We have already talked about AFC Asian Cup top scorers, but what about AFC Asian Cup top winners? We mean the countries that have won AFC Asian Cup the most in the history of the competition. Is it Iran, South Korean, Japan, Saudi Arabia or what?
What we just said above includes both AFC Asian Cup past winners and today winners. In other words, we see which countries have won most AFC Asian Cups since the foundation of the competition in 1956.
Up to this date, 17 rounds of Asian Cup have been held with the first one held in Hong Kong in 1956 and the latest one in UAE in 2019. Australia have also hosted AFC Asian Cup once in 2015 since they have joined the Asian confederation in 2007.
Who are the AFC Asian Cup past winners and who are the competition’s today winners? And who have won the most number of AFC Asian Cups? Let’s find out together.
Number one on the list of
AFC Asian Cup top winners
, Japan have won AFC Asian Cup four times in their history: In 1992 where they also hosted the competition and in 2000, 2004, and 2011. Japan have also finished as runners-up once in 2019 and fourth in 2007. So, they have been AFC Asian cup 5-time finalists and 6-time semi-finalists to this date.
Not all the Asian Cups Japan won were held with the same number of teams: In 1992, only 8 teams took part in the competition including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, and China; in 2000, there were 12 teams and in 2004 and 2011 16 teams. So, it seems, the Japanese football has also advanced throughout the years to beat more teams in the Asian cup to become champions, as it’s been really so.
The best winsJapan
have had in the Asian Cups they won were their 8-1 win against Uzbekistan in the group stage of the 2000 Asian Cup and also their unforgettable 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia, who are also one of the AFC Asian Cup top winners - actually the second top winner, again in the group stage but in the 2011 edition of the competition. The interesting fact about Japan is that although they are the 4-time winners of AFC Asian Cup, none of their forwards ever became the top scorer of the Asian Cup they won. Their best shot at this was in the 2000 edition of the competition where the two Japanese forwards, Akinori Nishizawa and Naohiro Takahara, became the second top scorers of the competition with 5 goals behind Lee Dong-Gook of South Korean who had scored 6 goals.
The second country among the AFC Asian Cup top winners with the most number of AFC Asian Cups won, Saudi Arabia have actually won the Asian competition title three times and in 1984, 1988, and 1996. They have also finished as runners-up three times in the 1992, 2000, and 2007 editions of the AFC Asian Cup. So, based on this, they have been the 6-time finalists and also the 6-time semi-finalists of the competition.
No third or fourth place for Saudi Arabia in the AFC Asian Cup! They have either advanced to the final or have been eliminated before reaching it. The interesting fact about Saudi Arabia is that in two of their Asian Cup wins, it was penalties that came to their rescue. In 1988 AFC Asian Cup, they actually won 4-3 against South Korea on penalties, and in the 1996 edition of the competition, the same happened when they won 4-2 against UAE. And also in two of the three Asian Cups Saudi Arabia have won, they advanced from semi-finals again with the help of penalties and both against Iran: In 1984 AFC Asian Cup, they won 5-4 and in the 1996 edition of the competition they won 4-3. Good penalties!
The best winSaudi Arabia
experienced in the AFC Asian Cups was in the 1996 edition of the competition where they beat Thailand 6-0 in the group stage. They scored 4 goals against China in the same competition’s quarter-finals but conceded 3 goals from them too. Other than that, all Saudi Arabia’s wins in the three above-mentioned AFC Asian Cups were either by one or two goals, so no wonder, none of their forwards became the top scorer of the Asian Cups they won. Their best shot at this was in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup where the Saudi Arabian forward, Fahad Al-Mehallel, became the competition’s third top scorer with 4 goals and in 1984 AFC Asian Cup where Majed Abdullah became the second top scorer of the competition with 2 goals.
The only country on the list of AFC Asian Cup top winners with 3 consecutive Asian Cup wins, Iran have won the 1968, 1972, and 1976 editions of the AFC Asian Cup, and based on the years they have won the Asian trophy, we’d better call them one of the
AFC Asian Cup past winners
rather than today’s winners. They have also finished five times on the third place and once on the fourth place in the history of AFC Asian cup competitions but never as runners-up. It should be mentioned here that one of the times they finished on the third place - actually the 2019 edition of AFC Asian Cup, they did it not by winning against the then semi-finalist, UAE, but based on points.
According to what we said above,Iran
have advanced to 9 AFC Asian Cup semi-finals up until today and in three of them, they actually advanced to the final and won it; no second places! The interesting fact about Iran is that in all the AFC Asian Cups they won, not more than 10 teams participated. In 1968, there were only 5 competing teams, namely Iran, Burma, Israel, China, and Hong Kong, and in 1972 and 1976 only 6 teams. Another thing to mention about the AFC Asian Cups Iran have won is that in none of them, Iran’s top Asian rivals, Japan and Saudi Arabia, participated, and South Korea, who are also one of Iran’s historical rivals, competed only in the 1972 AFC Asian Cup among the three editions of the competition mentioned above.
Iran were the hosts in two of the three Asian Cups they won; actually the 1968 and 1976 editions of the competition. The best wins Iran have had in their three championships were their 8-0 win against Yemen - actually South Yemen - in the group stage in 1976 and their 4-0 win against China in 1968. Unlike Saudi Arabia and Japan whose forwards never became the top scorer of any of the AFC Asian Cups they won, Iran had always a man among the top scorers of the editions of the AFC Asian Cup they became champions of, and the interesting fact here is that they also had a man as the second top scorer in the same competitions.
In 1968 AFC Asian Cup, Homayoun Behzadi became the top scorer of the competition with 4 goals alongside two Israeli forwards; Akbar Eftekhari and Hossein Kalani also became the same competition’s second top scorers with 2 goals. In 1972 AFC Asian Cup, Hossein Kalani became the lone top scorer of the competition with 5 goals with his fellowman, Ali Jabbari, and the South Korean forward, Park Lee-Chun, becoming second top scorers each with 4 goals, and finally in 1976 AFC Asian Cup, Gholam Hossein Mazloumi, and Nasser Nouraei became the competition’s top scorers alongside the Kuwaiti forward, Fathi Kameel, each with 3 goals, and the three Iranian footballers, namely Alireza Azizi, Alireza Khorshidi, and Hassan Roshan, became the second top scorers of the competition sharingly each with 2 goals.
One of the top Asian teams on the list of
AFC Asian Cup top winners
, South Korea have won only two AFC Asian Cups to this date and actually two consecutive ones: The 1956 and 1960 editions of AFC Asian Cup in the latter they were actually the hosts. Although South Korea occupy the fourth position on the list, they have actually finished as runners-up more than any other country in the history of AFC Asian Cup which actually occurred in 1972, 1980, 1988, and 2015 editions of the competition. Also they have advanced to AFC Asian Cup semi-finals more than any other country on the list; actually 10 times in four of which they finished on the third place and in 6 of which they advanced to the competition’s final.
are the only team on the list alongside Saudi Arabia who have advanced to the Asian competition’s final the most - 6 times as mentioned above. In fact, if were to sort the list of AFC Asian Cup top winners both based on the number of times a country’s national team have reached the competition’s semi-finals and final, then in both cases, South Korea would top the list with a record 10 and 6 times, respectively; in the second one - we mean final - jointly with Saudi Arabia. Also they are the only team on the list who have finished on the third place the most in the history of AFC Asian Cup competitions - 4 times in 1964, 2000, 2007, and 2011 - this time jointly with Iran.
So, as you see, South Korea have always been among the top competing teams in the AFC Asian Cup competitions, though they have only won two titles to this date. In both editions of the Asian Cup South Korea won - we mean the 1956 and 1960 editions of the competition, there were only 4 competing teams: In the former, Hong Kong, South Korea, South Vietnam, and Israel, and in the latter, China, South Korea, Israel, and South Vietnam. As you see, none of South Korea’s major Asian rivals like Iran, Japan, and Saudi Arabia were not a participant in these competitions.
The best wins South Korea had in the above-mentioned editions of AFC Asian Cup were their 5-3 win against South Vietnam in the 1956 and their 5-1 win again against South Vietnam in the 1960 edition of the competition. In the former edition, the South Korean forward, Woo Sang-kwon, became the competition’s second top scorer with 3 goals and in the latter, Cho Yoon-ok, actually became the tournament’s top scorer with 4 goals. Also in two other editions of AFC Asian Cup, namely the 1980 and 1988 editions where South Korea finished on the third place, Choi Soon-ho and Lee Tae-Ho of South Korea became the top scorer of the competition with 7 and 3 goals respectively.
have become a full UEFA member since 1994, but before that, as you can guess, they were an AFC member and competed in Asian tournaments including the AFC Asian Cup. So, based on that and the fact that AFC Asian Cup started since 1956, they should have competed in 10 editions of the Asian cup, but the truth is that they only competed in the four starting editions of the competition, namely the 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968 editions, and actually won the third one (1960 Asian Cup) where they also hosted the competition.
In that tournament - we mean 1960 AFC Asian Cup, only 4 teams including Israel themselves, India, South Korea, andHong Kong
competed. The competition was held in group-stage format and with only one group of the four teams mentioned above. Israel managed to beat all the three teams in the group with a goal or two and become champions with 6 points from their 3 wins - in those days, wins had only two points, you know. Also, the Israeli forward, Mordechai Spiegler, became the top scorer of the competition jointly with Inder Singh of India with 2 goals. Israel have also finished as runners-up - actually in 1956 and 1960 editions of AFC Asian Cup - and once on the third place (1968 AFC Asian Cup) during the time they competed in the Asian tournament.
are the only team on the list of AFC Asian Cup top winners who have finished once on one of the top four positions in the AFC Asian Cup history: They actually became champions in the 1980, finished as runners-up in the 1976, on the third place in the 1984, and on the fourth place in the 1996 edition of AFC Asian Cup. Just like Israel, they also hosted the same AFC Asian Cup competition - the 1980 edition - they won, and the best result they got was also in the same tournament that they won: Their 3-0 win against South Korea in the final.
Kuwaiti forwards were somehow or other among the top scorers of the three editions of AFC Asian Cup mentioned above, namely the 1976, 1980, and 1996 editions of the competition. In 1976, the Kuwaiti forward, Fathi Kameel, became the top scorer of the tournament with 3 goals alongside two Iranian forwards, Nasser Nouraei and Gholam Hossein Mazloumi. In 1980 where Kuwait actually became champions, another Kuwaiti forward named Faisal Al-Dakhil became the second top scorer of the tournament with 5 goals just behind Behtash Fariba of Iran and Choi Soon-ho of South Korea each with 7 goals, and finally, in 1996, yet another Kuwaiti forward named Jasem Al-Huwaidi became the second top scorer of the tournament with 6 goals behind Ali Daei of Iran with 8 goals.
Having joined AFC in 2006,Australia
have competed in every AFC Asian Cup edition ever since which are actually the 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 editions of the competition. Australia’s playstyle, in general and with players like Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell, is more inclined toward European than Asian football, however, they have not proven as a team with European style of play as they have only managed to win one Asian Cup in 2015 where they also hosted the competition and finish as runners-up in 2011. You know, more is expected from a team whose playstyle is the nearest to the European style of play in Asia.
Australia’s best win in the two editions of AFC Asian Cup mentioned above was their 6-0 victory over Uzbekistan in 2011 AFC Asian Cup semi-finals. They also beat India 4-0 in the group stage of the same competition. And in 2015 AFC Asian Cup where they actually became champions, they beat Kuwait 4-1 and Oman 4-0 both in the group stage. Despite this, none of Australia’s forwards ever became the top scorer of any of the AFC Asian Cups Australia competed in. Their best shot at this was in 2007 AFC Asian Cup where Mark Viduka became the second top scorer of the competition with 3 goals behind Younis Mahmoud of Iraq, Naohiro Takahara of Japan, and Yasser Al-Qahtani of Saudi Arabia each with 4 goals.
have advanced three times to the AFC Asian Cup semi-finals in the history of the competition in one of which they actually won the Asian cup (in 2007) and in two of which, namely the 1976 and 2015 editions of the competition, they finished on the fourth place, so, no second or third place for Iraq ever in the history of AFC Asian Cup.
Maybe Iraq’s only Asian cup win in 2007, just like that of Australia in 2015, is worth more than those of Iran and South Korea since the number of competing teams had been increased to 16 at the time they won the cup unlike the time Iran and South Korea won it which only 4 or 6 teams competed in the competition. The best win Iraq had in the three AFC Asian Cup editions mentioned above was their 3-1 win against Australia in 2007 AFC Asian Cup group stage. Also in the same competition, their forward, Younis Mahmoud became the top scorer of the competition with 4 goals alongside Naohiro Takahara of Japan and Yasser Al-Qahtani of Saudi Arabia.
The only Asian team on the list of
AFC Asian Cup top winners
who have only won the AFC Asian Cup once but never finished as runners-up or on the third or fourth place, Qatar have won the most recent edition of AFC Asian Cup which is actually 2019 AFC Asian Cup where unlike other editions of the tournament, there were more competing teams; actually 24. Qatar’s best wins in this competition were their 6-0 win against North Korea in the group stage and their 4-0 win against UAE in the same competition’s semi-finals.
Qatar also beat Japan 3-1 in the final and proved to be the most vigorous team of the competition, if you ask us. And the Qatari forward,Almoez Ali
, became the competition’s top scorer with 9 goals which was not only unique concerning the number of goals scored in an AFC Asian Cup edition but also the difference of the competition’s top scorer and second top scorers’ goals which was actually 5 and had never been experienced in an AFC Asian Cup edition before. The nearest to Alomez concerning the number of goals scored in an AFC Asian Cup is Ali Daei of Iran with 8 goals in the 1996 edition of AFC Asian Cup.
They are China, UAE,India
, and Myanmar. Among these teams, China is the only team who have not only finished as runners-up more than once - actually twice in 1984 and 2004 where in the latter, they were also the hosts - but also twice on the third place in 1976 and 1992 and twice on the fourth place in 1988 and 2000.
UAE have finished only once in each of the four top positions in AFC Asian Cup history except for the first place. They finished as runners-up in 1996 where they were also the competition’s hosts and on the third and fourth place in 2015 and 1992 respectively. It should also be noted that they also finished on the fourth position in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup which was not through their loss to a team in the third-place playoff match but through the points they had already acquired in the competition - Iran became third in the competition in the same way. And finally, India andMyanmar
have finished only once as runners-up in AFC Asian Cup history; the former in 1964 and the latter in 1968 and as Burma.
They are as below:
Hong Kong, on the third place once in 1956 where they were also the hosts and on the fourth place in 1964
Chinese Taipei, on the third place in 1960 and on the fourth place in 1968 both as Republic of China
Vietnam, twice on the fourth place in 1956 and 1960 as South Vietnam
Cambodia, once on the fourth place in 1972 and as Khemr Republic
North Korea, once on the fourth place in 1980
Bahrain, once on the fourth place in 2004
Uzbekistan, once on the fourth place in 2011
, on the third place once in 1972 where they were also the hosts.
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