Asian Cup - Introduction - 13/Jan/2024

Asian Cup – Introduction – 13/Jan/2024


The Asian Cup, officially known as the AFC Asian Cup, is a men’s football competition organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It is the most prestigious football tournament in Asia and has been held every four years since its inception in 1956. The tournament represents an incredible blend of cultures and playing styles, showcasing the unique features of football across the diverse continent.

History of the Asian Cup

The idea for an Asian football competition was first proposed at the Asian Football Confederation’s inaugural congress in Manila in 1954. Two years later, the first Asian Cup took place in Hong Kong, with four nations participating: South Korea, Hong Kong, South Vietnam, and Israel. South Korea emerged as the first champion of the tournament, winning both of their matches.

Over the years, the tournament has grown in size and stature. The competition initially comprised four teams before expanding to six in 1964, eight in 1972, 12 in 2004, and eventually, 24 in 2019. Today, the Asian Cup is a month-long event attended by teams from all corners of the continent, making it an inclusive, continent-wide fiesta.

Format of the Asian Cup

The current format of the AFC Asian Cup involves a qualification phase and a final competition. The qualification phase takes place over a three-year period where teams compete for the coveted spots in the final competition.

The final competition is a festive occasion, hosted by a selected country and featuring 24 teams. The teams are divided into six groups of four, where they play each other in a round-robin format. The top two teams from each group, along with the four best third-placed teams, advance to the knockout stage, consisting of a round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the grand final.

Famous Asian Cup Moments

Through the years, the Asian Cup has produced many memorable moments. One such moment was in 1960 when South Korea won the tournament for the second time, using only domestic-based players — a feat yet to be replicated.

A more recent noteworthy moment came in 2019, when Qatar triumphed for the first time. They made history not only by winning the tournament but doing so by defeating some of Asia’s football powerhouses along the way, including South Korea and Japan.

Achievements and Statistics

Japan and Saudi Arabia currently hold the record for the most Asian Cup titles, with three each. The former achieved this feat in 1992, 2000, and 2004, while the latter’s victories came in 1984, 1988, and 1996.

South Korea, despite their early success in the competition, has not won an Asian Cup since 1960. The 2023 tournament gives them another chance to end their long-standing title drought.

Second Tier Competitions

In addition to the prestigious Asian Cup, the AFC also organizes secondary competitions such as the AFC Challenge Cup and the AFC Solidarity Cup. These tournaments offer opportunities for lower-ranked teams to compete against nations at a similar level and to develop their footballing prowess.


  • The AFC Asian Cup is the oldest continental football competition in the world.
  • The current champions of the competition are Qatar, who won in 2019.
  • South Korea won the first tournament held in 1956.
  • The 2019 tournament was the biggest in history, with 24 participating teams.
  • Israel, despite no longer being a member of the AFC, competed in the inaugural tournament and finished in second place.
  • Japan and Saudi Arabia hold the record for the most titles with three apiece.
  • Image description

    The imagery presented here showcases the euphoric celebration moment of the Qatar team as they held aloft the AFC Asian Cup trophy in 2019. The players are enveloped in a colorful confetti rain, with the thousands of spectator flashlights creating a magical background. The ecstatic expressions on the players’ faces epitomize the tournament’s embodiment of footballing dreams and ambitions on the Asian continent.