Every Asian Cup Team's Chances Summarised In A Sentence

The Asian Cup starts this weekend in the UAE and the Socceroos are defending champs. Here's a super quick rundown of each team's chances.

Group A


They've made the Asian Cup semis before, but the world's 110th-ranked team with its Czech coach can expect to check out of this tournament early.

Our tip: round of 16


They're smashing Australia in the cricket, but the 97th-ranked nation won't be doing that here.

Our tip: out in the group stage


They drew with the Socceroos at home in World Cup qualification, but that was a very good day and FIFA's 118th-ranked team doesn't have very many of those.

Our tip: Round of 16

United Arab Emirates

Tough to beat at home, the hosts have actually impressed in international football in recent years, and knocked out heavyweights Japan in 2015.

Our tip: quarter finals

We found this cool pic of the Dubai skyline in fog and we thought it would be more interesting than one of the host country's football stadiums. (Image AAP)


No Mooy or Arzani for the defending champs, but a solid defence with Sainsbury and Ryan, and sound lead-up form with a 5-0 win over Oman will give hope our goal-scoring problems are behind us in the first major tournament of coach Graham Arnold's current tenure.

Our tip: semi finals


Twice quarter finalists, the team nicknamed "The Chivalrous" will do the chivalrous thing and lose to Australia, but should do enough to account for others in the group.

Our tip: round of 16


They're improving as a football power, they're at their second Asian Cup, and they'll have massive crowd support from locals in the Gulf region, but good stories only get you so far in sport.

Our tip: out in the group stage


The Syrians are 77th on the official FIFA rankings, which is pretty amazing given the ongoing turmoil at home, if they can show the same resilience they did against Australia in 2017's World Cup playoff they could surprise a few .

Our tip: quarter finals

Syrian football pitches aren't the best, but their players play on regardless, and we salute them for it (Image AAP).


1.4 billion people, vast footballing academies, and a complete lack of success at football's highest levels, although that might finally change here, thanks mainly to forward Wu Lei, the top scorer in last season's Chinese Super League (CSL).

Our tip: quarter finals

South Korea

They boast arguably the best player in the tournament in Son-Heung-min and will be looking to avenge their defeat in the 2015 final.

Our tip: winners


The 91st-ranked FIFA nation is heading to its first ever Asian Cup and can expect a short stay.

Our tip: out in the group stage


They're coached by Sven Goran Eriksson, who was once in charge of England, but they've left out their highest profile player, Neil Etheridge of the English Premier League's Cardiff City, so they're basically here for the shopping.

Our tip: Round of 16

China don't have the best team but their fans are world class. (Image AAP)


They performed well at last year's FIFA World Cup, they've got a well-drilled defensive line and an EPL winger in Alireza Jahanbakhsh, and they're the highest FIFA-ranked team in the tournament, at 29.

Our tip: semi finals


They improbably won this event in 2007 despite their country being in the midst of war, but that was then and this is now and the 88th-ranked FIFA team is running on dreams but little else.

Our tip: round of 16


The "Golden Dragons" are FIFA's 100th-ranked team and will crash and burn like a dragon with a broken wing.

Our tip: out at the group stage


They're at their first Asian Cup, which is all very nice and sweet, but we really have no idea how the 135th-ranked team got here, and the best thing we can say in their favour is that they'll have a short trip home after their early exit.

Our tip: out at the group stage

Iraqi supporters celebrate victory in 2007. We still can't believe this happened. (Image AAP)

North Korea

North Korea made the World Cup quarter finals in 1966, which is a cool piece of history, but we expect no more history here, despite having 20-year-old Kwang-Son-Han in their line-up, who plays in Italy's second division.

Our tip: round of 16.


"The Cedars" are named after Lebanon's most famous tree, which is cool, but we doubt very much that they'll branch out beyond the group stage in their first Asian Cup since 2000 -- despite a 15 game unbeaten streak between 2016 and 2018.

Our tip: round of 16.


The 2022 World Cup host gets free entry into that tournament and wants to put some results on the board, although we're not quite sure FIFA's 93rd-ranked team is capable of that.

Our tip: out at the group stage

Saudi Arabia

Asian footballing royalty, three Asian Cups to their name, but not quite the force they were, expect a decent run but no silverware.

Our Tip: Quarter Finals

An artist's impression of a stadium for World Cup 2022. Fancier than the Qatar team that's for sure. (Image AAP)


One of the most consistent and certainly one of the best footballing nations in Asia. Left behind a couple of their older stars but should still do very well.

Our Tip: finalists


The subject of a 5-0 thrashing by the Socceroos in the lead up tournament  and are probably set for an early exit.

Our Tip: group stage


Won four of their last five matches in the lead up to the tournament, but probably won't make it out of the group. 

Our Tip: group stage


Have gained some solid results this year, and could cause a couple of upsets, will be relying on captain, Odil Akhmedov to shore up the defence.

Our Tip: Round of 16