2023, MAY 11 – With the curtain setting on a glitzy ceremony at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ Final Draw earlier today, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) have announced the official match schedule for the 18th edition of Asia’s crown jewel.
Asia’s top 24 teams discovered their group stage fate at the Katara Opera House in Doha for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ and will do battle at the Continental showpiece between 12 January to 10 February, 2024.
Hosts for a record third time, defending champions Qatar will get Asia’s most prestigious competition underway by facing Lebanon on Friday, 12 January, 2024 at 7:30pm, Qatar time. The 68,895-capacity Al Bayt Stadium is set to witness an opening spectacle between the two West Asian teams, who have previously only met once in AFC Asian Cup™ history. It will be Qatar’s 40th match in tournament history, while Lebanon will be playing in an opening match of an AFC Asian Cup™ for the first time.
Battles to keep an eye on
China PR vs Tajikistan: The sole debutants in this year’s edition, Tajikistan will take on China PR in their historic maiden fixture at the AFC Asian Cup™. It presents an opportunity for the Central Asian nation to showcase their ability to compete against the Continent’s elite.
China PR are making their 13th tournament appearance – second only to Islamic Republic of Iran and Korea Republic’s 15 – and will welcome the Tajiks in this Group A clash on Saturday, 13 January, 5:30pm at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.
Iraq vs Japan: The top FIFA-ranked team in their respective Pots, Japan (Pot 1) and 2007 winners Iraq (Pot 2) are set for an exciting showdown when they meet for only the third time in AFC Asian Cup™ history.
Record four-time champions Japan got the better of Iraq in the Quarter-Finals in 2000 en-route to winning their second Asian crown and this encounter on Friday, 19 January at 2:30pm at the Education City Stadium might decide who finishes top of Group D.
Vietnam head coach Philippe Troussier, who led the Samurai Blue in that successful 2000 campaign, will also relish facing off against his former employers as he bids to orchestrate an upset with his current side on Sunday, 14 January, 2:30pm at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Syria vs Australia: These two teams meet for the second time in the group stages in as many editions in what is developing to be quite an epic rivalry.
Australia ended Syria’s fairytale run in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Play-Off with a dramatic extra-time victory and followed it up with an equally tense Group B win in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™, where Tom Rogic netted an 93rd-minute decider after Syria had levelled twice in a 3-2 rollercoaster.
If history is anything to go by, this Group B clash is set to be a thriller when it kicks off at 2:30pm on Thursday, 18 January at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.
Saudi Arabia vs Oman: Both teams have met 23 times on the international stage, including multiple occasions in the Gulf Cup and FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, but this will be their first ever meeting at the AFC Asian Cup™.
Fresh off an impressive showing at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the Green Falcons will be confident of building on that momentum and aim to add to their haul of three Asian titles. Oman are targeting qualification from the Group Stage for a second consecutive edition and this Group F opener against the Saudis on Tuesday, 16 January, 8:30pm at the Khalifa International Stadium could set the stage for their campaign.
Opening matches by venues
The AFC and the LOC for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ confirmed last month that the eagerly anticipated tournament will be staged across eight stadiums.
Six of these were venues for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, namely: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Bayt Stadium, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Education City Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium as well as the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium and Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, setting the stage for the first ever AFC Asian Cup™ to be played at World Cup venues.
A day after the Al Bayt Stadium kicks off the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ with the Qatar-Lebanon clash, the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium hosts the first match of Group B on Saturday, 13 January at 2:30pm between Australia and India.
The other Group B encounter between Uzbekistan and Syria takes place at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium later in the evening at 8:30pm. On the same day, China PR face Tajikistan in Group A – the first match at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium – at 5:30pm.
On Sunday, 14 January, Group D gets underway at the Al Thumama Stadium when Japan go head to head with Vietnam at 2:30pm. The Khalifa International Stadium stages its opening match three hours later at 5:30pm when the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, China clash in Group C. The other fixture of the group occurs at the Education City Stadium on the same night at 8:30pm between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Palestine.
The Al Janoub Stadium comes into play on Monday, 15 January when it hosts the Group D opener between Malaysia and Jordan.
Five of the venues will each witness six matches, with the remaining three – Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium – hosting seven each.
The AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ will culminate in the Final on Saturday, 10 February, 2024 at the Al Bayt Stadium, where the two finalists will battle for Continental glory at 6:00pm.
For the full match schedule, please click here.
*All timings indicated are in Qatar time
AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ – Final Draw Results Recap
Group A: Qatar, China PR, Tajikistan, Lebanon
Group B: Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria, India
Group C: Islamic Republic of Iran, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, China, Palestine
Group D: Japan, Indonesia, Iraq, Vietnam
Group E: Korea Republic, Malaysia, Jordan, Bahrain
Group F: Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyz Republic, Oman
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Source: Asian Football Confederation