Full of confidence and ambition, the Socceroos want to chase silverware in Doha, after winning their first Asian Cup on home soil in 2015. They will be among the favourites to win the competition even if the underdog role seems to suit the team better.
Bahrain’s Asian Cup highpoint was in 2004 in China when they reached the semi-finals.
It is a very different Asian Cup for China than what their fans expected. This edition of the tournament was supposed to be held on Chinese soil last year but a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus in the country led to dropping out of hosting.
Returning to Asia’s premier continental tournament for the first time since 1968, Hong Kong qualified via the third qualification round after recovering from a shaky 4-0 loss versus India with back-to-back victories over Cambodia and Afghanistan.
India return to the continent’s flagship tournament for the fifth time. They were runners-up behind hosts Israel in the 1964 Asian Cup, but in recent times they have never progressed from the group stages.
No country at the tournament has been through more internal turmoil than Indonesia who failed to qualify for the last Asian Cup and were banned by Fifa from the one before because of government interference.
Iran’s modern history at the Asian Cup is one of torment and agony because every four years the side and the nation are consumed by the same single question: can Team Melli for the first time since 1976 win the coveted prize to fulfil their potential and satisfy their demanding fanbase?
Iraq shocked the world in 2007 by winning the Asian Cup and ever since the Lions of Mesopotamia have reached the knockout stages of the tournament, including a run to the semi-finals.
With their credentials, players and pedigree, Japan must be considered the sky-high favourites to win their fifth Asian Cup – and not just on account of their outstanding showing at the last World Cup, but because of their tournament record, quality across the squad, and a coach who oozes confidence.
This is Jordan’s fifth appearance in the last six editions of the Asian Cup.
Kyrgyzstan Republic qualified for the Asian Cup in the third round of qualification, thanks to an unbeaten record in Group F achieved by securing back-to-back wins over Singapore and Myanmar before being held to a draw by group winners Tajikistan.
What to expect
Last time out in 2019, Kyrgyzstan Republic reached the round of 16 after a third-placed finish in Group C, ahead of being dumped out the competition by hosts UAE in a five-goal thriller that went the way of the eventual semi-finalists.
Lebanon open the 2023 Asian Cup against hosts Qatar in the Lusail Stadium on January 12.
Ranked 74th in the world this is the Omanis fifth appearance at the Asian Cup finals, with their best performance coing in 2019 when the reached the last 16 in 2019 as one of third best group nations. They were knocked by Iran, losing 2-0.
Lacking in Asian Cup finals pedigree but eager to break out of the group stage for the first time in their history, Malaysia travel to Qatar with a squad filled with youthful inexperience and exciting talent in equal measure.
On their third appearance in the finals, Palestine want to clinch a first-ever ticket to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup and under Tunisian coach Makram Daboub the team has been playing well, often under difficult circumstances.