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Breaking Travel News explores: AFC Asian Cup 2023 set to kick-off in Qatar

Breaking Travel News explores: AFC Asian Cup 2023 set to kick-off in Qatar

Defending champions Qatar are preparing to host the AFC Asian Cup 2023, with the tournament set to kick-off on January 12 at the magnificent Lusail Stadium.

Having secured a memorable 3-1 final victory over Japan during the last hosting of the event in 2019, the hosts are well-prepared for the showcase.

The eagerly awaited 18th edition of AFC Asian Cup will captivate football enthusiasts around the world as nations from across the Asian continent converge in Qatar to compete for glory.

With the final on February 10, the tournament will see twenty-four of the top teams from across the continent competing in 51 matches in state-of-the-art stadiums.

Host nation Qatar will face off against Lebanon in the opening match, promising an exciting start to a month-long festival of football.

The grand finale is scheduled to take place at the same venue, marking the culmination of a thrilling journey for the participating teams.

Take a look at the full fixture list here.

Lusail Stadium will also act as host venue for both the opening and closing ceremonies, a testament to Qatari innovation and grandeur.

The AFC Asian Cup 2023 will feature 24 teams from diverse corners of the Asian continent.

The teams will be divided into six groups, with each comprising four teams.

The top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout stages, setting the stage for intense battles as the tournament progresses.

The knockout rounds, including the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the much-anticipated final, promise to deliver high-stakes drama and heart-stopping moments.

As with any major football tournament, discussions about favourites and underdogs are inevitable.

Traditional powerhouses such as Japan, South Korea and Iran are expected to field formidable squads, showcasing their rich footballing traditions.

However, football is known for its unpredictability, and emerging teams like Qatar and rising talents from south-east Asia could cause upsets and make significant strides in the competition.

The AFC Asian Cup 2023 will be a stage for individual brilliance, with several players expected to shine.

From experienced stars like Son Heung-min (South Korea) and Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Iran) to emerging talents like Akram Afif (Qatar) and Nguyen Quang Hai (Vietnam), the tournament will showcase the diverse skill sets and playing styles that make Asian football so captivating.

Beyond the thrill of the matches and the quest for the coveted trophy, the AFC Asian Cup 2023 holds the potential to leave a lasting legacy.

Hosting the tournament provides Qatar with an opportunity to showcase its hospitality, infrastructure and commitment to fostering a love for football.

The tournament is also expected to inspire a new generation of football enthusiasts across the continent, promoting unity and celebrating the cultural diversity that defines Asian football.

The AFC Asian Cup 2023 is poised to be a celebration of football excellence, bringing together nations, players and fans in a shared passion for the beautiful game.

Ahead of the kick-off, Qatar Airways and the Asian Football Confederation recently announced a global partnership.

The deal will run until 2023 and includes other key competitions, such as the AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027, AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026, AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024, AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2024, 2026 and 2028, as well as all AFC youth national team competitions during the period.

Qatar Airways’ sponsorship also includes all matches of the AFC Champions League 2023/24 knockout stage and three eagerly-anticipated new AFC flagship club competitions which will take place from the 2024/25 season onwards: the AFC Champions League Elite, AFC Women’s Champions League and the AFC Champions League 2.

The airline’s leisure division, Qatar Airways Holidays, is launching travel packages for global fans to attend the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.

With return flights, a choice of hotels, and match tickets, these packages are designed to bring passionate fans closer than ever to the action and transform the way that fans across the continent experience Asian football.

Privilege Club members can collect Avios and Qpoints on these travel packages, with the option to book online using Cash + Avios.

To book packages and guarantee a place at this exciting tournament, customers can visit the dedicated site.

Qatar Airways Group chief executive officer, Mohammed Al-Meer, said: “Qatar Airways is excited to welcome the AFC to our robust sports sponsorship portfolio.

“This is a monumental occasion which marks our shared commitment to connecting people across borders and promoting competitive sportsmanship.”

He continued: “As the Best Airline in the Middle East, we look forward to welcoming fans from the region on our expansive network to experience Qatar’s unique sports offerings.

“We will work together with the AFC to help create thrilling moments of football excellence in the upcoming years, kicking off with the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, which is due to be held next month in state-of-the-art venues across the country.”

The partnership with the AFC highlights Qatar Airways Group’s commitment to its vision of connecting the world, as it continues to bring people together through the power of sport.

The national carrier of the State of Qatar is the Official Airline of FIFA, Formula 1, Paris-Saint Germain (PSG), Internazionale Milano, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), CONCACAF, the Ironman Triathlon Series, the United Rugby Championship (URC) and European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), the Brooklyn Nets NBA Team, and multiple other disciplines including Australian football, equestrian, kitesurfing, motor racing, squash and tennis.

AFC general secretary, Datuk Seri Windsor John, said: “It is with great enthusiasm we welcome Qatar Airways on board as the AFC’s newest partner.

“This collaboration again underlines the ever-growing appeal of the AFC’s world-class competitions and embodies the AFC and Qatar Airways’ shared commitment to excellence and elevating the sports experience for fans worldwide.

“With Qatar Airways, we look forward to expanding our global footprint. This partnership not only connects fans across borders but also enhances the accessibility of our sports events on a truly international scale with seamless and convenient travel experiences.”

During the tournament, Qatar Airways Group’s B12 Beach Club, located in Doha’s vibrant West Bay area, will be the hotspot for international and local fans to watch screenings, experience live music, and an array of events throughout the tournament.

The news comes at a successful time for Qatar Airways, following a recent triumph at the esteemed World Travel Awards.

The airline was recognised with multiple accolades for its unwavering commitment to excellence and travel experience.

Qatar Airways received the awards for World’s Leading Airline, World’s Leading Airline – Business Class and World’s Leading Airline Lounge - Business Class: Al Mourjan Business Lounge.

The first award acknowledges Qatar Airways’ dedication to passenger satisfaction.

The airline consistently provides quality, comfort and service to its passengers, and ensures a seamless and enjoyable travel experience for all.

The World’s Leading Airline - Business Class award reinforces it as the best way to travel, owing to its unparalleled quality service and luxury.

The acclaimed Qsuite has won yet another title emphasising its stature as the most unforgettable way to fly.

The award for the World’s Leading Airline Lounge - Business Class: Al Mourjan Business Lounge is a crowning achievement for Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport.

This sustainable lounge creates an immersive experience in a serene atmosphere, ideal for business, leisure and family travellers.

Mohammed Al-Meer said: “Qatar Airways is committed to pushing the boundaries of excellence and is proud of the recognition we have received at the World Travel Awards.

“These accolades reinforce our dedication to delivering nothing short of exceptional services to our passengers at each touchpoint.”

The World Travel Awards brings together industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders to celebrate notable achievements in aviation and travel.

The airline remains committed to providing unmatched service, furthering innovation and sustainability, all while maintaining its position as a global leader in the industry.

World Travel Awards founder, Graham Cooke, said: “Qatar Airways continues to soar to new heights, and I am delighted that both the industry and the general public have acknowledged this unrivalled excellence.

“The commitment of the entire Qatar Airways team serves as an inspiration to us all.”

Award-winning Hamad International Airport is playing its part, poised to welcome visitors from around the globe.

Drawing from the lessons and expertise gained during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the airport has meticulously planned its operations to ensure a seamless arrival experience for visitors entering the vibrant city of Doha.

The comprehensive preparation includes seamless coordination and communication among all stakeholders ensuring optimal service delivery.

Extensive collaboration with transport providers guarantees efficient connectivity to and from the airport, the city, and the stadiums, with multiple public transport options, including taxis, bus services, and the metro, available for visitors.

Arriving passengers can access necessary amenities like foreign exchange services, food and beverage options, convenient stores, ATMs and purchase local sim cards, which are all conveniently located at the arrival hall.

Passengers who have a transit time of more than 8 hours have the option of booking a Doha city tour through Discover Qatar, the destination management company of Qatar Airways, to experience the city during the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.

Upon departure, visitors can indulge in the distinctive offerings at Hamad International Airport, such as the iconic indoor tropical garden, ORCHARD, or explore Souq Al Matar, a lively traditional Qatari market within the airport premises, providing a glimpse into the rich local culture and warm hospitality of Doha.

More Information

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA.

Established in 1954, the AFC is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and comprises 47 member associations.

The AFC organises the AFC Asian Cup, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the AFC Futsal Asian Cup which are the flagship Continental national team football and futsal competitions, while the AFC Champions League is the premier competition for Asian clubs, drawing millions of fans to the beautiful game across the length and breadth of the Continent and beyond.

Find out more on the official website.