Qatar has joined a growing list of recent tournament winners - like Chile, Portugal and France - that functioned almost solely as the reactive team.
2019 ScheduleAll times ET
Qatar claimed their first Asian Cup triumph with a stunning 3-1 win over four-times champions Japan on Friday.
A Bundesliga winner with Dortmund in 2011 and 2012, the 29-year-old Japan international was originally signed for €350,000 from Cerezo Osaka.
The last time Japan became AFC champions, Shinji Kagawa was the toast of Asia. Now, the 29-year-old will be watching the Asian Cup final from home.
Yuya Osako scored twice in 11 second-half minutes to help four-times champions Japan beat Iran and reach the Asian Cup final.
Maty Ryan earned champions Australia a quarterfinal place in the Asian Cup on Monday as he made two saves in a shootout to see off Uzbekistan.
Japan are out to win their group in the Asian Cup, but not due to any fear of meeting defending champions Australia in the knockout stage.
Sunil Chhetri's popularity, Pakistani food in Abu Dhabi and an Iraqi fan's journey feature in our Asian Cup diaries.
While the newly-expanded Asian Cup format will have 24 teams, expect to see one of the traditional powerhouses lift the trophy in Abu Dhabi.
Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa were omitted from Japan's 23-man squad for the 2019 Asian Cup.
Venezuela captain Tomas Rincon's penalty nine minutes from full-time earned a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Japan in Oita on Friday.
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu remains undefeated after five games in charge following a 4-0 rout of Kyrgyzstan in Toyota City on Tuesday.
Japan made it three wins out of three under new coach Hajime Moriyasu with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Uruguay in a friendly on Tuesday night.
Hajime Moriyasu continued his winning start to life as Japan coach as the four-times Asian champions beat Panama 3-0 in a friendly on Friday.
Keisuke Honda has called for an overhaul of the coaching license pathway into management, advocating a written test for potential new coaches.
Chile's national team has posted a message on social media reassuring fans back home that everyone is safe following the 6.7 earthquake in Sapporo.
All able-bodied South Korean men must complete 21 months military service but exemptions are offered to athletes who win gold at the Asian Games.
The 32-year-old, who is expected to arrive in Melbourne next week, shapes as the new focal point in a retooled attack for the defending champions.
Honda, 32, announced his retirement from the national team last month after playing at his third World Cup and helping Japan reach the second round.
Newcastle United have signed Japan forward Yoshinori Muto from Mainz on a four-year contract, the Premier League side announced on Thursday.
Japan forward Yoshinori Muto is set to join Newcastle United from Mainz after the clubs struck a deal and the player agreed terms and had a medical.
Wenger, who spent 18 months in Japan, had been linked with the national team role when Akira Nishino was replaced by Hajime Moriyasu.
Wenger spent time in Japan before moving to Arsenal in 1996, but the national body is looking to hire a domestic manager.
John Duerden takes a look at lessons all the AFC nations learned from the 2018 World Cup and what needs to be done in the coming weeks and months.
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