The 2023 AFC Asian Cup will be the 18th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Asia organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It will involve 24 national teams after expansion in 2019, with Qatar as the defending champions.
On 17 October 2022, the AFC announced that the tournament will be held in Qatar. Due to the high summer temperatures in the Persian Gulf and Qatar's participation in the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the tournament was postponed to 12 January – 10 February 2024.
China was announced as the winning bid on 4 June 2019, just prior to the 69th FIFA Congress in Paris, France. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held from 16 June to 16 July 2023. On 14 May 2022, the AFC announced that China would not host the tournament due to the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and China's Zero-COVID policy. Due to China's relinquishment of its hosting rights, the AFC conducted a second round of bidding, with a deadline for submissions scheduled on 17 October 2022. Four nations submitted bids: Australia, Indonesia, Qatar, and South Korea. However, Australia subsequently withdrew in September 2022 and Indonesia on 15 October. On 17 October, the AFC announced that Qatar won the bid and would host the tournament.
Five host cities were submitted in the 2023 bid, including seven stadiums prepared for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. On 5 April 2023, AFC announced eight stadiums across four host cities for the tournament. On 21 August 2023, Lusail Stadium was added as a ninth venue. All but one (Stadium 974) of the host stadiums from the 2022 FIFA World Cup were selected for the tournament, along with Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, which hosted matches during the 2011 edition, and Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, which had not hosted any tournament previously.
Lusail Stadium, Lusail will host the opening match on 12 January. Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and Al Thumama Stadium in Doha will host the semi-finals matches; and Lusail Stadium will host the final which will be held on 10 February.
The first two rounds of qualification also served as the Asian qualification for the 2022 World Cup. Qatar, the host of World Cup participated only in the second round solely to qualification for the 2023 Asian Cup, which they were later selected as hosts for after China withdrew its hosting rights.
The draw was held in Katara Opera House in Doha on 11 May 2023 at 14:00 AST (UTC+3).
Teams were drawn consecutively into Group A to F. For the first time in AFC Asian Cup history, the teams from lowest pots were drawn first but not assigned to the positions of their groups following by number orders of group stage as happened in previous editions. Pot 1 teams were assigned to the first positions of their groups, while next the positions of all other teams were drawn separately from Pot 4 to 2 (for the purposes of determining the match schedules in each group).
The draw resulted in the following groups:
Each team had to register a squad with a minimum of 18 players and a maximum of 23 players, at least three of whom must be goalkeepers.
On 14 September 2023, the AFC announced the list of 33 referees, 37 assistant referees, two stand-by referees and two stand-by assistant referees, including two female referees and three female assistant referees. Video assistant referees (VAR) will also be used for the entire tournament following its implementation from the quarter-final stage onwards in the 2019 edition.
Teams are ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss), and if tied on points, the following tiebreaking criteria are applied, in the order given, to determine the rankings:
The four best third-placed teams from the six groups advance to the knockout stage along with the six group winners and six runners-up.
The specific match-ups involving the third-placed teams depended on which four third-placed teams qualified for the round of 16:
In the knockout stage, extra time and penalty shoot-out were used to decide the winner if necessary.
All times are local, AST (UTC+3).
The official logo and TV opening of the tournament was launched during the final draw on 11 May 2023. The logo features a silhouette of the AFC Asian Cup trophy, with the trophy lines inspired from feathers of a falcon and petals of the lotus flower. The top of the logo is colored in Qatar's national color, maroon, while the logo's tail features an Arabic nuqta.
The tournament's slogan, "Hayya Asia", translating to "Let's go Asia!", was revealed on 5 October 2023 in an event to mark 100 days until the tournament.
The official match ball, the VORTEXAC23, was made by Kelme and unveiled on 10 August 2023. The ball’s design incorporates Qatar’s maroon colours, echoing the nation’s identity, and mirrors the championship’s emblem at its centre. Technical assessments have rigorously tested the ball’s performance, ensuring its durability, quality, and readiness.
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