Asian American: SPORTS GALLERY

Asian Soccer Championship

Japanese Football Stadiums / January 15, 2016

South Korea won the first Asian Cup tournament in 19561956 Asian Cup
Winner: South Korea
Runner-up: Israel
Host: Hong Kong

The inaugural tournament was a contest amongst four nations, South Korea, Israel, Hong Kong and South Vietnam. South Korea went into the competition as the champion of the eastern zone after defeating the Philippines and the Republic of China in the qualifications. At the final stage, the team won two matches and settled for a 2-2 draw with the hosts to finish top with five points, one ahead of Israel, becoming the first continental champions.

1960 Asian Cup
Winner: South Korea
Runner-up: Israel
Host: South Korea

South Korea successfully defended its title four years after winning the first edition of the Asian Cup. South Korea kicked off the campaign on a high note by defeating the champions of the central region, South Vietnam, 5-1 in a thrilling kick off match. The Koreans embarked on a fine run as they won the other two matches against Israel and Republic of China to ensure that the cup remained at the home ground.

1964 Asian Cup
Winner: Israel
Runner-up: India
Host: Israel

Israel attained the first title of the AFC Asian Cup in the 1964 tournament by winning the three ties against India, Hong Kong and the defending champions, South Korea. The 2-0 win by the host nation in the match against India turned out to be the differential as the champions of the western zone won the other two matches to finish as runner up.

South Korea successfully defended its title winning the 1960 Asian Cup1968 Asian Cup
Winner: Iran
Runner-up: Burma
Host: Iran

Once again, the host nation went on to win the championship. Five teams took part in the 1968 edition; the host nation, winners of the three qualification groups (Burma, Hong Kong and Republic of China) and the defending champions, Israel. Iran recorded four straight wins to finish three points clear of second placed Burma. The home team convincingly won the first title.

1972 Asian Cup
Winner: Iran
Runner-up: South Korea
Host: Thailand

Iran was the champion once again in the restructured system. A group stage was introduced and Iran won both matches to top the group, qualifying for the semifinal. A second half goal broke the even score line against Khmer Republic and the semifinal match ended 2-1 in favor of the Iranians. The final contest between Iran and South Korea had to be decided in the extra time after the teams drew 1-1 in normal time. Iran won 2-1 following the goal by Hossein Kalani, the top scorer of the tournament.

Israel team showing their 1964 Asian Cup championship trophy1976 Asian Cup
Winner: Iran
Runner-up: Kuwait
Host: Iran

Iran was the champion for a third consecutive time. After finishing top in the group stage, Iran proceeded to knock out China PR in the semifinal tie that ended 2-0 after extra time. A goal by Ali Parvin of Iran was the decider in the final match against Kuwait. The title win sustained the dominance by Iran and set the record for most consecutive title wins that is yet to be broken.

1980 Asian Cup
Winner: Kuwait
Runner-up: South Korea
Host: Kuwait

The 1980 tournament saw the first nation from the Arab region emerge winners. Kuwait hosted the tournament which saw a further expansion to ten participants. The tournament experienced a major hiccup when Iraq attacked Iran, affecting the performance of the latter team in the competition. Kuwait thrashed Korea Republic 3-0 in the final to be the continental champions.

1984 Asian Cup
Winner: Saudi Arabia
Runner-up: China PR
Host: Singapore

The 1968 Asian Cup title was won by Iran over BurmaSaudi Arabia made it to the final of the 1984 Asian Cup. The team advanced to the summit tie after narrowly edging out Iran 5-4 on penalties in the semifinal match. The fellow finalists were China PR who had eliminated the defending champions, Kuwait, in the other semi final. Saudi Arabia won the final 2-0 to become the champion of Asia for the first time.

1988 Asian Cup
Winner: Saudi Arabia
Runner-up: South Korea
Host: Qatar

Saudi Arabia repeated its great performance by advancing to the semifinal unbeaten in the group matches. The defending champion was through to the finals following a 1-0 win over Iran. The 1988 final was the first in the history of the tournament to be decided through a penalty shootout after ending in a goalless draw. Saudi sealed the second title conquest by winning the shootout 4-3.

1992 Asian Cup
Winner: Japan
Runner-up: Saudi Arabia
Host: Japan

The tenth edition of the championship set the stage for the emergence of another powerhouse in Asian soccer. The home team knocked out China PR in the semifinal setting them in line to compete with the defending champions, Saudi Arabia, in the final match. The game was won by an early solitary goal from Takuya Takagi earning Japan its first trophy in the tournament.

1996 Asian Cup
Winner: Saudi Arabia
Runner-up: United Arab Emirates
Host: UAE

Saudi Arabia avoided another loss in a successive final by defeating U.A.E. 4-2 on penalties, after the match ended goalless. The former made it to the final by eliminating China PR in the quarters and Iran in the semis. Saudi had now made it three title wins in four consecutive editions of the competition.

2000 Asian Cup
Winner: Japan
Runner-up: Saudi Arabia
Host: Lebanon

Japan recovered from the previous early exit, at the quarter finals, to win the title for the second time. They emerged top of their group in the first stage before proceeding to knock out Iraq and China PR in the quarter and semi final matches. Japan defeated the defending champions 1-0 in the final held at Sports City Stadium, Beirut.

Iran won the 1976 Asian Cup championship, making them the only team to win the title 3 times in a row. Kuwait defeated South Korea and won the 1980 Asian Cup title Saudi won the 1984 Asian Cup title against China 1988 Asian Cup title was captured by Saudi Arabia defeating South Korea in the finals