Saudi Arabia get tough group for 2019 Asian Cup

Saudi Arabia get tough group for 2019 Asian Cup
Saudi Arabia will be looking for a good World Cup to set them up for a stab at Asian Cup glory next year.
Updated 04 May 2018

Saudi Arabia get tough group for 2019 Asian Cup

Saudi Arabia get tough group for 2019 Asian Cup
  • Green Falcons drawn against Qatar, Lebanon and North Korea.
  • Pizzi's men will be looking to win first Asian Cup since 1996, when the tournament was last held in the UAE.

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia have been drawn alongside Qatar, Lebanon and North Korea in Group B of the 2019 Asian Cup. 
Green Falcons coach Juan Antonio Pizzi was in attendance for the official draw, which took place at the Armani Hotel, in the shadow of Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa. 
Saudi Arabia are three-time Asian Cup champions but have not won the competition since 1996, the last time it was held in the UAE. 
To claim a fourth title, the Green Falcons will first have to engineer a way past Qatar, Lebanon and North Korea.
Then their last-16 opponents would be from Group F, which contains Japan, Uzbekistan, Oman and Turkmenistan.
Saudi Arabia last played Qatar in the final of the 2014 Gulf Cup, losing 2-1 in Riyadh. They have met three times previously in the Asian Cup group stage, all of which finished as draws — in 1984, 1992 and most recently in 2000.
The last competitive meeting between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon was a 2010 World Cup qualifier in Riyadh, which the hosts won 2-1. The two nations more recently played out a 1-1 friendly draw in October 2014 in Jeddah, Omar Othman Hawsawi opening the scoring for the Green Falcons before Hassan Fallatah’s goal earned Lebanon a draw.
North Korea were defeated 4-1 in the group stage in 2005, while Saudi Arabia lost and drew with them during 2010 World Cup qualification.
After failing to progress from their group at the 2011 and 2015 editions of the Asian Cup, expectations will be much higher this time after they qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 12 years.
And with the Asian Cup draw having been made, all attention will be immediately focused on this summer’s showpiece in Russia. There Pizzi and Co. will face the hosts, Uruguay and Arab rivals Egypt.