This Friday Qatar and Japan face each other for the final of the Asian Cup. Today we are going to go over the 2 teams journey to the final.
Qatar: Qatar’s group stage was a walk in the park as they won all 3 games against, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and North Korea. In the round of 16 Qatar faced Iraq who came in 2nd in their group. A goal by Al-Rawi in the 62nd minute saw Qatar go by to the the quarter finals. The quarter finals saw Qatar face tournament favorites South Korea. South Korea was on a winning streak ever since their win against Germany in the World Cup, no one expected Qatar to beat them as Qatar has never qualified for the World Cup. An intense game till the 78th minute when Hatem scored the goal to qualify Qatar to the semi-finals. In the Semi-finals Qatar played UAE who had just kicked out Australia, the current winners of the tournament, of the tournament. The game proved to be no challenge for Qatar as they breezed by to 4-0 win. Qatar has never been this far in the tournament before and even with a lose in the final they will go back to their country as heroes.
Japan: Japan’s group was also a walk in the park as they were the only country to have ever been in the World Cup out of the 4 teams. For the round of 16 Japan faced Saudi Arabia who put up a fight but only after Tomiyasu’s goal which ended the game 1-0. After Saudi Arabia, Japan faced Vietnam for the quarter finals. Vietnam was a surprise to make this far out in the tournament since they have only reached the semi final twice, the last time being in 1960. A penalty by Doan helped Japan win the game and head on to the semi-finals. One of the strongest teams in the tournament, Iran was trying to get their 4th Asian cup title but after 54 minutes of the game Japan scored 3 goals to cruise by into the final. Japan is the team who has won the most titles of the tournament and hope to make add one more title to their collection.
Both teams have worked hard to make it this far in the tournament but this wont be their last International tournament this year. The 2 teams have been selected to be apart of this years edition of Copa America which is the equivalent to the Asian games but in South America. Make sure to watch the game at February 2nd at 9AM.