5 Reasons why Qatar can win its first-ever AFC Cup over Japan
With the final of the Asian Cup set to be held on Friday 1st February 2019 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in the United Arab Emirates. Here are 5 possible reasons why Qatar could stand a chance of winning its first ever Asian Cup over the Samurai Blue.
#1 World Cup Host 2022
The controversial host will be looking to establish their name during the opening game of their World Cup or rather to demonstrate they are more than just 'world cup hosts’. What better way to make a statement by edging Japan (4-time champions) to win the AFC Final? They have never been a standout side in Asia and this could be finally their moment.
#2The Political Blockade
Since the UAE joined Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt in cutting off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017 and blocking their airspace too. (Reasons why Qatar Fans cannot attend the AFC Cup Final). Qatar will be hoping to make a statement, thus having reached this far. This final would mean much more to them rather than a usual final.
#3 Tournament record at AFC Asian Cup 2019
Qatar so far has never lost or drawn a game in this edition of the AFC Cup. They have topped their group with having a record number (6) clean sheets. Almoez Ali, the tournament top goal scorer with 8 goals will be looking to add further to his tally. Qatar's Spanish coach, Feliz Sanchez who previously coached with Barcelona youth team has won as many matches as the Qataris have in the previous nine versions of the tournament joined.
#4 Head to Head Record
The All-time Head to Head outcomes is, however, surprisingly balanced. Qatar has encountered 8 times with Japan winning twice along with Japan twice while sharing 4 draws between them,.However, the last meeting between the 2 sides resulted in a victory for Japan,3-2.
#5 Underdogs vs Favorites
In conclusion, with all odds against Qatar, there is always a possibility that they could win or lose, with Japan as favorites. While noting the inexperience of this Qatari team, they must not be ruled out with this current team having eleven of its main squad members aged younger than 23, while reaching the final.Published 01 Feb 2019, 18:18 IST