Who wins the Asian Cup Final? A stats based preview

On Saturday the 10th of February at 16.00 in the final we will see the culmination of almost a month of football between Asia´s best teams. Jordan surprised the world by beating title favourites South Korea in the Semi Final. In a terrific display they beat the South Koreans 2-0 to book their spot in this Saturday’s final. In that final they will play, defending champions and Qatar. The host nation had a tough match in the semifinal against Iran but managed to emerge victorious thanks to a late Ali Almoez goal in minute 82. Iran created slightly more chances but saw their final offence fall through thanks to an injury time red card for Khalilzadeh. 

Road to the final

Group Stage4-0(W) vs Malaysia3-0(W) vs Lebanon
Group Stage2-2(D) vs South Korea1-0(W) vs Tajikistan
Group Stage0’1(L) vs Bahrain1-0(W) vs China
Last 163-2(W) vs Iraq2-1(W) vs Palestina
Quarter Final1-0(W) vs Tajikistan1-1(3-2 wns) vs Uzbekistan
Semi Final2-0(W) vs South Korea3-2(W) vs Iran

Jordan did not have a great group stage. They only came in 3rd after losing to Bahrain and only qualified for the knockout-stage as the best number 3 in the tournament. However, in the last 16 they impressively won against Iraq, who were among the best playing teams in the tournament thus far. A 1-0 win against Tajikistan set up a semi final clash with South Korea, and where the two teams met in the group stage for a 2-2 draw, Jordan played very well and convincingly defeated South Korea 2-0. 

Qatar on the other hand flew through their group stages, picking up 3 wins against Lebanon,Tajikistan and China without conceding a goal. Then they had quite some difficulty with Palestina and even needed penalties against Uzbekistan to set up a semi final clash with Iran. Ali Almoez’s 82nd minute goal gave Qatar a 3-2 win and a spot in this year’s final. 

Who will win the final?

The bookies consider Qatar as the favourites with the average odds for the home team at 1.54 while. Jordan receive average odds to win the trophy at 2.52 and thus are quite the underdog in this match. However, their recent result and performance against South Korea must give them massive confidence. If they manage to pull off a similar performance on Saturday they will definitely stand a chance to get their hands on the trophy but they will for sure face a massively motivated Qatar that wants to shine in front of their home fans. Simulations from opta(link naar opta) therefore predict a very close match actually, giving Qatar a 53.2% winning probability while predicting that Jordan has a 46.8% chance of  winning the match. A very close matchup indeed where there is a 26.8% chance that there will be extra time needed or even penalties perhaps to decide the winner. 

Last matchup saw a surprise

What will boost Jordan’s confidence for Saturday even more is the last head-2-head match between the two teams. Jordan managed to secure a 2-1 victory in Doha against Qatar thanks to 2nd half goals from Naimat and Olwan. The 3 fixtures before that between the two sides all ended in a Qatar victory but have been quite a long time ago. The most recent display definitely can help Jordan while preparing for an upset this Saturday. 

Final Verdict

It is quite hard to decide between the two teams. Qatar has the home advantage and in general is considered a better team with higher quality players. Jordan however will be on a flow after their recent performances in the tournament and have managed to beat Qatar in the most recent matchup between both sides. We tend to slightly favour Qatar to win it on home turf but the odds for Jordan at around 2.52 definitely seem to possess some value. 

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