By Abdelaziz Abuhamar
February 1 – Almost no one was expecting the Qatar national team to drive their way through to become the continental champions in the AFC 2019 Asian Cup that completed in the United Arab Emirates Firday night.
In doing so they posted a number of records in the history of the Asian Cup.
- Qatar sent their youngest-ever squad of their 10 Asian Cup finals, with an average age of 25 years, 51 days. 13 players, 57% of the squad in the Asian Cup 2019, are Aspire Academy graduates.
- Qatar national team became the first in the competition’s 63-year history to reach the final and claim the title with 7 successive victories.
- Qatar became the first side in the competition’s 63-year history to maintain a clean sheet for a record of 608 minutes, 38 seconds in a row and eventually win the title.
- Qatar became the first side to stop Japan in an Asian Cup final. Before 2019 final, Japan reached the final fout times, winning four titles.
- Felix Sanchez became the first Spanish manager to win the Asian title, the 5th European coach to repeat this feat. However, Sanchez, 43 years old, is the youngest European manager to win the continental title.
- Qatar’s coach Sanchez handed out the first defeat to his Japanese counterpart Hajime Moriyasu who had been in charge of Japan for 11 games before the final.
- Al-Moez Ali of Qatar broke the record for the most goals ever scored by a single player at a single Asian Cup tournament (9 goals), one more than Ali Daei, who scored 8 goals for Iran in the 1996 edition. Al-Moez has also become the most all-time Arab goalscorer in the Asian Cup (9 goals) along with the UAE’s Ali Mabhkout.
- Akram Afif made history in the Asian Cup having become the first player-ever to produce 10 assists in a single tournament. The Aspire graduate youngster has been directly involved in 11 of Qatar’s 19 goals this 2019 tournament.
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