The 16th annual Asian Football Cup began in Australia on Friday January 9, the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere, The games will take place over 22 days in five cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Newcastle.
Sixteen teams will participate in the games: Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Uzbekistan, North Korea, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait and Oman. The teams will compete in four groups of four and the winner will emerge after 32 games.
Japan, a four-time winner, will defend its title as the current Asian champion. Iran has the next best record with three Asian champion titles. Iran last claimed the top victory back in 1976, when it capped off a three-year streak of wining the Asian Football Cup.
In the current games, Iran is in Group C and will face its three southern neighbours, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.