The iconic Lusail Stadium that hosted the FIFA World Cup final last year will host the opening and final matches of the AFC Asian Cup, the local organising committee announced on Monday.
The tournament will kick off with defending champion Qatar taking on Lebanon in Group A on January 12 while the final is scheduled to be played on February 10. The event will he held across six venues used for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar - Al Bayt, Al Janoub, Al Thumama, Ahmad bin Ali, Education City and Khalifa International. Additionally, Jassim bin Hamad and Abdulla bin Khalifa - home venues for Qatar Stars League teams Al Sadd SC and Al Duhail SC, respectively - will also host matches.
As many as 24 teams will be divided into six groups and three matches will be played everyday during the group stage.
“The match schedule will see some exciting fixtures between Asia’s biggest teams. Once again, our stadiums will come to life with passion and excitement, as spectators from all around the continent will make their way to Qatar for the Asian Cup. We are thrilled to be hosting this prestigious tournament for a third time and are confident that this will be the best edition of the tournament thus far,” said Jassim Al Jassim, CEO of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Local Organizing Committee.
Qatar has previously hosted the tournament in 1988 and 2011 and is the defending champion, having won the 2019 edition.
The top two teams from each group and the four best third-placed teams will advance to the Round of 16.
The Indian team is grouped with 2015 champion Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria in Group B and will begin its campaign against the Socceroos on January 13.
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