x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

2019 Asian Cup Group B: Teams, fixtures and key players

A breakdown of the teams in Group B – defending champions Australia, Jordan, Palestine and Syria – and what we can expect from each at the January 5-February 1 tournament

Australia are the defending AFC Asian Cup champions and begin their title defence against Jordan in Al Ain on Sunday. AFP
Australia are the defending AFC Asian Cup champions and begin their title defence against Jordan in Al Ain on Sunday. AFP

Australia

Fifa world ranking: 41

Ranking in Asia: 2

Previous Asian Cups: 3

Best Asian Cup performance: Champions (2015)

2015 Asian Cup: Champions

Nickname: Socceroos

Manager: Graham Arnold

Captain: Mark Milligan

Player to watch: Martin Boyle

Fixtures: January 6 v Jordan (Al Ain); January 11 v Palestine (Dubai); January 15 v Syria (Al Ain)

A new-look Australia will seek the consolation of a successful Asian Cup title defence after their disappointing group stage exit from the World Cup this year.

Under Bert van Marwijk, the Socceroos bowed out of Russia winless and with only two goals from penalties, underlining the team's struggles to score against quality defences.

New manager Graham Arnold, in his second stint in charge, has shaken up the team's attacking formation. He has opted for a trio of interchangeable strikers up front rather than a traditional centre forward.

Vital Borkelmans was appointed Jordan manager this year, so he has had very little time to prepare them for the Asian Cup. Vincent van Doornick / Getty Images
Vital Borkelmans was appointed Jordan manager this year, so he has had very little time to prepare them for the Asian Cup. Vincent van Doornick / Getty Images

Jordan

Fifa world ranking: 109

Ranking in Asia: 19

Previous Asian Cups: 3

Best Asian Cup performance: Quarter-finals (2004, 2011)

2015 Asian Cup: Group stage

Nickname: The Chivalrous

Manager: Vital Borkelmans

Captain: Amer Shafi

Player to watch: Munther Abu Amarah

Fixtures: January 9 v Australia (Al Ain); January 10 v Syria (Al Ain); January 15 v Palestine (Abu Dhabi)

Jordan will be looking to have a similar impact to the one on their Asian Cup debut in 2004, when the country pushed defending champions Japan to the brink of elimination in the quarter-finals.

New manager Vital Borkelmans has had limited time with his team, who have been handed a difficult draw. But, having defeated Australia earlier in qualifying, the west Asian nation will be confident their robust football will pay dividends.

_____________

Read more on 2019 Asian Cup:

2019 Asian Cup: Groups, teams, tickets and all you need to know

Bernd Stange counting on Syria fans to carry team through 2019 Asian Cup group phase

Jan Kocian wants Yemen to dream of big victories at 2019 Asian Cup

Aref Al Awani: Legacy for UAE football will come from Asian Cup

Celtic asked that he be rested: Arnold on why Rogic did not play for Australia against Oman

Sven-Goran Eriksson's New Year wish to grow interest in football in Philippines

In pictures: Australia thrash Oman 5-0 in Dubai friendly ahead of 2019 Asian Cup

_____________

Abdelatif Bahdari, right, and his Palestine side have qualified for the Asian Cup for the second tournament in a row. AFP
Abdelatif Bahdari, right, and his Palestine side have qualified for the Asian Cup for the second tournament in a row. AFP

Palestine

Fifa world ranking: 99

Ranking in Asia: 16

Previous Asian Cups: 1

Best Asian Cup performance: Group stage (2015)

2015 Asian Cup: Group stage

Nickname: The Knights

Manager: Noureddine Ould Ali

Captain: Abdelatif Bahdari

Player to watch: Abdelatif Bahdari

Fixtures: January 6 v Syria (Sharjah); January 11 v Australia (Dubai); January 15 v Jordan (Abu Dhabi)

Palestine have qualified for the Asian Cup for the second tournament in a row after securing their spot at the 2015 finals by winning the AFC Challenge Cup in the Maldives a year earlier.

This time the west Asian side have progressed through the regular qualifying campaign and will hope to have shaken off the issues that hampered them late in the campaign.

Bolivian manager Julio Cesar Baldevisieo controversially replaced Abdel Nasser Barakat, only to be fired himself and replaced by Noureddine Ould Ali.

Syria all but qualified for the 2018 World Cup after mounting a brilliant campaign. Mohd Rasfan / AFP
Syria all but qualified for the 2018 World Cup after mounting a brilliant campaign. Mohd Rasfan / AFP

Syria

Fifa world ranking: 74

Ranking in Asia: 6

Previous Asian Cups: 5

Best Asian Cup performance: Group stage (1980, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2011)

2015 Asian Cup: Did not qualify

Nickname: Qasioun Eagles

Manager: Bernd Stange

Captain: Omar Al Somah

Player to watch: Omar Kharbin

Fixtures: January 6 v Palestine (Sharjah); January 10 v Jordan (Al Ain); January 15 v Australia (Al Ain)

Bernd Stange has one goal above all others when he leads Syria to the finals of the Asian Cup next month - to put a smile back on the faces of the country's war-ravaged people.

The veteran German manager was lured out of retirement this year to take charge of the Syrians as they seek to build on their remarkable run to the verge of qualifying for their first World Cup finals last year.

While a play-off loss at the hands of Australia ended those hopes, the 70 year old is hoping to revive memories of that campaign at the continental championship in January.

______________

More on 2019 Asian Cup:

Football fans attending AGL games to get tickets to 2019 Asian Cup matches

In pictures: Syria's footballers get big reception in Sharjah ahead of Asian Cup

Al Ain's Fifa Club World Cup success can be inspiration for UAE at Asian Cup

Sunil Chhetri's India first team to arrive in UAE for next month's Asian Cup

Asian Cup arrives in the UAE: Emirates flies trophy from Japan to Dubai

Lowdown on 2019 Asian Cup being hosted by UAE in January-February

Omar Abdulrahman injury hits UAE hard and deprives event of a star

Updated: January 1, 2019 10:37 AM

SHARE

SHARE

Editors Picks