‘Group E’ Consists of West Asian giants Saudi Arabia 2022 World Cup host Qatar, Lebanon and DPR Korea. We take a closer look at all four teams and their chances in the AFC Asian Cup.
Saudi Arabia are clear favourites to qualify as group toppers followed by 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar. Lebanon and North Korea who were part of the same group in Asian Cup Qualifiers will be contending for the 3rd place.
Saudi Arabia may not have had a great World Cup but their possession based football was something that had caught eye of many especially in their 2-1 victory over Egypt. They are managed by 2016 Copa America winning manager Juan Antonio Pizzi.
Saudi Arabia have gone for a more younger squad compared to the world cup with more technically superior players. One thing that might affect their chances of winning the competition is the lack of proper goalscorer.
Expected Formation: 4-3-3 ( False 9)
Key Players: Salem Al-Dawsari, Fahad Al-Muwallad
Qatar’s Football is under a lot of pressure from the media. The Qatari side over the years have hardly shown any quality of team that wants to play in the World Cup. The Félix Sánchez Bas managed side will look at this competition to prove their worth.
They have had a good 2018 with wins over Bolivia and Switzerland and draw against Iceland.
Expected Formation: 4-3-3
Key Players: Almoez Ali, Boualem Khouki
Lebanese Football is in a rise, They are ranked 81 in the world and had an amazing qualification round which included a 5-0 trashing of North Korea who are also present in this group.
They are known for their productive counter attacking football under Miodrag Radulović who has been incharge of the team for four years. They are not some team to be taken lightly and can get results even against likes of Saudi and Qatar on their day.
Expected Formation: 3-4-3
Key Players: Mehdi Khalil, Hassan Maatouk
There is not much known about North Korean football. They qualified for 2010 World Cup and are a country who dominate youth football in Asia. The lack of a proper competitive league is what lets them down when the players transition from youth to senior level.
They are certainly the weakest side in this group and suffered a 5-0 defeat against Lebanon in qualification. Considering their history and dominance at youth level they are someone who must not be written of.
Expected Formation: 4-5-1
Key Players: Ri Myong-guk, Jong Il-gwan