AFC Asian Cup 2023 Fun Facts
By Dipti Nair
The AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 is considered one of the historical editions of the tournament and with a record number of spectators at the opening match, the tournament is also set to be one of the biggest and most highly anticipated Asian Cups of all time. There are a lot of interesting facts associated with the Asian Cup. Check out some of the fun facts we could find. Do you know any more? Share in the comments below.
Qatar are the reigning champions of the Asian Cup 2023 after claiming their first win in 2019 at the United Arab Emirates. Qatar also got the rights to hold the tournament this year after China’s withdrawal and Qatar’s full readiness after the spectacular show at the FIFA World Cup 2022. Seven out of the 9 stadiums where the Asian Cup 2023 is played also hosted World Cup matches, a first in history. Qatar is also the only country to have hosted both the FIFA World Cup and the Asian Cup. Qatar is also the only country to host the Asian Cup for the third time.
Most Capped Player
Qatar national team captain Hassan Al Haydos has played for Qatar 175 times, making him the most-capped player in the tournament. The 34-year-old forward will be making his fourth appearance in the competition and was part of the team that won the title in 2019.
First Female Referee
The Asian Cup 2023 has also made a historical statement by having the first female referee in this edition of the tournament. Japanese official Yoshimi Yamashita became the first female referee at the AFC Asian Cup 2023. She officiated in the match between India and Australia on the second day of the tournament.
Japan, the Asian powerhouse, first qualified for the Asian Cup in 1988 and has since then qualified for the eight consecutive tournaments. They are also the most successful team with four wins in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011. They have also appeared in five of the past eight finals and the only time they lost in a final was against Qatar in 2019.
624 players have registered for Asian Cup 2023 and out of that Thai player Siwarak Tedsungnoen will be the oldest in the tournament. The champion goalkeeper will celebrate his 40th birthday in April, a couple of months after the tournament closes.
While veteran players take the spotlight at the Asian Cup, quite a few promising young talents are also expected to make their mark in Qatar. Kyrgyz forward Beknaz Almazbekov is the youngest player at 18 years and six months. After representing Kyrgyzstan at the youth international level, he was invited to the senior national team for this tournament qualifiers.
At nearly two metres, Australia’s centre-back Harry Souttar is the tallest player at the Asian Cup 2023. The Leicester City player with the Australian squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022. The towering players defensive resilience and offensive game will give Australia the winning edge in the tournament.
Most Goals in a Single Tournament
Qatari striker Almoez Ali is the top goalscoring player in a single edition of the Asian Cup, scoring 9 goals and breaking the record set by Iranian player Ali Daei of 8 goals in a single tournament. Almoez Ali is also the first Arab player to top the group stage goal scorers and the first Arab player to be top scorer in the history of the tournament. He also is the fifth player in the history of the Asian Cup to score four goals (super-hat-trick) in the group stage.
Most Goals in Asian Cup
Iranian striker Ali Daei is still the top goal scorer in the AFC Asian Cup history with an impressive score of 14 goals. He scored these goals over three Asian Cup Tournaments, in 8 goals in 1996, 3 goals in 2000 and 3 goals in 2004. He also held the record for the most goals in a single tournament (8 goals) which was broken by Qatar’s Almoez Ali in 2019.
Hong Kong is one of the earliest participants in the Asian Cup and is also the team that scored the first goal of the tournament. Their last entry at the Asian Cup was in 1968, after which they qualified this time, 56 years later. In this tournament, Hong Kong scored the 1000th goal of the tournament during the match against UAE, making history by being the team scoring the 1st and 1000th goal at the Asian Cup.
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