The tussle to be Asia's champion is near, as the 17th edition of Asian Cup kicks-off on January 5 with the game between hosts UAE and Bahrain at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The tournament is sure to grab large viewerships as the number of teams is expanded from 16 to 24 for the first time this edition. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will be in an attempt to restore people's interest in the tournament and attract large numbers to the stadiums.
World class stadiums are a must for successful campaigns and it will be demanded both by teams and spectators. While the teams wouldn't want their players to risk their careers playing at below par grounds, the fans would want to make their match experiences memorable.
In an attempt to offer the best experiences, the UAE Football Association has scheduled 8 stadiums across 4 cities to conduct the continental championship.
Here, we take a look at the stadiums that will be used for the football festival lasting from January 5 to February 1.
#1 Zayed Sports City Stadium
The Zayed Sports City stadium is located in Abu Dhabi and has a capacity to hold 43000 viewers. The ground will be at use in 8 matches including 5 group stage games.
Zayed Sports City stadium is the largest stadium in the country and will be the most key venue of the tournament. The opening match between UAE and Bahrain and the finals on February 1 are scheduled to play here.
The stadium was founded in 1979 and has hosted events like AFC Asian Cup 1996, Gulf Cup of Nations 2007 and Fifa Club World Cup of 2009 and 2010. The 2017 Fifa Club World Cup final was played here.
The UAE senior team uses this as their home ground and will have the benefit of playing 2 of their group matches here.
#2 Hazza Bin Sayed Stadium
The Hazza Bin Sayed Stadium is at Al Ain, approximately 150 kilometers from Abu Dhabi. With a capacity to offer space for 25965 spectators, this is one of the newest stadia in the Middle East.
Having been built in 2014, the ground will be in use in 8 matches including one semi-final.
Hazza Bin Sayed Stadium hasn't hosted many international matches, its only notable events being the FIFA Club World Cup matches of 2017 and 2018.
The stadium is the home ground of Fifa Club World Cup runners-up Al Ain FC.
#3 Al Nahyan Stadium
The Al Nahyan Stadium is one of the three venues located in the city of Abu Dhabi. With a maximum capacity of 12000, it is the second smallest stadium being used for the Asian Cup.
The stadium will be hosting 5 games of the tournament, including a Round-of-16 match. The exciting game between China and South Korea on 16th January will be played here.
Al Nahyan has hosted group games of 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship. It is also the home stadium of Al Wahda club in UAE Pro League.
#4 Sharjah Stadium
The only stadium from Sharjah to host the tournament has a capacity of 11073, becoming the smallest stadium to be used.
Sharjah Stadium will witness 6 matches including one in the Round-of-16 encounter. India's hopeful fixture with Bahrain will be played here. With not much of history associated, the stadium is used by Sharjah FC as their home ground.
#5 Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium
The second stadium in Al Ain, also known as Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, has a capacity to hold 16000 people. The Sheikh Khalifa stadium was opened as a multi-purpose event in 1996.
This edition, the ground will be used for 5 group stage games and a Round-of-16 game. The stadium had successfully hosted group matches of the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship and 1996 AFC Asian Cup.
The stadium owned by Al Ain FC now has matches of the club occasionally and opens up to the UAE national squad, at times.
#6 Al-Maktoum Stadium
The Al-Maktoum Stadium, located in Dubai has a capacity of 16000 after being upgraded ahead of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
The stadium will host 6 games - 4 in the group stages and one each in Round of 16 and Quarter Finals. The most awaited game of the tournament, between Iran and Iraq, will be played here.
Al-Maktoum is the home ground of UAE Pro League club Al-Nasr.
#7 Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium
Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium of Abu Dubai is the second largest stadium being used for the championship. It can hold up to 42056 people and has seen a record attendance of close to 41000 during a match between UAE and Australia in 2016.
There are 7 games scheduled to be played here, including one each in Round-of-16, Quarter-final, and semi-final. The stadium has hosted matches of FIFA Club World Cup 2009 and 2010.
Currently, the stadium is the home to Al Jazira club.
#8 Rashid Stadium
Rashid Stadium of Dubai has a capacity of 15000 and is the oldest stadium to host Asian Cup 2019. It was founded in 1948 and has since been mostly used for football and rugby matches.
The stadium had earlier been used for 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup and 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup. A total of 5 matches including one Round-of-16 game will be played at the Rashid Stadium in the Asian Cup.