Wednesday, May 10, 2023 – 1:37 PM
Doha, May 10, WAM/ The draw for the 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup will take place tomorrow, Thursday, at the Katara Opera House, the Qatari capital, Doha, where 24 teams are waiting to determine the course of the competition in the group stage.
This version was scheduled to be held in China in the middle of this year, but China’s apology last year for not hosting gave Qatar the opportunity to host the tournament for the third time in the history of the Asian Cup. The date of the tournament was changed to take place from January 12 to February 10, 2024.
Doha will witness the draw ceremony 8 months before the start of the activities of this edition, which will be the second in a row in the Arab Gulf region after the UAE hosted the last edition in early 2019, and the second in a row also with the participation of 24 teams after the number of participating teams was increased from 16 to 24 teams initially. From the 2019 edition in the UAE.
The 24 teams are divided into 6 groups, with 4 teams in each group, where the first round competitions will be held in a one-round league system between the teams of each group, so that the first and second place holders from each group at the end of the first round advance to the round of 16, and they are accompanied to this round by the best 4 teams. It ranks third in these groups.
The features of the classification of this draw of the edition of the tournament were completed, after the announcement of the new classification of the teams, issued by the International Federation of the Game (FIFA), on the basis of which the teams participating in the tournament were distributed into 4 levels, each of which includes 6 teams.
The Qatar national team, the host and the holder of the championship title, is among the first-level teams. Where he will be automatically placed at the top of Group A to ensure that the host country’s national team will play the opening match scheduled for January 12, 2024.
The teams are distributed during the draw into 4 pots, each pot includes teams from one of the four levels according to the classification, so that the lottery places a team from each pot in each group, so that each group includes 4 teams from 4 different levels of classification.
The first level, in addition to the Qatari team, will witness Japan, Iran, South Korea, Australia and Saudi Arabia, while the second level will witness the teams of Iraq, the Emirates, Oman, Uzbekistan, China and Jordan.
The third level includes the teams of Bahrain, Syria, Palestine, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon, while the fourth level includes the teams of India, Tajikistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
The ceremony witnesses the presence of a group of historical stars in the continent of Asia, to participate in the drawing of lots, and the coaches of the 24 teams are also present.
The activities of the first edition were launched in 1956, and the championship was held since then with one copy every 4 years until the 13th edition in China in 2004, then it was decided to hold it in odd years starting from the 2007 edition, provided that it also remains every 4 years.
The first three editions witnessed the participation of only 4 teams in each edition, and the number of participants gradually increased until it reached 24 teams in the last edition in 2019 in the UAE.
Over the past 17 editions, 9 teams have written their names in the golden record of the tournament by winning the continental title.
The Japanese national team tops the list of the most title-winning teams with 4 titles, and Saudi Arabia and Iran take second place in the list with 3 titles each, compared to two titles for South Korea.
The new edition in Qatar will see the Tajikistan national team join the record of participating teams in the tournament for the first time, becoming the 36th national team to appear in the history of the Asian Cup.
Dina Omar / Ahmed Zahran
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