Groups finalised for AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023

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China faces a relatively easy Group A in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qatar 2023 following the draw made on Thursday, with Qatar, Tajikistan and Lebanon being the other three teams in the group.

China's Zheng Zhi (L) break through during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup round of 16 match against Thailand in Al Ain, the United Arab Emirates, Jan. 20, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

Scheduled to take place from January 12 to February 10, 2024, the highly anticipated continental tournament promises to deliver thrilling football matches.

The 24 teams were divided into six groups. Host Qatar is poised to kick off its title defense against contenders including two-time runner-up China.

Chinese team manager Shao Jiayi told Xinhua after the draw that the team's initial goal is to advance through the group stage, while admitting that facing the host will bring extra pressure.

"We will strive for victory in every match we play and give our all on the pitch," he assured.

In Group B, 2015 champion Australia will face competition from Uzbekistan, Syria, and India.

Hong Kong, China is placed in Group C, which also features three-time winner Iran, 1996 runner-up United Arab Emirates and Palestine contesting for knockout spots.

Group D comprises record four-time winner Japan, Indonesia, 2007 champion Iraq, and Vietnam.

As top-seeded team in Group E, two-time champion South Korea faces challenges from Malaysia, Jordan, and Bahrain.

In Group F, three-time winner Saudi Arabia will encounter with Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, and Oman.

Top two teams from each group, along with the four best third-placed teams, will earn their tickets to the last 16.

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