AFC Asian Cup 2019: Group D Consists of Iran, Iraq, Vietnam and Yemen
We take a closer look at all four teams and their chances in the AFC Asian Cup.
FIFA World Ranking: 29
Asian Cup Appearances: 13
Asian Cup Qualification Second Round – Group D Winners with 6 wins, 3 draws and 0 loss
Last 5 games: Portugal (1-1), Uzbekistan (1-0), Bolivia (2-1), Trinidad and Tobago (1-0), Venezuela (1-1)
Iran enter the tournament as one of the top favourites to clinch the trophy. They narrowly missed out on a knockout spot in the 2018 World Cup but surely they’re going to go the distance in the Asian Cup.
Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Payam Niazmand (Sepahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)
Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (Al-Shahania SC), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Majid Hosseini (Trabzonspor), Mohammadhossein Kananizadegan (Machine Sazi), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Vouria Ghafouri (Esteghlal), Ehsan Haji Safi (Tractor Sazi), Morteza Pouraliganji (KAS Eupen)
Midfielders: Omid Ebrahimi (Qatar’s Al Ahli), Ahmad Nourollahi (Persepolis), Masoud Shojaei (Tractor Sazi), Ashkan Dejagah (Tractor Sazi), Vahid Amiri (Trabzonspor), Rouzbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)
Forwards: Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Karim Ansarifard (Nottingham Forest), Saman Ghoddos (Amiens), Mehdi Taremi (Al Gharafa), Mehdi Torabi (Persepolis), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Brighton)
Key Player: Sardar Azmoun
Azmoun has a lot to offer to Iran having played in Europe for the majority of his playing career. He has played against some of the top teams in the world and that will come in handy in the continental showpiece.
FIFA World Ranking: 100
Asian Cup Appearances: 1
Asian Cup Qualification Third Round – Group C Runners-up with 2 wins, 4 draws and 0 loss
Last 5 games: Philippines (2-1), Malaysia (2-2), Malaysia (1-0), DPR Kore (1-1), Philippines (4-2)
Having won the AFF Suzuki Cup recently, Vietnam will be high on confidence going into the Asian Cup. This would only be their second appearance in the continental showpiece.
Goalkeepers: Dang Van Lam (Hai Phong), Nguyen Tuan Manh (Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN), Bui Tien Dung (FLC Thanh Hoa)
Defenders: Do Duy Manh (Hanoi), Que Ngoc Hai (Song Lam Nghe An), Bui Tien Dung (Viettel), Doan Van Hau (Hanoi), Ho Tan Hai (Becamex Binh Duong), Nguyen Thanh Chung (Hanoi)
Midfielders: Luong Xuan Truong (Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Nguyen Huy Hung (Quang Nam), Nguyen Trong Hoang (FLC Thanh Hoa), Ngan Van Dai (Hanoi), Nguyen Phong Hong Duy (Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Tran Minh Vuong (Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Pham Duc Huy (Hanoi), Do Hung Dung (Hanoi), Phan Van Duc (Song Lam Nghe An)
Forwards: Nguyen Van Toan (Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Nguyen Cong Phuong (Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Ha Duc Chinh (Shb Da Nang), Nguyen Quang Hai (Hanoi), Nguyen Tien Lien (Becamex Binh Duong)
Key Player: Nguyen Quang Hai
The youngster has grown into one of the most important players in the Golden Dragons squad and a lot would depend on him if Vietnam are to qualify for the knockouts.
FIFA World Ranking: 88
Asian Cup Appearances: 8
Asian Cup Qualification Second Round – Group F Runners-up with 3 wins, 3 draws and 0 loss
Last 5 games: Kuwait (2-2), Argentina (0-4), Saudi Arabia (1-1), Bolivia (0-0), Palestine (1-0)
Iraq defied all odds to win the competition in 2007 and would want to repeat that feat this year as well. However, they have their task cut out.
Jalal Hassan, Mohammed Gassid, Mohammed Hameed, Ahmad Ibrahim, Frans Dhia Putros, Saad Natiq, Ali Faez, Ali Adnan, Alaa Ali Mhawi, Rebin Sulaka, Waleed Salim, Safaa Hadi, Osama Rashid, Ahmed Yasin, Humam Tariq, Bashar Resan, Amjad Attwan, Ali Husni, Hussein Ali, Mahdi Kamel, Mohanad Ali, Ayman Hussein, Alaa Abbas
Key Player: Hussein Ali
Hussein Ali will have to do the majority of work going forward for Iraq and as they’ve been pitted in a tricky group, he will have to be at the top of his powers from the word go.
FIFA World Ranking: 135
Asian Cup Appearances: 0
Asian Cup Qualification Third Round – Group F Runners-up with 2 wins, 4 draws and 0 loss
Last 5 games: Iraq (0-3), Nepal (2-1), Saudi Arabia (0-1), UAE (0-2), Syria (0-1)
This would be Yemen’s first appearance in the Asian Cup and the squad would want to play with a free mind without the burden of any expectation.
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Ali Ayash (Beshmarka Arbil), Salem Al-Harsh (Wehda Aden), Saqud Abdullah Al-Sowadi (Alsaqr Taiz)
Defenders: Rami Ali Al-Wasmani (Ahli Sanaa), Mudir Abdurabu Al-Radaei (Al-Arabi), Mohammed Fuad Omar (Muaitheer), Abdulaziz Mohammed Al-Gumaei (Musemeer), Ala Addin Mahdi (Alrestaq), Ammar Hamsan (Qatar Club), Mohammed Ali Buqshan (Alkhour)
Midfielders: Ahmed Saeed Abdulrab (Wehda Aden), Wahid Mohammed Al-Khyat (Ahli Sanaa), Ala Mohammed Al Sasi (Alseleah), Ahmed Ali Ahmed Al-Haifi (Alkritiat), Hussein Ahmed Al-Ghazi (Alwakrah)
Forwards: Ahmed Al-Sarori (Markheeah), Ahmed Nabil Dhabaan (Duba), Abdulwasea Al-Matari (Duba Alhusn), Ali Hafeedh (Wehda Aden), Salem Al-Omzae (Altilal Aden), Ahmed Abdullah Alos (Wehda Aden), Emad Mansoor Tawfik (Badih), Mohammed Ba Rowis (Wehda Aden)
Key Player: Abdulwasea Al-Matari
The 24-year-old left winger was instrumental in Yemen’s Asian Cup qualification and if they harbour dream of qualifying for the next round, he’s got to fire.
Iran are a powerhouse in Asian football and it’s highly unlikely that one of the other three teams in the group will pose any kind of challenge for Team Melli.
The competition for the second place, however, might go down to the wire with all the three sides capable of sealing a place in the next round of the competition.
First place: Iran
Second place: Vietnam