Qatar’s AFC Asian Cup 2023 is well underway, with the group stage campaign on its last day.
The AFC Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar is heading towards the Round of 16 stage, with the group phase slowly coming to an end as the last remaining teams battle it out for the final stop.
As per the competition format, the 24 men’s football teams competing at the Qatar tournament stood divided into six groups – Group A to F – for the group phase.
To qualify, the top two teams from each group and four best third-placed teams make the knockouts in Qatar.
So far, 14 teams – Qatar, Tajikistan, Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria, Iran, UAE, Palestine, Japan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Jordan, and Thailand – have successfully clinched their spots in the knockout rounds.
The last two qualifying teams will be determined following the conclusion of Groups E and F.
Hosts and defending champions Qatar were the first team to make the cut for the knockout stage with back-to-back wins over Lebanon and Tajikistan.
Qatar defeated China in their final match to top Group A and hold a perfect record.
Besides the top two from each group, the four best third-placed teams across all the groups also make the final 16.
Several surprises were witnessed in the tournament, most notably the Palestinian football team qualification after they won a 3-0 victory over Hong Kong on Tuesday at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in the final round of Group C.
Sealing a last-16 spot for the first time ever, the victory was historic as the national team played against the backdrop of a genocidal war.
According to Palestine’s captain Musab Al-Battat, it was a performance that showed the world that his team is among the best in the continent.
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“We wanted to deliver a message to the world that we have a right to participate in every major football tournament, and not just for the sake of participation, but to show our skills,” Al-Battats said in his post-match news conference.