Your essential guide to the AFC Asian Cup 2019

The sporting spectacle kicks off in Abu Dhabi in January

Your essential guide to the AFC Asian Cup 2019

Fifty-one games, 24 nations, 3.5 billion eyes and only one winner…

It is of course the AFC Asian Cup 2019, which finally returns this month – with match ticket prices starting from a pocket-friendly Dhs25.

From the Far East to the Middle East, the top Asian footballing nations, who represent half the planet’s population, will meet in the UAE to compete for the world’s second-oldest football competition. It unfolds across eight stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah from January 5 to February 1.

This year 24 teams from 24 countries – up from the usual 16 – will vie for the title of Asian Cup champions, making this the largest tournament field in history and the biggest sporting event ever to be held in the region.

The UAE country offers the ideal mix of scenic splendour and cosmopolitan sophistication. State-of-the-art architecture, world-class entertainment venues and breathtaking cultural monuments now stand alongside the palm trees and natural attractions of the varied desert terrain, leaving visitors with plenty to see and do.

QUICK UAE HISTORY
Founded in 1971 with the unification of Abu Dhabi (the capital of the UAE), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. The cup was last hosted here in 1996.

HOST CITIES
Abu Dhabi

The UAE’s elegant capital city is known for stunning monuments like Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Emirates Palace and for hosting globally-renowned attractions such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Despite such stature, visitors will find Abu Dhabi an easy city to explore. Impeccably clean and among the safest cities in the world.

Al Ain
The historic birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late President and Founding Father of the UAE, Al Ain is also the birthplace of football in the UAE and home to its most successful football team Al Ain FC. The second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has the beautiful, manicured feel of a cosy resort town with a rich cultural heritage, featuring a number of historic forts, museums and archaeological excavations.

Dubai
The UAE’s largest city is a true melting pot of three million residents from every country around the globe. Home to the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa and the world’s largest shopping mall The Dubai Mall, Dubai is the world’s seventh most popular travel destination – ahead of New York and Tokyo.

Sharjah
A trip to the third largest city in the UAE carries the promise of rich culture and unsurpassed natural beauty. Sharjah is a city steeped in the beauty of Islamic culture where you will find exquisitely inspired mosques, 16 museums and traditional Arabic architecture all within a modern urban design. In 1998, Sharjah was named the “Arab Capital of Culture” by UNESCO.
Tickets are priced from Dhs25 and are available to buy from www.the-afc.com.



Stadiums
Sharjah Stadium
Opened:
1982
Capacity: 12,000
Games hosting: 6
Location: Samnan, Sharjah
Notable fixture: Fourth Round of 16 (Jan 21)

Rashid Stadium
Opened:
1948
Capacity: 12,000
Games hosting: 5
Location: Deira, Dubai
Notable fixture: Seventh Round of 16 (Jan 22)

Al Nahyan Stadium
Opened:
1995
Capacity: 15,000
Games hosting: 5
Location: Al Wadha, Abu Dhabi
Notable fixture: KOR vs CHN (Jan 16)

Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium
Opened:
1980
Capacity: 37,500
Games hosting: 7
Location: Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street, Abu Dhabi
Notable fixture: Second semi final (Jan 29)

Al Maktoum Stadium
Opened:
1995
Capacity: 15,000
Games hosting: 6
Location: Oud Metha, Dubai
Notable fixture: First quarter final (Jan 24)

Zayed Sports City Stadium
Opened:
1980
Capacity: 45,000
Games hosting: 8
Location: Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi
Notable fixture: Opening match (Jan 5) and final (Feb 1)

Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium
Opened:
1971
Capacity: 12,000
Games hosting: 7
Location: Al Maqam, Al Ain
Notable fixture: Fifth Round of 16 (Jan 21)

Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium
Opened:
2014
Capacity: 24,000
Games hosting: 7
Location: Al Jimi, Al Ain
Notable fixture: First semi final (Jan 28)

GROUPS
GROUP A
UAE
Thailand
India
Bahrain

GROUP B
Australia
Syria
Palestine
Jordan

GROUP C
Korea Republic
China
Kyrgyzstan
Phillipines

GROUP D
Iran
Iraq
Vietnam
Yemen

GROUP E
Saudi Arabia
Qatar
Lebanon
North Korea

GROUP F
Japan
Uzbekistan
Oman
Turkmenistan

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