UAE 2019 Final Four confirmed
Abu Dhabi: The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 final four line-up has been confirmed, with host nation United Arab Emirates joined by former winners Japan and Islamic Republic of Iran and first-time semi-finalists Qatar.
With the remaining teams all having proven their quality, the scene is now set for two mouth-watering semi-finals, with the winners to progress to the AFC Asian Cup Final at Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City Stadium on February 1.
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Who, when, where?
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN v JAPAN Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain - 18:00, January 28
With seven AFC Asian Cup titles between them, the first semi-final brings together two of the competition's most successful ever sides.
Four-time champions Japan have been the competition's dominant team in the modern era, lifting the trophy in 2000, 2004 and 2011 after breaking through for the maiden crown in 1992, while three-time winners Iran haven't held the crown since 1976.
With both sides yet to taste defeat so far in the UAE, something has to give in Al Ain, and football fans are already anticipating what looms as an instant classic between Carlos Queiroz's Team Melli and Hajime Moriyasu's Samurai Blue.
Despite their proud records in the AFC Asian Cup, the two sides have only met twice in the competition. They played out a scoreless draw in Doha in 1988, while a goal from a youthful Kazuyoshi Miura sealed a 1-0 win for Japan in Hiroshima four years later.
QATAR v UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi - 18:00, January 29
Five straight wins, including three in a row against former champions, have rocketed Qatar to the final four for the first time in history, while Alberto Zaccheroni's United Arab Emirates side continues to gather steam when it counts most.
Having beaten Korea Republic and Australia in their respective semi-finals, Qatar and United Arab Emirates are now potentially 180 minutes away from becoming Asian champions, a title neither has ever held.
Felix Sanchez's Qatar side boast seven-goal tournament scoring leader Almoez Ali, while the Emiratis feature Ali Mabkhout, who won Golden Boot at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia, and has aleady found the back of the net four times in this tournament.
The nations have previously met four times in the Continental Finals, winning twice each, with a Mabkhout-inspired United Arab Emirates prevailing 4-1 in their last meeting in this competition in Canberra four years ago.
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