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World Cup Finals Blog Home: World Football: Football in Asia: Asian Cup

From its humble beginnings in 1956, the AFC Asian Cup has developed into the continent’s premier football tournament.

Quick Links

Hong Kong 1956, South Korea 1960, Israel 1964, Iran 1968, Thailand 1972, Iran 1976, Kuwait 1980, Singapore 1984, Qatar 1988, Japan 1992, United Arab Emirates 1996, Lebanon 2000, China 2004, Asian Cup 2007, Qatar 2011.

AFC Challenge Cup.

Asian Cup - Hosts and Winners

Travel to Hong Kong Hong Kong 1956 (Winner: South Korea)

Having played an important role in the formation of the AFC in 1954, Hong Kong was awarded the rights to host the inaugural Asian Cup tournament two years later.

Runner-up: Israel.

Travel to South Korea South Korea 1960 - Winner: South Korea (Round-Robin)

Defending champions South Korea hosted the second Asian Cup in 1960 and earned an automatic berth in the final rounds in Seoul.

Runner-up: Israel.

Travel to Israel Israel 1964 - Winner: Israel (Round-Robin)

Having finished runners-up to South Korea at the two previous tournaments, Israel finally claimed the Asian Cup for themselves; at the third attempt.

Runner-up: India.

Travel to Iran Iran 1968 - Winner: Iran (Round-Robin)

The final rounds of the 1968 Asian Cup marked the last time that the final round of the competition was played on a round-robin league basis and saw the emergence of Iran as a continental football force.

Runner-up: Burma.

Travel to Thailand Thailand 1972 - Winner: Iran (2:1aet)

The fifth edition of the Asian Cup featured a host of new participants with Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Syria taking part in the qualifying competition for the first time.

Runner-up: South Korea.

Travel to Iran Iran 1976 - Winner: Iran (1:0)

A record 17 countries participated in the qualifying tournament including first-timers China, Saudi Arabia and DPR Korea, all of whom qualified for the final round.

Saudi Arabia and North Korea withdrew from the finals along with Thailand, while Lebanon gave up its hosting rights due to the outbreak of civil war in the country.

Runner-up: Kuwait.

Travel to Kuwait Kuwait 1980 - Winner: Kuwait (3:0)

Once again, 17 teams took part in the regional qualifiers, battling for the right to join defending champions Iran and hosts Kuwait in the finals.

Runner-up: South Korea.

Travel to Singapore Singapore 1984 - Winner: Saudi Arabia (2:0)

The qualifying rounds featured 21 teams, who were split into four qualifying groups. Iran and Syria took the two spots on offer in Group 1, in Jakarta; Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates topped Group 2, in Jeddah; Korea Republic and India came through Group 3, in Calcutta; while China and Qatar emerged from Group 4, in Guangzhou.

Runner-up: China.

Travel to Qatar Qatar 1988 - Winner: Saudi Arabia (0:0 4:3pen)

The competition followed a similar format to the two previous competitions as eight teams progressed from the four qualifying round groups to join hosts Qatar and defending champions Saudi Arabia in the final round.

Runner-up: South Korea.

Travel to Japan Japan 1992 - Winner: Japan (1:0)

The qualifiers saw 20 competing teams split into six groups with only the top team from each section going through to the finals, to join defending champions Saudi Arabia and hosts Japan in the final round in Hiroshima.

Runner-up: Saudi Arabia.

Travel to United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 1996 - Winner: Saudi Arabia (0:0 4:2pen)

The final round of the Asian Cup grew to 12 teams as Saudi Arabia reclaimed the continental crown; winning the final in another penalty shootout in Abu Dhabi.

Runner-up: United Arab Emirates.

Travel to Lebanon Lebanon 2000 - Winner: Japan (1:0)

A record 42 teams took part in the competition with 10 teams advancing from the qualifying competition to join champions Saudi Arabia and hosts Lebanon in the finals.

Runner-up: Saudi Arabia.

Travel to China China 2004 - Winner: Japan (3:1)

For the first time, the qualification tournament was split into two stages as over 40 countries battled for the 14 spots on offer in China.

Runner-up: China.

Travel to Indonesia Travel to Malaysia Travel to Thailand Travel to Vietnam Asian Cup 2007 - Winner: Iraq (1:0)

The AFC Asian Cup 2007 marked the first time that the final rounds of a major international football competition were co-hosted by four countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Runner-up: Saudi Arabia.

Travel to Qatar Qatar 2011 - Winner: Japan (1:0 aet)

Runner-up: Australia.

Iraq, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, the top three teams at the 2007 Asian Cup, and the 2011 hosts Qatar qualified automatically; along with the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup winners (India) and 2010 Challenge Cup winners (North Korea).

Group A:
Uzbekistan, Qatar, China, Kuwait.

Group B:
Japan, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia.

Group C:
Australia, South Korea, Bahrain, India.

Group D:
Iran, Iraq, North Korea, United Arab Emirates.

Travel to Australia Australia 2015

Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium), Canberra (Skilled Stadium), Gold Coast (Skilled Stadium), Melbourne (Etihad Stadium and AAMI Park) and Sydney (ANZ Stadium, Sydney Football Stadium and Parramatta Stadium) have been proposed as possible venues for the tournament; with Sydney’s ANZ Stadium strongly tipped to host the final match.

AFC Challenge Cup

The AFC Challenge Cup was introduced as a competition for the emerging nations in Asia.

Travel to Bangladesh Bangladesh 2006

Tajikistan beat Sri Lanka (4:0) in the final.

Kyrgyzstan finished 3rd and Nepal 4th.

Travel to India India 2008

India beat Tajikistan (4:1) in the final.

North Korea beat Myanmar (4:0) for third place.

Travel to Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 2010

After drawing the final match (1:1), North Korea beat Turkmenistan (5:4) on penalties.

Tajikistan beat Myanmar (1:0) for third place.

Travel to Nepal Nepal 2012

Qualified for the March 3-18 finals.

Group A: Palestine and Philippines.
Group B: India and Turkmenistan.
Group C: Maldives and Tajikistan.
Group D: North Korea and Nepal.

Asian Countries, Football Federations and Associations.

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