The first big competition of the new year will see the Indian football team in action at the AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates. The continental tournament pits the best national teams in the region for a chance at glory. From 2004 to 2015, the Asian Cup was played between 16 teams but the 2019 edition, the 17th overall, will see 24 teams in action. UAE are hosting the tournament for a second time having also played hosts in 1996. Australia are the defending champions with a win in the 2015 Asian Cup extravaganza. Winner of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup will go on to also play the 2021 Confederations Cup – tournaments which pits winners of each continental tournament.
India at AFC Asian Cup
India did not compete at the 2015 Asian Cup and this is the first appearance after the 2011 edition. India have played at the AFC Asian Cup thrice in the past – 1964, 1984 and 2011 – reaching the final in the 1964 edition while faltering in the group stages in the other tournaments. Even the run to the final in 1964 comes with a caveat. India gained direct qualification after several Western Zone teams pulled out due to political scenario. Played in a round-robin format, the 1964 edition of the Asian Cup was won by hosts Israel but it had only four participants. With wins over South Korea and Hong Kong, India cemented second place.
For the 2019 edition, India are placed in Group A along with UAE, Bahrain and Thailand. Their first match is against Thailand on Sunday (January 6) at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Thereafter India will play hosts UAE on January 10 and close out their round robin fixtures with a contest against Bahrain on January 14.
When is the AFC Asian Cup 2019 taking place?
The Asian Cup will take place in the UAE from January 5 to February 1, 2019.
How many nations are participating in the AFC Asian Cup 2019?
This Asian Cup tournament is set to be the biggest in history with 24 teams vying for continental glory. It used to be a 16-team from 2005 till 2015.
What are the groups for the AFC Asian Cup?
GROUP A: UAE, Bahrain, India, Thailand
GROUP B: Australia, Syria, Jordan, Palestine
GROUP C: South Korea, China, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines
GROUP D: Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Yemen
GROUP E: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, North Korea
GROUP F: Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman, Turkmenistan
What is the format of the AFC Asian Cup 2019?
The 24 teams are divided into six groups of four teams each. In the group stage each team plays three games, with the winners and runners-up from each group advancing to the knockouts along with the four best third-placed teams. In the knockout stage the sixteen teams compete in a single-elimination tournament, beginning with the round of 16 and ending with the final match of the tournament. There will be no third place playoff match for the first time since 1972 in the tournament’s history.
What are the venues for the AFC Asian Cup 2019?
The eight venues to host the 24 team tournament are Zayed Sports City Stadium, Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium and Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi; Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium and Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain; Al-Maktoum Stadium and Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai; and Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah. Zayed Sports City Stadium will play host to both the opening match and the final.
What is the prize money for the AFC Asian Cup 2019?
Total prize money pool for the tournament is US$14,800,000. The winners of the tournament will receive $5 million, the runners-up will receive $3 million, and the losing semi-finalists will receive $1 million. All 24 participating teams will also receive $200,000.
What is India’s schedule for the AFC Asian Cup?
India, who are playing their first Asian Cup tournament since 2011, start off on January 6 against Thailand. Then they will take on hosts UAE on January 10 in Abu Dhabi. The final group stage game will see The Blue Tigers face Bahrain on January 14 in Sharjah.
What is India’s squad for the AFC Asian Cup 2019?
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru), Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City), Vishal Kaith (Pune City)
Defenders: Pritam Kotal (ATK), Sarthak Golui (Pune City), Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters), Anas Edathodika (Kerala Blasters), Salam Ranjan Singh (East Bengal), Subhasish Bose (Mumbai City), Narayan Das (Delhi Dynamos)
Midfielders: Udanta Singh (Bengaluru), Rowllin Borges (NorthEast United), Anirudh Thapa (Chennaiyin), Vinit Rai (Delhi Dynamos), Halicharan Narzary (Kerala Blasters), Ashique Kuruniyan (Pune City), Germanpreet Singh (Chennaiyin), Jackichand Singh (Goa), Pronay Halder (ATK)
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru), Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin), Sumeet Passi (Jamshedpur), Balwant Singh (ATK)
What is India’s record at the AFC Asian Cup 2019?
India have played the Asian Cup thrice in the past – 1964, 1984 and 2011 with 2019 being the fourth appearance. In 1964, India reached the final but lost to hosts Israel while beating South Korea and Hong Kong on the way. In 1984, India drew one and lost their other three group games. India failed to score a single goal in this edition. In 2011, with the Asian Cup played in Qatar, The Blue Tigers didn’t win a single game, losing all three matches. In so doing, India scored three goals but conceded 13.
Which channel will live broadcast the AFC Asian Cup 2019?
The broadcasting rights of the 2019 Asian Cup are with Star Sports Network. The matches will be live telecast on Star Sports 3 and Star Sports 1 Hindi. The live streaming of the competition will be available on Hotstar.