 2004) 1 (1984) 3 7 8
 South Korea 2 (1956, 1960*) 4 (1972, 1980, 1988, 2015) 4 (1964, 2000, 2007, 2011) 6 10 10
 Israel1 1 (1964*) 2 (1956, 1960) 1 (1968) 3 4 4
 Kuwait 1 (1980*) 1 (1976) 1 (1984) 1 (1996) 2 3 4
 Australia 1 (2015*) 1 (2011) 2 2 2
 Iraq 1 (2007) 2 (1976, 2015) 1 1 3
 China PR 2 (1984, 2004) 2 (1976, 1992) 2 (1988, 2000) 2 4 6
 United Arab Emirates 1 (1996*) 1 (2015) 1 (1992) 1 2 3
 India 1 (1964) 1 1 1
 Myanmar 1 (1968) 1 1 1
 Hong Kong 1 (1956*) 1 (1964) 1 2
 Chinese Taipei 1 (1960) 1 (1968) 1 2
 Thailand 1 (1972*) 1 1
 South Vietnam 2 (1956, 1960) 2
 Cambodia 1 (1972) 1
 North Korea 1 (1980) 1
 Bahrain 1 (2004) 1
 Uzbekistan 1 (2011) 1
* hosts
1 Israel was expelled from the AFC in the early 1970s and eventually became a member of UEFA.[4]

Records and statistics[edit]

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Australia competed in their first Asian Cup
  2. ^ "Revamp of AFC competitions". AFC. 25 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "AFC Asian Cup changes set for 2019". AFC Asian Cup. 26 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "About the IFA". The Israel Football Association. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 

External links[edit]