Argentinian coach Héctor Cúper has got a talented squad at his disposal who have got the ideal preparation facing off against higher-ranked opponents to iron-out the problems they might encounter during the Asia Cup.
Uzbekistan suffered a defeat against China in the group stage but got past North Korea and Saudi Arabia to venture into the quarter-finals of the 2015 Asia Cup. They lost to South Korea in the quarters to conclude their campaign in the eighth position. Sardor Rashidov remained their top-scorer with two goals.
They entered the fray in 1996 and finished fourth in the 2011 Asian Cup. Uzbekistan has eleven wins from 24 appearances to record a win percentage of 46% along with ten defeats and three drawn games.
The White Wolves played ten internationals in 2018 and recorded just two victories over North Korea and Qatar. They were impressive in holding 23rd ranked Senegal, and higher ranked Syria and Lebanon to draws. All their five losses came against higher ranked opponents which augur well for the team ahead of their AFC 2019 campaign.
With the ability to unleash spectacular strikes from long-range, Uzbekistan’s skipper Odil Ahmedov is a key player for them in their quest for the Asian Cup. His aggressive tackling style and playing in his third Asian Cup, the Shanghai SIPG defender and five times the Uzbek player of the year, brings in a wealth of experience to the team.
Sardor Rashidov popularly known as CR10 by his supporters from El Jaish plies his trade with Lokomotiv Tashkent as a striker. He has recorded twelve goals from 42 appearances and would remain a vital player if the Central Asian team eye on advancing into the last four.
Wednesday, 09 January 2019: Uzbekistan (95) vs Oman (82) - Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah at 21:30 IST.:
Sunday, 13 January 2019: Uzbekistan (95) vs Turkmenistan (127) - Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai at 21:30 IST.
Thursday, 17 January 2019: Uzbekistan (95) vs Japan (50) - Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 19:00 IST.
Uzbekistan is set to face a thrilling match against Oman which can decide the second and third places in the group. On current form, both teams enjoy ample opportunities to upstage one another in a tense battle. The White Wolves enjoy playing against the Turks with an impressive 6-0 head-to-head record. Uzbekistan may not present a significant challenge against Japan and should finish in the second or third spot in the group.
They would meet either Syria/Jordan if they finish in the second spot or will take on South Korea in the round of 16 if they end up in the third place.
Average Age: 27 years.
International Caps: 681.
International Goals: 54.
Head Coach: Héctor Cúper (Argentina).
Goalkeepers: Ignatiy Nesterov (FC Lokomotiv), Utkir Yusupov (FC Kokand-1912), Sanjar Kuvvatov (FC Nasaf).
Defenders: Egor Krimets (FC Pakhtakor), Anzur Ismailov (FC Lokomotiv), Doston Tursunov (Renofa Yamaguchi, J-League), Islam Tukhtahodjaev (FC Lokomotiv), Oleg Zoteev (FC Lokomotiv), Farrukh Sayfiev (FC Pakhtakor), Akmal Shorakhmedov (FC Pakhtakor), Davron Khashimov (FC Navbahor).
Midfielders: Odiljon Xamrobekov (FC Nasaf), Odil Ahmedov (Shanghai SIPG, Chinese Super League), Otabek Shukurov (Sharjah, UAE), Fozil Musaev (Jubilo Iwata, J-League), Jaloliddin Masharipov (FC Pakhtakor), Aziz Turgunbaev (FC Navbahor), Doston Hamdamov (FC Anji, Russian Premier League), Javokhir Sidikov (FC Kokand-1912), Ikromjon Alibaev (FC Seoul, K-League), Eldor Shomurodov (FC Rostov, Russian Premier League).
Strikers: Marat Bikmaev (FC Lokomotiv), Sardor Rashidov (FC Lokomotiv).