What is the AFC Asian Cup

What is the AFC Asian Cup

At the start of the season, few Liverpool fans would have worried about Wataru Endo heading off to the Asian Cup.  But such is his current form, losing the defensive midfielder for 4 weeks is a huge blow.

Japan begin their AFC Asian Cup campaign against Vietnam on the 14th January 2024.  By the time the competition ends four weeks later, Wataru Endo would potentially have missed games against Chelsea, Arsenal, Bournemouth and Burnley in the Premier League, as well as both legs of the Carabao Cup Semi Final, and the FA Cup 3rd round match against Arsenal.

It's not surprising then that Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp, along with other European Managers, is unhappy at the timing of the event.  But what is the AFC Asian Cup, and why is it so important to the people of Asia?

Asian Cup - A Brief History

First held in 1956, the Asian Cup, is the main men's international football tournament in Asia.  From 1956 until 2004, the competition was held every 4 years, however, to avoid clashing with other major sporting events in 2008, the competition was brought forward a year, to 2007.  After that, the tournament reverted to a 4 year cycle, with a different host nation for each new competition.

Back in 1956, just 4 teams took part in the inaugral competition (South Korea (Champions), Isreal, Hong Kong & South Vietnam), but since then, the tournament has grown, with 47 countries now eligible to enter a qualifying tournament, and 24 teams making up the final.

Those 24 teams are split into six groups of four, with the top two teams from each group, as well as the four best third-placed teams progressing to a round of 16.  From there it is a straight forward knock-out tournament, with Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and the Final.

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AFC Asian Cup 2024

Host Nation : Qatar
Start Date : 12th January 2024
Date of the Final : 10th February 2024
Venue of Final : Lusail Stadium
Current Champions : Qatar
Favourites to win in 2024 : Saudi Arabi, Japan
Country with the most victories : Japan - 4 Titles

Who are Japan grouped with?

Japan have been drawn in Group D of the tournament, alongside Indonesia, Iraq and Vietnam.  If Japan qualify, which they should, they could potentially meet Saudi Arabia or Australia in the Quarter Finals.

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... About The Author ...

Peter Farrell :: LFC - Back On Our Perch Author and Editor

Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 366

Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.

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