AFC Asian Cup 2019 Final: Qatar 3-1 Japan: 3 takeaways
Qatar beat Japan 3-1 to win their maiden Asian Cup crown in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Qatar had beaten hosts UAE 4-0 in the semifinal, whereas Japan beat Iran 3-0. Qatar is also going to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, and this win should prove to be a great boost for their football.
Japan have won the Asian Cup crown 4 times before, and were the favorites to win it this time as well. However, Qatar put in a spirited display to win the trophy with consummate ease. Japan had more than 60% ball-possession and around 15 corners in the match, but could not cause any major damage to the Qatari defence. On the other hand, Qatar scored some wonderful goals to secure a memorable victory for themselves.
We would now take a look at the 3 takeaways of the match;
#1 Qatar’s passing football was a treat to watch
Qatar’s coach Felix Sanchez hails from Barcelona and was the coach of the FC Barcelona junior team as well. He seems to have inculcated the philosophy of passing football extremely well into this Qatari team. They kept playing short passes among themselves and controlled the tempo of the match for the majority of it.
Qatar started with a 5-3-2 formation and all their 5 defenders stayed close to their penalty box for most of the time. Japan are a very dangerous counter-attacking team, and their forwards have the tendency to sneak very quickly into the final third through the space between the opposition defenders. The Qatari defence was alert against such threats and always remained on their toes.
However, whenever they got the ball, their midfielders and forwards kept rotating possession among themselves with a string of short passes. At times, their forwards played the ball backwards to their midfielders and then re-positioned themselves in the final third. This strategy slowed the game down and did not allow Japan to win back possession through quick interceptions in the midfield. Akram Afif was a livewire in Qatar’s attack again and recorded his 10th assist of the tournament yesterday.
Qatar’s slick passing football treated the spectators very well and also made sure that they did not give the ball away very easily.