2019 AFC Asian Cup: The 24 Contenders

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

After a gruelling qualification campaign which took all of four years to complete, the 24-team roster for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup has finally been completed.

It all began on March 12, 2015 when 12 teams faced off in the first round of qualifiers, and then progressed to the second round, a playoff round, and the recently-concluded third and final round.

Here, FOX Sports Asia recaps the campaign to ensure you know all of the 24 teams and how they got there.

Hosts: United Arab Emirates (1)

As hosts of the tournament, United Arab Emirates were guaranteed a place amongst the 24 but, with the campaign also doubling up as qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, they took their place from the second round.

Despite facing some competition, UAE were able to seal a top-two finish in Group A, although they came up short in their quest to reach the World Cup.

Second Round Group Winners: Saudi Arabia, Australia, Qatar, Iran, Japan, Thailand, Korea Republic, Uzbekistan (8)

The eight group winners were assured of a place at United Arab Emirates 2019, along with a berth in the final round of Asia’s World Cup qualifiers.

After eight rounds of matches which lasted from June 2015 to March 2016, it was Saudi Arabia, Australia, Qatar, Iran, Japan, Thailand and Korea Republic who finished top of their respective groups.

Meet the 24 teams that will be competing in the #AsianCup2019!

Posted by AFC Asian Cup on Tuesday, 27 March 2018


Second Round – Best Runners-up: Iraq, Syria, China PR (3)

As a result of the qualifying mechanism, the fourth best-placed runners-up from Group A to H also advanced.

Only two points separated the top six second-placed teams but, in the end, it was Iraq, Syria, already-qualified United Arab Emirates and China PR who got the nod.

Third Round – Group Winners & Runners-up: India, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, DPR Korea, Jordan, Vietnam, Oman, Palestine, Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Philippines, Yemen (12)

With 24 teams entering the third and final round but only 12 spots up for grabs, teams knew they could ill afford too many slip-ups if they were to book their ticket to UAE.

Some qualified with games to spare while others left it down to the wire. In the end, it was India and Kyrgyz Republic (Group A), Lebanon and DPR Korea (Group B), Jordan and Vietnam (Group C), Oman and Palestine (Group D), Bahrain and Turkmenistan (Group E) and Philippines and Yemen (Group F) who are through.