Asian Cup UAE 2019; Preview - Final: Japan v Qatar


Asian Cup UAE 2019; Japan vs Qatar

Abu Dhabi: After six wins apiece, Japan and Qatar stand within touching distance of Asian football's greatest prize as they prepare to meet in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 final at Zayed Sports City Stadium on Friday. With the two teams potentially 90 minutes away from creating history, the-AFC.com breaks down some of the key facts and details ahead of what promises to be a match to remember.

Showpiece specialists meet first timers

Japan are the competition's most successful nation, becoming champions four times since breaking through for their first Asian title on home soil in 1992, but they also boast a perfect record in the AFC Asian Cup final, having won in all four of their previous appearances in the decider.

In fact, they have only conceded one goal in the showpiece, in their 3-1 win against China PR in 2004, and three of their four wins have come in regulation time, with Tadanari Lee's extra-time winner against Australia in 2011 the only exception.

Conversely, the final will be completely new territory for Qatar who had never previously made it beyond the quarter-final stage.

While this is the first senior final at the continental level for Al Annabi, a number of their personnel, including head coach Felix Sanchez and star players such as Almoez Ali, Akram Afif and Tarek Salman, won the AFC U-19 Championship in Myanmar in 2014.

All eyes on Ali, but Osako looms for Japan

There is little doubt that Almoez Ali has been one of the revelations of the competition, scoring eight goals from six matches to equal Ali Daei's 23-year-old AFC Asian Cup record.

His achievements are all the more notable given that, playing primarily as a winger, he scored just once in his previous 13 appearances for club side Al Sadd.

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