4 teams including two Arabs reached the Asian Cup gold medal with different ambitions: Qatar to retain its title, Iran to regain its continental prestige, Jordan to write a fairy tale, and South Korea to prove its continental superiority. .
The majority of the semi-finals of the 2023 edition, which concludes in Qatar next Saturday, were for West Asian teams, of which 3 were nominated: Qatar, Jordan and Iran, and only South Korea was from the east of the continent.
We start with the defending champions, the hosts and the fans. Al-Annabi's path was paved with goals and clean sheets in the first group, as they achieved 3 consecutive wins without conceding any goals, defeating Lebanon by three goals and defeating both Tajikistan and China. With a clear goal.
Entering the last 16 with full points and facing the Palestinian team, and in this match he conceded the first goal in the tournament, but after being behind 1–0 he managed to win over “Al-Fedai”. The match was tied at 2–1, with the balance between the two teams with one lead each. Relative to the Palestinian team, but with the experience of champions, Al-Annabi knew how to recover from this clash.
– beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) 3 February 2024
In the quarter-finals, it was the confrontation with Uzbekistan, which was considered the strongest test for the Qatar national team in its career at the current tournament. It was indeed a strong test, as Al-Anabi took the lead with friendly fire in the first half, and the Uzbek national team returned in the second half. The numbers show that it took the most effort to beat Uzbekistan… The goal was diagonal as far as ball possession is concerned.
Al-Anabi was able to manage the match in regular and extra time and absorb the enthusiasm of the Uzbek national team and excelled in the penalty shootout thanks to the talent of Al-Anabi's goalkeeper Mishal Barshim, who saved 3 penalty kicks and saved his 12th achievement achieved. victory in the tournament, as they did not lose in two consecutive editions and had only 3 goals scored against them in 13 matches. He struggled in both versions.
The Qatar national team hopes to take advantage of the high morale they have after their thrilling, tough and dramatic win over the Uzbek national team against Iran, who are also buoyed by their tiring win over the Japan national team. Fatal Times 2-1.
It seems that Spaniard Marquez Lopez has finally started to decide on his starting lineup and the playing system he will adopt in the tournament.
This coach, who took over the coaching reins of Al-Anabi only a month before the start of the tournament, modified his basic formations in which he played the tournament more than once, and also relied on 4 tactical plans in the tournament They started with a 4-4-2, then a 4-3-3, and then a 4-5-1 in the final two matches against Palestine and Uzbekistan, settling on a balanced plan between defense and attack, strengthening the midfield. Do and full-backs turned into wingers and vice versa, which is a 3-5-2.
Lopez appears to be adopting the same plan against Iran, strengthening the defensive line and asking the full-backs to commit more to defensive duties, an Iranian team loaded with stars and playing in the best European leagues. Not to mention the physicality, strength and realism with which Iran played in the last two matches against Syria and Japan.
Al-Annabi is equipped with several factors to overcome its Iranian counterpart:
- hero character
- Retaining the title, a feat that had not happened in 20 years (this happened to Japan in the 2000 and 2004 editions)
- Exceptional public support at all Qatar national team matches
- The level of the team increased as the tournament matches progressed
Annabi will face the “Lions of Persia” team, which is trying for its fourth title in the continental championship since 1976.
Iran ended Japan's dominance in the continental championship, as it achieved its first win after two losses and two draws. He also scored for the first time against “Samurai” and avenged their defeat by three goals. In the semi-finals of the 2019 edition in the Emirates.
Iran continued a streak in which it had not lost in 18 matches, which continues since November 29, 2022.
The Prince of Neuilly Castle did not lose. (60), who replaced Carlos Queiroz, has played 16 matches since taking charge, but he was criticized last year when Iran participated in friendly tournaments such as the Jordan International Championship and the Central Asian Federation Championship.
🎥 Highlights | 🇮🇷IR Iran 2️⃣-1️⃣ Japan 🇯🇵
Team Melli left it late as captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh dramatically became the hero!
– #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) 3 February 2024
Iran's path to this role is similar to that of the Qatar national team, as it achieved 3 wins over Palestine, Hong Kong and the Emirates, but conceded two goals.
Facing a belligerent Syrian team in the eighth final, it was forced to play two extra halves and then go to penalty kicks, which went in favor of a team with experience at continental and international level, whose captain Mehdi Taremi was awarded a penalty in stoppage time. Was expelled in time. Match (91st minute).
Tim Milley's morale has been boosted significantly by the return of Porto's Portuguese star Taremi in the match against Qatar.
Coach Amir Kala has remained steadfast on his starting lineup since the beginning of the tournament, the only change being his reliance on Italian Roma player Serdar Azmoun as a starter in the eighth and quarter-final matches. He also typically adopts a tactic, which is 4-2-3-1, and relies on a true spear. This is Azmoun and the other one depends on Tarimi.
It seems that Emir Qala is following this tactical drawing and will adopt it against Al-Anabi in the second semi-final match the day after tomorrow, Wednesday.
The Iranian national team has several weapons in the semi-final match:
- Almost all the matches of his country were watched by a large number of spectators.
- Experience its stars who play in the best European clubs.
- Physical strength and cross arms were decisive in confronting the Japanese “computers”.
- His quest to win championships (for which he has set many records) has been missing from his coffers for almost 50 years.
“Nshama” and the fairy tale
The second representative of the Arabs in the semi-finals, he deserves the title of “the dark horse of the tournament”, as he has achieved a historic feat by reaching the semi-finals for the first time in its history and wants to continue to march to the finals and a fantasy story. Write, titled “The Starchy Champions of Asia”.
Jordan had set an example by reaching Golden Square for the first time by defeating Tajikistan by one goal, but it does not want to stop here.
It is clear that as the matches go on the “starchy” players grow in confidence and there appears to be more cohesion in the group. The most important thing is that they play with focus and calmness till the last moments of the match. The team, after falling behind in the score in the round of 16 match against Iraq, maintained its focus till the 95th minute of the match. They scored two goals in two minutes and snatched victory from one of the title contenders.
In the quarter-finals, they kept their opening goal, which came with friendly fire. He did not retreat or shrink in defence, but maintained his composure and focus and emerged with a historic victory and the respect of his competitors.
Al-Nashama will be absent from Salem Al-Ajalin and Ali Alwan due to the accumulation of cautions, while Nizar Al-Rashdan has returned to the starting lineup.
🎥Match Summary | 🇹🇯 Tajikistan 0️⃣-1️⃣ Jordan 🇯🇴
– #AsiaCup2023 (@afcasiancup_ar) 2 February 2024
Amouta is betting on the trio of Yazan Al-Naimat, who scored two goals for Al-Nashma and contributed to the same, as well as Moussa Al-Tamari, Montpellier's French winger, and Mahmoud Mardi, who both scored two goals in this . Tournament till now also.
In this edition, the two teams met in a match in the group stage in which Jordan led 2–1 at stoppage time, but the latter's defender Yazan Al-Arab scored an own goal, giving South Korea an equaliser.
Football experts believe that the Moroccan coach, Hussein Amouta, is the password to the achievement of the “Nshama” team, because he succeeded in keeping his players away from the pressure of criticism and arrows of comments towards them and from the level of the players. First. tournament, and they surprised everyone by winning the first match over Malaysia with a clean score and it was close. “The Korean Samson” was very difficult to tame, and then had a sudden defeat against Bahrain, before it opened its teeth and produced its best level against Iraq, then had a good win against Tajikistan.
Since the beginning of the tournament, Amouta has relied on a fixed formation and a tactical formation, which is a 3–4–3 or 3–4–2–1, which is a balanced plan between defense and attack, with the midfield. Is. First to defend the goal and first to attack.
The Jordan national team is equipped with the following:
- Huge crowd gathered in the stands of Ahmed Ben Ali Stadium against Tajikistan
- Jordan wants to achieve a milestone soon for football
- The enthusiasm and fighting spirit of the team was clearly visible in various matches of the tournament.
- Moroccan coach Hussein Amouta played an important role in achieving this achievement.
Golden generation of “Samson”
Korea came close to ending its title drought dating back to 1960 when it won its second consecutive continental title after a dramatic 2–1 victory over Australia.
Regarding the difficulty of his team's task after playing extra time twice in the qualifying rounds against Saudi Arabia and then Australia, team captain Hyun Min Son said, “This is the first time in my career that I have scored 120 points in two matches. Have played minutes.” One line. It is not easy at all, but the spirit the players show is great. “It inspires us to stick together, and I say with confidence that our strength lies in the spirit of a team.”
The last time South Korea reached the final was at the 2015 Australian edition, losing 1–2 to the host nation after extra time in a match in which Son participated and scored a goal for his country.
🎥Match Summary | 🇦🇺Australia 1️⃣-2️⃣ South Korea 🇰🇷
– #AsiaCup2023 (@afcasiancup_ar) 2 February 2024
One of the candidates to win the title due to its squad of players playing in the best European leagues, Korean Samson suffered defeats in almost every match played in the tournament:
- Bahrain defeated Bahrain to level the score and the Koreans had to double their efforts to win the match
- In front of Jordan, the Koreans were waiting for a gift from Jordanian player Yazan Al-Arab to score an equalizer in the dying hour of the match.
- They got a 3-3 draw against Malaysia in the last hour of the match.
- In the final match against Saudi Arabia, he scored the equalizer in the last minute of stoppage time and won the match on penalties.
- Against Australia, he also scored an equalizer in the last minute of stoppage time and sealed the win with a free kick in extra time.
It is noteworthy that the Korean team has conceded 8 goals in 6 matches, and that means that there are problems and gaps in their defence, which is further aggravated by the absence of Bayern Munich defender Kim Min-jae due to the accumulation of cautions. ,
German Jurgen Clemmensen hasn't made much changes to his starting lineup or his tactical drawing, as he adopted a 4-4-2 in the group stage and then a 4-2-3-1 in the knockout rounds.
It is possible to title the semi-final clash between Korea and Jordan as “Patience and Focus” because both teams have proven that they are not in a hurry, even if they concede goals or have a late result, and are capable of playing in the finals. Maintaining your lead and not making too many mistakes during matches that are not divisible by two.
In their confrontation with the “Nashaama” team, the Koreans rely on:
- The quality and experience of their players in these matches
- His experienced coach, who previously won the Gold Cup and World Cup with the US national team as a player
- Their leader, Son, with two shots, was able to turn the match over to Australia.
- His focus and calmness led to his comeback in this tournament with results in 3 matches.