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Four ‘Belgian’ players and the North Korean Luis Suárez: what you need to know about the Asia Cup
Foreign Football This afternoon (17.00 hrs) begins in the seventeenth edition of the Asia Cup with the openingsduel between host country United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. A tournament with little-known players, but still a tournament with a number of interesting aspects. In this preview, we take the 24 participating countries under the microscope.

The Asia Cup begins so soon, the final is on Friday 1 February. There are eight stadiums in the United Arab Emirates which will be played: three in Abu Dhabi, two in Dubai, two in Al Ain and one in Sharjah. In the past four editions of the tournament there were always 16 countries are participating, now that for the first time 24. Are there less than 16 to the eighth-finals: the top two countries from each pool and the four best numbers three.

Poule A

In pool A is the host country United Arab Emirates the favourite for the group's profit, because they take in the group stage against voetbaldwergen Bahrain, Thailand and India. In the host member state is missing star player and tastemaker Omar Abdulrahman after he in October his cruciate ligament tore, but his brothers Amer and Mohamed are of the party. Furthermore, the host country with strikers Ali Mabkhout (46 goals in 73 international matches), Ahmed Khalil (46 goals in 99 international matches) and Ismail Matar (42 goals in 123 international matches) over a lot of speed, focus and experience. Of the 92 players in the group play there than 88 up at a club in their own country. Chanathip Songkrasin (Thailand), Sayed Baqer, Sayed Dhiya Saeed, and Abdullah Yusuf Helal (all Bahrain) are the four exceptions, but these names, you may quickly forget. India's captain Sunil Chhetri, good for 65 goals in 104 international matches, still a player to keep an eye out.

Poule B

In pool B begins Australia the tournament as the defending champion. The Socceroos did in 2006, the switch from Oceania to Asia, looking for something more opposition than against countries like Tonga, Tuvalu and Tahiti. Four years ago, this resulted in the profit of the Asia Cup on home soil, after in 2011 Japan was lost in the final.

the Australia coach Graham Arnold (ex-Roda and NAC) Mathew Ryan (Brighton), Danny Vukovic (Racing Genk), Tom Rogic (Celtic) and Massimo Luongo (QPR) is the most famous names. Aaron Mooy is missing because of a knee injury, while all-time leading scorer Tim Cahill (50 goals in 108 international matches) in november stopped if international. Australia plays in group B against Jordan, Palestine and Syria.

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