2019 AFC Asian Cup's Most Surprising Moments
With the AFC Asian Cup already behind us, the quadrennial tournament of the continent never fails to deliver to its promise of non-stop action. We've also got a fair share of surprises in the tournament which we will be elaborating for you.
Every four years, Asia's best nations compete in the continent's equivalent of the World Cup. Hoping to provide a more exciting look to the tournament, the 17th edition saw a change in the look of the trophy as well as a revamped number of qualified teams from 16 to 24.
#1 Qatar's unbeaten run to win the cup
They came, they saw and they conquered. With the hopes of a nation behind them, Qatar proved that dreams really do come true. Even Xavi Hernandez predicted the nation's victory, for which he did get mocked by all and sundry. They simply played their game and delivered a spectacular performance in the tournament.
If anyone surprised us to no end in this tournament, it was the champions, Qatar, who went on a flawless run towards the final. They won all of their matches until the final, without conceding a goal, with their goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb being declared the Goalkeeper of the Tournament (A bit obvious that, you would think).
Their victory over Japan in the final was obviously their best result of the tournament, but they would have been hugely satisfied by their semifinal, when they beat the hosts UAE 4-0. Given the current political climate in the Gulf, that was as sweet a result as Qatar could get.
The victory over Japan simply capped off a flawless performance in the tournament that looked to be the nation's preparation for the World Cup in 2022 where they will host the biggest sporting spectacle, in a first for the Gulf region. Surely, the party's just starting back in Qatar.