Preview: Asian Cup 2023 quarter-finals | Football news

The Asian Cup quarter-finals pit the regional giants against each other, but also see the underdogs take on the title holders.

The AFC Asian Cup is a tournament that has reached the quarter-final stage and the continent’s titans have escaped relatively unscathed so far. But they are all about to face off against each other.

Here’s our preview of the tournament’s round of 16, which takes place on Friday and Saturday:

1. Tajikistan vs Jordan: Friday February 2 at 11:30 GMT

Two underrated teams face off in the first quarterfinal. Jordan advanced to the third match of their group after Bahrain beat them 1-0 in the final round of the first stage, having beaten Malaysia in their first match with a resounding 4-0 victory and a draw against South Korea in their second match. . Jordan staged an incredible comeback, scoring twice in stoppage time to beat Iraq 3-2 in the round of 16.

Tajikistan beat Thailand 2-1 in their round of 16 tie, after qualifying from the group stage for the first time with a second-place finish ahead of China, with whom they drew in their opening match. opening, before being beaten by Qatar, but beating Lebanon. to secure their progress.

It won’t be easy to pick a winner in this one.

2. Australia vs South Korea: Friday February 2 at 3:30 p.m. GMT

One of the two notable quarter-final clashes pits one of the in-form teams against one of the favorites. Australia cleared their group with opening wins over India and Syria to secure their progression before a draw against Uzbekistan in the final match. Their round of 16 match was another dominant display as they beat Indonesia 4-0.

South Korea found itself closely behind Japan as second seed in the competition, but they had to work hard to reach this stage. A second place in the group pitted them against Saudi Arabia in the final round draw and the Koreans were mostly second, needing an injury-time header from Cho Gue-sung to take the match into extra time after Abdullah Radif had given the Saudis a deserved lead just after the break. It was a titanic battle until the penalty shootout from which the Koreans can count themselves lucky to have emerged victorious. It remains to be seen to what extent these exploits will have taken a toll on their legs.

Will South Korea start to reach the top of the tournament in this match?

3. Iran vs Japan: Saturday February 2 at 11:30 GMT

The Asian giants’ other quarter-final encounter is a huge battle between East and West. Iran are three-time Asian Cup winners, but are more renowned for their World Cup efforts in recent decades. Japan are the record winners with five trophies to their name and are the favorites to extend this streak.

A comfortable 3-1 victory over Bahrain in the round of 16 set Japan up well for this match. However, they were somewhat tested in the group by Iran’s neighbors Iraq, who beat the Japanese 2-1. A consolation goal in injury time was scored by Waturo Endo after Aymen Hussein scored a first-half brace. Iran’s struggles were the opposite of those of their opponents after dominating a relatively straightforward group stage with a clean sweep while scoring seven goals. The Iranians were then forced to work until sanctions from a dynamic Syrian side. Iran will also be without their top scorer, Mehdi Tarmei, who was sent off for a second yellow card in this match.

Will Team Melli have enough to defeat the Blue Samurai?

4. Qatar vs Uzbekistan: Saturday February 3 at 3:30 p.m. GMT

The hosts and defending champions are heavy favorites to advance to the semi-finals of this showdown. After a disappointing World Cup at home two years ago, Qatar picked up where they left off in the 2019 Asian Cup final victory over Japan. Akram Afif, who scored the third goal from the penalty spot in that match, has been irresistible in this tournament and seems to provide endless options as well as an inspiring spark to his team’s efforts.

Captain Hassan al-Haydos has also been at the heart of everything Qatar have done and he and Afif are on their own personal journey to fight for the golden boat, with one or the other scoring in every match so far, including both found the net to eliminate Palestine in the last round.

Uzbekistan beat Thailand 2-1 in the round of 16 to continue their incredible story and are unbeaten so far in the competition after drawing their final group stage match against Australia to secure the second place ahead of the impressive Syria and the sleeping giants, who were expected to wake up, India.

Will the outsiders dethrone the title holders?

Scroll to Top