Qatar and Jordan in the Asian Cup final… A champion defends his title and an aspiring one writes his own fairy tale

The final scene of a long, entertaining and exciting continental football series will be played tomorrow, Saturday, at the Lusail Stadium, which is hosting the Asian Cup final between the Qatar national team, the defending champions, and the land and hospitality owner who is attempting Preserve it, and the Jordan national team aspire to write a continental fairy tale and write their name among the champions.

There will be a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the players competing in the third Arab clash at this tournament, following the 1996 edition that featured the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and the 2007 final, which brought together Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The coaches of the Spanish national team, Márquez López, and the Moroccan national team, Hussein Amouta, tried to ease the pressure on him.

“It's just a football match we have to enjoy,” Lopez said. As for Amouta, who could become the second Arab coach to win the title after Saudi Khalil Al-Zayani in 1984, he said: “This is a final match and it needs no introduction. We are one step away from securing a historic title. are far. “

He said, “We are preparing normally without increasing the pressure and we want to present the level commensurate with our team. We will go into the match without any inferiority complex.”

last road

Both teams did not have the same path to the final, as Qatar topped the first group with a perfect score, defeated Lebanon, Tajikistan and China and exited the first round with 3 wins and not a single goal. ate.

López played with 3 tactical formations in the group stage: 4–4–2, 4–3–3, and 4–5–1.

As far as the knockout rounds are concerned, they played with a 3-5-2 scheme, relying on the pace and effectiveness of Akram Afif and Al-Moez Ali. Relying on this plan, “Al-Annabi” defeated the Palestine national team 2–1 and defeated Uzbekistan on penalties in the match after trailing 1–0. A match whose hero was goalkeeper Mishal Barshim and he defeated Iran 3-2 in an exciting and dramatic fashion in the semi-finals.

As for “Al-Nashama”'s path in the group stage, it faced ups and downs and its performance was unstable. They made a strong start to the tournament in the fifth group, defeating Malaysia 4–0, then missed a win against South Korea and scored an own goal in injury time to make it 2–2, before losing to Bahrain and finishing third. Arrived at the place. in groups.

The Moroccan Amouta played all tournament matches with the same tactical formation, which is 4-3-2-1, whose clear leader was Yazan Al-Naimat, and his successors were Moussa Al-Tamari, Ali Alwan or Mahmoud Mardi.

In this scheme, and through long passes to the fast, effective and goal-scoring trio, Al-Naimat, Al-Tamari and Alwan, Iraq were defeated on time and with a Hitchcockian scenario in the last 16, 3–2, and Then beat Tajikistan when Morocco's coach played the same way as Tajikistan's coach, Croatian Seghardt, and beat him with a clean goal. Then came the confrontation with South Korea in the semi-finals, in which Amouta taught the coach of “Al-Shamshoum”, the German Jürgen Klinsmann, a tactical lesson and defeated him technically, resulting in two unanswered goals.

most prominent players

The Qatari team achieved a record in the continental championship by achieving its 13th consecutive victory in the Asian Cup finals, and in the 2019 edition it conceded only one goal, scoring 4 times, while in this tournament it scored 10 goals. And 4 players (Akram Afif, Al-Moez Ali, Hassan Al-Haydos and Jassim Jaber) were signed by them.

Afif, not only the most prominent player in “Al-Adham” national team; In fact, throughout the tournament, he is one of the most prominent candidates to win the best prize. He is the second top scorer in the tournament with 5 goals (one goal behind Ayman Hussein) and the player with the most goals (contributed 8). He has also scored 3 goals for his teammates, topping the list of best assists. Tournament.

He has received the highest rating from more than one statistics website in the tournament, his rating in Lebanon's opening match was 9.8 out of 10, while his average in the tournament reached 8.4, and he had a mark in almost every match in scoring. Passing and assists meant he created 15 complete chances, and he also scored a goal. At 3.4 shots per, all these numbers and he's still 27 years old.

Before joining the ranks of Qatar's Al-Sadd in 2018, Afif played 3 experiences on the European continent with Villarreal, Spain's Sporting Gijón and Belgium's Eupen.

He is followed by last edition's top scorer and holder of 11 continental goals, Almoez Ali (27 years), placing him second in the list of historical scorers of the tournament behind Iranian star Ali Daei. He did not perform at the level expected of him in this tournament, as he scored two goals and added two more, and he may be able to do so… snatching the first place from the future Iranian national team legend and the continent's all-time Became the top scorer.

As for the Octopus goalkeeper, Mishal Barshim, who has been nominated for the Best Goalkeeper award in the tournament, not least because of his performance against Uzbekistan and 3 penalty kick saves; Rather, for his overall performance in the tournament, particularly his exceptional defending against Iran.

Regarding Lopez's participation of 26 players so far in this tournament, the coach of the Qatar national team says, “Everyone was entitled to participate and so we decided to distribute the minutes. Of course some of them got more minutes, But everyone played a role in it.” We will reach the final match.”

Youth are knocking on the door of history

On the other hand, the fairy tale of the Jordan national team continues thanks to a unified group of players led by an experienced Moroccan coach. It is true that Al-Tamari's stardom is overwhelming, but that does not diminish the quality of Al-Naimat, the skill of Alwan and the high-scoring understanding of Mahmoud Mardi.

The Jordanian team scored 12 goals, with 6 players taking turns to lead: Al-Tamari scored 3 and assisted one goal, Al-Naimat also scored 3 and assisted 2 goals, and Al -Mardi also scored 2 goals.

These numbers tell us that Amouta presents a homogeneous group in which everyone plays with a team spirit, and not with a single star team. Everyone can score, even the two centre-backs, Yazan Al-Arab and Abdullah Nassib.

Jamal Mahmoud, the coach who gave Al-Tamari his first chance, says: The Jordan international is considered “a combination of Argentinian stars Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi and Dutchman Arjen Robben. He has great pace and a strong physical structure, but The most important thing is the ability to possess the ball while moving it quickly.”

The pace, skill and effectiveness of Montpellier's French player Al-Tamari, who has been nominated to win the best player award at the tournament along with Qatari Al-Ahly strikers Al-Naimat and Alwan. Qatari Al-Shamal striker won the award. Amouta relied on falling balls behind the opponents' defence, and relied on these three to break down the defenders' fort with short passes between them, launch surprise attacks and quickly score into the net.

From the bench we can see a tactical duel between two teams that rely on almost identical plans and similar playing styles.

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