The draw for the 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 placed the Qatari national team in Group A along with China; Tajikistan; and Lebanon to kick off the tournament, hosted by Qatar from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10, 2024.
The opening match will be between Qatar and Lebanon.
This came during the draw ceremony, which was held at the Opera House in the Cultural Village (Katara) in presence of FIFA President Gianni Infantino; AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and QFA President HE Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani along with AFC Executive Committee members, representatives of football continental federations and managers of the 24 participating teams.
The 18th AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 draw placed Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria and India in Group B; Iran, UAE, Hong Kong and Palestine in Group C; Japan, Indonesia, Iraq and Vietnam in Group D; South Korea, Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain in Group E and Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Oman in Group F.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa addressed the ceremony saying that the State of Qatar was the perfect choice to host the 2023 Asian Cup, as it hosted the best edition in the history of the World Cup less than six months ago, and demonstrated tremendous organizational capabilities during the 2022 World Cup.
He said: “The journey to this stage can be credited to a simple yet a powerful reason; The AFC and its members have been firm in our collective desire to exceed all expectations with each passing edition.
“In recent years, we introduced several enhancements; we unveiled a new trophy in 2019 and introduced a reward of nearly USD 15 million, which benefited all our participating teams.” AFC President concluded saying that despite the short preparation time, the federation was able to stage the tournament in Qatar, expressing gratitude to Qatar Football association and the organizing committee.
The third Qatari edition of the continental tournament will be exceptional, due to investing Qatar’s legacy from the historic hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, being the first AFC Championship to be held on World Cup stadiums.
Qatar will be the first country to host the tournament three times in its history, having hosted two previous editions in 1988 and 2011, passing Iran, Thailand and the UAE, who had hosted the tournament twice before. This is the seventh time that the Asian Cup is being held in the West Asian region.
The host Qatari team was placed at the top of Group A, in order to ensure that they will play the opening match of the tournament.