The 2023 Asian Cup tournament comes to a close with a mouth-watering grand finale between two nations standing on the precipice of history – Jordan and Qatar.
Saturday’s cracking showpiece could see Jordan secure the crown in their maiden final appearance, while Qatar aims to become only the second nation this century to claim back-to-back continental glory.
Jordan were massive underdogs heading into the tournament and only made it to the knockout phase as one of the best third-place teams in the group stage, having finished third in Group E.
However, their journey to Lusail Stadium has been nothing short of remarkable, losing just one of their six games (D4, D1) en route to the grand finale.
Jordan upset the odds by overcoming pre-tournament favourites South Korea 2-0 in the semi-final, and whatever the outcome of Saturday’s highly anticipated showdown, it has already been a historic Asian Cup appearance for the Brave Gentlemen.
Meanwhile, host nation Qatar were involved in a heart-stopping semi-final clash against Iran in a match that went down to the wire.
However, the 2019 champions ultimately triumphed 3-2 to advance to the final, extending their hopes of becoming the first nation to successfully defend the crown since Japan in 2004.
Qatar have enjoyed a dominant run to the final, emerging victorious in each of their Asian Cup contests, although they needed a closely contested penalty shoot-out to defeat Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals.
That winning streak will face the ultimate test at Lusai Stadium as they battle Jordan, who have already demonstrated their king-slaying abilities en route to the final.
Jordan vs Qatar head-to-head
Jordan and Qatar will trade tackles in the Asian Cup for the first time, but both sides are familiar foes, having locked horns nine times across all competitions in recent history.
Qatar are historically dominant in these meetings, winning six times, compared to Jordan’s meagre two wins (D1). But the Brave Gentlemen were victorious in the most recent clash between both sides.
However, Qatar came out on top the last time they faced Jordan in the Asian Games, running out 2-0 winners at the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Championship final.
Jordan have their 4-0 win over Malaysia in the curtain raiser and the subsequent 2-2 draw against South Korea to thank for earning a spot in the knockout rounds.
Even though they came agonisingly close to snatching a group stage win over Son Heung-Min and co, they failed to follow up that performance against Bahrain, falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat.
However, they’ve picked themselves up since that narrow loss against the Group E winners. Their run in the knockout stage featured close shaves against Iran and Tajikistan before a comprehensive win over South Korea at the second time of asking.
Jordan have been the surprise package of the tournament thus far and will fancy their chances of dethroning Qatar on their own perch.
Their lack of experience may ultimately be their own undoing, but they’ll back themselves to cause Qatar plenty of problems, given the hosts have conceded at least once in all three of their knockout matches.
Qatar are overwhelming favourites to clinch the 2023 Asian Cup title, and their emphatic winning run to the final underscores those sentiments.
However, they’d be naive to underestimate the Jordanians, who have shown neither fear nor respect when coming up against the top guns.
This shouldn’t even be a closely fought encounter on paper, but it wouldn’t be a walk in the park for the reigning champions who have one foot in the history books.
Qatar have the wind in their sails following their dramatic semi-final win and will back themselves to join Iran (1976), Saudi Arabia (1988) and Japan (2004) as the only nations to successfully defend the crown.
Jordan v Qatar predicted line-ups
Jordan (3-4-2-1): Yazeed Abulaila; Abdallah Nasib, Yazan Al-Arab, Baraa Marei; Ehsan Haddad, Nizar Mahmoud Al-Rashdan, Noor Al-Rawabdeh, Mohammad Ali Hasheesh; Mousa Al-Taamari, Mahmoud Al-Mardi; Yazan Al-Naimat.
Qatar (4-4-2): Meeshal Aissa Barsham; Pedro Miguel, Lucas Mendes, Boualem Khoukhi, Mohammed Waad; Jassem Gaber Abdulsallam, Ahmed Fathy, Hassan Al-Haydos, Homam Ahmed; Almoez Ali, Akram Afif.
How to Watch?
Viewers in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland can catch the final on TrillerTV+.
Multiple live football streaming platforms are also available to supporters, providing real-time access to the showpiece finale regardless of your geographical location.
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