AFC Asia Cup 2019 will be historic in many ways. The elite competition of the Asian football will expand to 24 teams for the first time. The bigger and better event will see the return of India after a gap of 8 years. Philippines, Yemen, and Kyrgyzstan will be making their debut in AFC Asia Cup. We expect a mouth-watering encounter among the heavyweights in Asia. This will be the second time UAE will be hosting the AFC Asia Cup. The AFC Asia Cup will see a new trophy and winner will pocket 5 million USD.
Here are the groups for the AFC Asia Cup 2019. The teams which played the final round of the World Cup 2018 qualifiers were given the top seeding while teams qualified through AFC Asia Cup qualifiers were in Pot 3 and Pot 4.
AFC Asia Cup 2019 Groups
Group A – (UAE, Thailand, India, Bahrain)
Host UAE will have clubbed with Thailand, India, and Bahrain. This is an easy group for UAE but India will have their task cut out. India has been placed with teams which have a better head to head record against them. AFC Asia Cup will be a big asset test for the Indian team who will be making their return to the AFC Asia Cup. Interestingly India last played Bahrain in AFC Asia Cup 2015 losing the match 4-1.
Indian fans will look this tournament an opportunity to match best in the business in Asia. Two west Asian sides will start the tournament as favorite while Thailand will try to upset one of the two west Asian nations to make it to next round of the tournament.
Group B – (Australia, Syria, Palestine, Jordan)
The defending champion Australia will have Syria, Palestine, and Jordan in the Group B. It can be considered as Group of Death considering all the four nations have performed exceptionally over the last few months. Australia and Syria will renew their rivalry from the World Cup qualifiers. Syrians were knocked out by Australians in play off of the qualifiers.
This group expected to throw a lot of surprises for the fans and we should expect thrilling encounters in Group.
Group C – (Korea Republic. China PR, The Kyrgyz Republic, the Philippines)
The Korea Republic and China PR will face two debutants of the AFC Asia Cup 2019. The two are expected to go through the next round of the tournament but the Philipines is no pushover. The Philipines with their European based players will pose threat to Chian for the second place finish. This group is completely easy to predict with China and the Korea Republic looking strong.
Group D – (Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Yemen)
Just like Group C, Iran and Iraq will start clear favorite in Group D. The two west Asian powerhouse will have Vietnam and Yemen to company them. Iran and Iraq will be looking to reclaim the championship and win the new trophy. The two giants have won almost everything in Asian football. Vietnam and Yemen are making their return to the AFC Asia Cup. Vietnam has an impressive run in 2017-18, the east Asian side with their homegrown talent will look to impress the football fans around Asia.
Group E – (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, DPR Korea)
Group E by far looks most difficult group to be in, Saudi Arabia made their return to the FIFA World Cup but they will not have it easy in UAE when they face Qatar, Lebanon, and DPR Korea. This group has some of the biggest names in the Asian football and Saudi Arabia will have to be at their best to qualify for the group as the clear winner. Qatar will have a lot to prove, the high spending west Asian nation will host FIFA World Cup in 2022 and a good showing in AFC Asia Cup 2019 will give a lot of confidence to the fans in Qatar.
Group F – (Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Turkmenistan)
Japan will thank their stars to find the relatively easier group. the most successful side in the AFC Asia cup will have Uzbekistan, Oman, and Turkmenistan in Group F. Japan looks like will win the Group F, the 2nd place will be interesting considering Uzbekistan, Oman and Turkmenistan have been playing a football which doesn’t outscore each other.