Qatar upset Japan 3-1 to claim first Asian Cup title

Qatar upset Japan 3-1 to claim first Asian Cup title

Qatar upset Japan 3-1 to claim first Asian Cup title

The Asian Cup was lifted by Qatar for the first time on Friday after a series of victories on the field just as improbable as winning the vote in 2010 that secured the Federation Internationale de Football Association showpiece for the small, super-rich Gulf nation.

Amidst political tension and in the aftermath of Qatar players being pelted with plastic bottles and shoes in the semifinal, the hosts United Arab Emirates have chose to protest eligibility of two Qatari players.

Qatar coach Felix Sanchez, however, insisted the 2022 World Cup hosts were confident ahead of the country's first appearance in the final after comfortably winning all six of their matches and keeping a record six clean sheets.

Qatar is due to play Japan on Friday in its first-ever Asian Cup final.

"I hope that today's result makes the younger players hungry for success".

"It's probably one of the hardest defeats of my career", said Yoshida, who was wrong-footed by Ali for Qatar's first goal as the Sudan-born striker produced an outrageous overhead volley to become the first player to score nine goals at a single Asian Cup. Winning a championship with the national team has a different emotion to it.

Ali, who graduated from Qatar's Aspire Academy, said the next step he wanted to take in his career was a move to a European club.

The world can learn a lot from Japan, especially when it comes to cleanliness, courtesy and politeness.

Qatar survived a wobble at two-nil when Takumi Minamino pulled one back on 69 minutes, only for Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov to award the Maroons a penalty on video review for a handball by Japan captain Maya Yoshida.

Coaxed back by coach Carlos Queiroz for the Asian Cup, the 24-year-old Rubin Kazan forward - dubbed the "Iranian Messi" - quickly rediscovered his mojo, scoring four goals before the tournament favourites were derailed by Japan in the semi-finals.

"[Their performance was] not a surprise for me, we knew Qatar can have a tight defence and strength in attack", said beaten Japanese coach Hajime Moriyasu. Yes, he got these because of the group but he also worked really well.

"We're very proud of him". They were in line to make the quarters before Belgium won the thrilling encounter 3-2 in Rostov.

The title raised the beguiling possibility of Qatar being crowned champions of both Asia and South America, when they compete at the Copa America as guests in June-July.

It's just seven months since Japan matched their best ever finish at a World Cup as they reached the last 16 in Russian Federation, reconfirming their status as their Asia's top side.

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