Explore Asia Cup 2024 with top contenders, dark horses, and outsider insights. Unveil winner odds and predictions for this football extravaganza.
The 18th edition of the Asian Cup, set to unfold in Qatar, has football enthusiasts eagerly awaiting the excitement, drama, and surprises that inevitably accompany such prestigious tournaments. In this preview, we delve into the teams poised to make an impact, exploring the favourites, dark horses, and those considered outsiders, revealing the odds and predictions that set the stage for this highly anticipated event.
Asian Nations Cup Favourites:
With an illustrious history, Japan eyes an unprecedented fifth Asian Cup title. Under the leadership of coach Hajime Moriyasu, they fielded a formidable squad, having showcased their strength in the recent World Cup, including victories against football giants Germany and Spain.
South Korea (9/2)
Boasting arguably the best starting XI in Asia, South Korea, led by Jurgen Klinsmann, enters the tournament with key players such as Kim Min-jae, Son Heung-min, and Hwang Hee-chan in stellar form. Despite not securing an Asian Cup title since 1960, they remain strong contenders with a chance to rewrite history.
Graham Arnold’s Australia, fresh from an impressive World Cup showing in Qatar, faces the challenge of adapting to a partially revamped squad. Their ability to navigate through sturdy defences will be a pivotal factor in their Asian Cup journey.
A three-time continental champion, Iran, managed by Amir Ghalenoei, seeks to end a title drought dating back to 1976. Ghalenoei, with a commendable record of 10 victories in 12 matches, leads a team poised for success, yet they must prove their mettle in the pressure-packed knockout rounds.
Saudi Arabia (8/1)
Backed by enthusiastic support in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, guided by Roberto Mancini, enters the competition with one of the tournament’s top managers. While Mancini faces challenges, their memorable victory against future World Cup champions Argentina adds to their credentials.
The surprise winners in 2019, Qatar, facing managerial changes, benefit from the advantage of playing on home soil. Topping Group A would set them on a favourable path to the semi-finals.
United Arab Emirates (25/1)
Securing the expertise of former South Korea and Portugal coach Paulo Bento, the UAE brings Ali Mabkhout into the limelight. Despite the likely challenge of facing Japan in the quarter-finals, they aim for a commendable performance.
Once hailed as a footballing powerhouse, China enters the tournament with a less formidable group, including matchups against Qatar, Tajikistan, and Lebanon. Wu Lei spearheads their campaign, offering potential for surprises.
Recent victories against the UAE and China position Oman as potential outsiders. While reaching the later stages might be a stretch, a resilient performance aiming for the last 16 seems well within their grasp.
The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict casts a sombre backdrop, but the Palestine national team, determined to make their country proud, fields a talented squad. Holding Saudi Arabia to a 0-0 draw in a warm-up friendly showcases their defensive prowess, making them a team not to be underestimated.
As the Asian Cup unfolds, the stage is set for an enthralling journey filled with captivating matchups, unexpected triumphs, and the crowning of a new champion. The football world eagerly awaits the spectacle that is the Asian Cup 2024.