AFC Asian Cup: Qatar & Tajikistan First Teams To Qualify For Knockouts

Qatar and Tajikistan became the first two teams to qualify to the knockout stage of the AFC Asian Cup with wins on Monday, Jan 22. Qatar ended up on top of Group A with 9 points from their three wins. Tajikistan ended on four points which was enough to put them ahead of China and Lebanon.

The top two from each of the six groups qualify automatically but along with them the four best third-placed teams will advance. 

China still has a small chance to make it to the knockout stage but will require a number of fixtures to go their way. They will be disappointed with their performance in the tournament thus far, failing to score in any of their three matches.Β 

AFC Asian Cup: Group Stage Standings

With only one match left to be played by most teams, everything is one the line in the next couple days. Let’s take a look at the current standings to see where teams stand.

Group A


The only group to finish its matches, Group A has Qatar and Tajikistan advancing as the top two of the group. Lebanon has been eliminated from the tournament while China will wait on results from other groups.

AFC Asian Cup Hasan Al Haydos, wearing the number 10 jersey for Qatar, is celebrating a goal with his teammates during the AFC Asian Cup 2023 match
IMAGO / NurPhoto

Group B


Australia have been dominant in their two wins, not allowing a goal against both India and Syria. They will face their toughest test so far with their final match against Uzbekistan. Syria will need a win against India and Uzbekistan to lose to have a chance of making the top two.Β 

Group C

United Arab Emirates1104
Hong Kong0020

In a similar setup to Group C, Iran and United Arab Emirates will play each other to see who tops the group. If UAE win, Palestine will be left out of the top 2, even with a win in their final match against Hong Kong.

Group D


After a big upset win over Japan, Iraq stands at the top of Group D with one match to go. They will face Vietnam, while Japan and Indonesia will battle it out for the second place position in the group. 

Japan came into the tournament as frontrunners to take home the title. An exit in the group stage would be an extremely disappointing outcome for the past champions.

Group E

South Korea1104

Group E is arguably the closest, with three teams within 1 point of each other. Jordan is currently in first place but could possibly be left out of the top 2 with a loss to Bahrain and a win by South Korea. If South Korea ties or wins their game against Malaysia they will be through.

Bahrain will need to win against Jordan to advance as one of the top two from the group.

Group F

Saudi Arabia2006

Saudi Arabia remains undefeated in the tournament, after beating both Kyrgyzstan and Oman. They will face Thailand in their final game, which will decide who tops the group. Even with a loss however, both teams are likely to make it to the next round based on points.

Oman needs to beat Kyrgyzstan and a Saudi win over Oman to have any chances of making through as one of the top 2.