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The Asian Cup in 2000 was the twelfth edition of a tournament held every four years. It was started in 1956 and has continued since then. This edition of the tournament runs from October 12 to October 29, 2000 in Lebanon, an emerging nation in Asian football. There are twelve nations in three groups in the first round with eight of these making it through to the quarter-finals.


South Korea, then Iran and then Saudi Arabia have been the dominating force in the Asian region. The previous results in the final are:

1956 South Korea Israel 1-0
1960 South Korea Israel 3-0
1964 Israel India 2-0
1968 Iran Burma 3-1
1972 Iran South Korea 2-1
1976 Iran Kuwait 1-0
1980 Kuwait South Korea 3-0
1984 Saudi Arabia China 2-0
1988 Saudi Arabia South Korea 0-0, 4-3 pen
1992 Japan Saudi Arabia 1-0
1996 Saudi Arabia UAE 0-0, 4-2 pen


The opening game played before a full-house of 52,418, featured a humiliating loss for the home team with Lebanon losing 4-0 to Iran. The remainder of the tournament did not feature much improvement as Lebanon finished last in Group A and consequently their Croat manager Josip Skoblar was sacked. Skoblar was not the first manager to be sacked. Milan Macala, the Czech coach of Saudi Arabia, was dismissed after the defending champions lost 4-1 to Japan in their first game of the tournament. Nasser al-Jawhar, the assistant manager, was named as coach for the rest of the tournament. Group A was dominated by Iran, for whom Ali Daei managed a goal in all three games. In Group B China were the surprising winners led by experienced coach Bora Milutinovic. Korea Republic came third but still managed to make it through, led by 32 year old sweeper Hong Myung-Bu, the top defender in Asia for many years. In Group C Japan topped the group and Uzbekistan struggled losing 8-1 to Japan and 5-0 to Saudi Arabia. In the quarter-finals Lee Dong-Gook came on as a sub and provided an equaliser for a teammate and then scored a golden goal to help Korea Republic upset Iran 2-1. Japan kept up their high-scoring with a 4-1 win over Iraq with Hiroshi Nanami scoring twice. China and Saudi Arabia also won, with Saudi Arabia needing a golden goal. In the semi-finals Japan won 3-2 and Saudi Arabia won 2-1 to set up a repeat of the 1992 final. Japan matched that win in 1992 and in their opening game of this tournament to win the 2000 final 1-0 with a goal from stand-in midfielder Shigeyoshi Mochizuki who only played due to Junichi Inamoto's suspension. Man of the match was Japan's goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi who made a number of key saves. A full list of results are shown below:


Group Stage

Group A

12/10 Iraq                  2-0 Thailand

12/10 Lebanon           0-4 Iran

15/10 Iran                  1-1 Thailand

15/10 Lebanon           2-2 Iraq

18/10 Iran                  1-0 Iraq

18/10 Lebanon           1-1 Thailand

Group B

13/10 Korea Republic 2-2 China PR

13/10 Kuwait              0-0 Indonesia

16/10 China PR          4-0 Indonesia

16/10 Korea Republic 0-1 Kuwait

19/10 China PR           0-0 Kuwait

19/10 Korea Republic 3-0 Indonesia

Group C

14/10 Saudi Arabia     1-4 Japan

14/10 Qatar                1-1 Uzbekistan

17/10 Japan                8-1 Uzbekistan

17/10 Saudi Arabia     0-0 Qatar

20-10 Saudi Arabia     5-0 Uzbekistan

20/10 Japan                1-1 Qatar


Quarter Finals                           

23/10 Iran                   1-2 Korea Republic

23/10 China PR           3-1 Qatar

24/10 Japan                 4-1 Iraq

24/10 Kuwait               2-3 Canada


Semi Finals

26/10 Korea Republic 1-2 Saudi Arabia

26/10 China PR           2-3 Japan

Third Place Play-Off

29/10 Korea Republic 1-0 China PR           


29/10 Japan                1-0 Saudi Arabia



Japan won this tournament playing attractive, attacking football. Their team was even missing European based stars including Hidetoshi Nakata. The triumph was desperately wanted by Japan as their clubs have dominated Asian club football in recent years and this needs to be translated to an national level, and they are one of the co-hosts for the 2002 World Cup. Their best players were Hiroshi Nanami, and ex-Italian based player, and two stars of the Olympic team; Shunsuke Nakamura and Naohiro Takahara. Korea Republic, the other co-host for the 2002 World Cup, led by Lee Dong-Gook, who finished as top goalscorer with six goals, finished third. Saudi Arabia made history with their fifth consecutive final, despite sacking their manager after one game. China performed better than expected to take fourth place.


Sanyo MVP of Tournament     - Hiroshi Nanami (Japan)

MEA Best Defender                - Ryuzo Morioka (Japan)

Coca-Cola Best Goalkeeper    - Jiang Jin (China)

Snickers Fair Play Award        - Saudi Arabia

Asian All Stars XI                   - Jiang Jin (China)

                                               - Jamal Mubarek (Kuwait)

                                               - Hong Myung-bo (Korea Republic)

                                               - Mohammed Al Khilaiwi (Saudi Arabia)

                                               - Nawaf Al Temyat (Saudi Arabai)

                                               - Abbas Obeid Jassim (Iraq)

                                               - Karim Bagheri (Iran)

                                               - Hiroshi Nanami (Japan)

                                               - Shunsuke Nakamura (Japan)

                                               - Lee Dong-gook (Korea Republic)

                                               - Naohiro Takahara (Japan)


Top Goalscorer

6 - Lee Dong-gook             - Korea Republic

5 - Akinori Nishizawa         - Japan

5 - Naohiro Takahara         - Japan

3 - Ali Daei                         - Iran

3 - Hiroshi Nanami              - Japan

3 - Yang Chen                    - China

3 - Qi Hong                        - China

3 - Nawaf Al Temyat          - Saudi Arabia

3 - Talal Al Meshal             - Saudi Arabia

3 - Mohammad Al Shlhoub - Saudi Arabia


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