UAE 2019 Asian Cup lineup confirmed

The lineup for the 2019 UAE Asian Cup has now been confirmed, it will be the first time that 24 teams have competed in the finals. East Asia will be represented by four nations.

The four East Asian countries who will compete are South Korea, Japan, North Korea and China. Out of the other teams from East Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong narrowly missed out, Macau finished bottom of their group but were more competitive than was expected in most of their games, and Guam withdrew due to the proximity of the teams they were drawn against in qualifying.

Macau were not originally in the qualifiers; but they got re-instated due to Guam withdrawing stating their inability to cover expenses needed by the team to complete their games taking place in central, south and west Asia.  

Out of the qualified nations, Japan, South Korea and China were all entered into the Asian cup finals directly due to getting to the last round of World Cup Qualifying. North Korea had to play extra Asian Cup qualifying and eliminated Hong Kong in a final round decider which took place in Pyongyang.

Taiwan finished on 9 points which was only 1 behind Turkmenistan, the sucker punch coming in the away game in Balkanabat losing 2-1 when in hindsight a draw would have been enough to send them to the finals which we now know after the final round of games have been played.

Hong Kong came close, but it all came down to the last game away to North Korea. North Korea only needed to draw, Hong Kong needed to win. Either way another East Asian side would be in the finals. North Korea won the game 2-0 to make Hong Kong’s wait to make an appearance at a major finals continues.

Japan and South Korea will be the sides who have the chance of going the furthest in the competition and everyone knows they have the most pedigree of all East Asian teams. Chinese fans will expect them to go far, but if recent performs are anything to go by they’ll flatter to deceive, and North Korea will play their usual gritty style.

The qualified teams are: United Arab Emirates, Qatar, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Uzbekistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, China PR, Palestine, Oman, India, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Jordan,  Bahrain, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, North Korea, Philippines, Yemen.

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