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AFC Asian Cup

Asian Cup 2019 stadiums: Your guide to the venues in the UAE

10:30 AM IST 05/01/19
Zayed Sports City Stadium Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and Sharjah will be the four cities hosting Asia's showpiece event in January 2019...

After hosting a FIFA Youth World Cup and a four FIFA Club World Cups, the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 comes to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for a second time after 1996.

The organizing committee had put forth a total of six venues after winning the hosting rights. However, in 2015, the AFC decided to increase the number of participants from 16 to make it a 24-team affair, in line with the 2016 UEFA Euros.

Now, eight venues across four cities in three emirates will see a total of 51 games being played. Initially, Dubai's Al-Ahli Stadium and Dubai Sports City Stadium were also considered but were dropped due to financial problems.

Every venue will host four group games as a minimum, with the allocation of knockout matches included in our comprehensive guide below

Zayed Sports City Stadium

City: Abu Dhabi
Capacity: 43,000

The biggest of UAE's stadiums for the Asian Cup - and the venue for the final - has seen FC Barcelona, Inter Milan and last year, Real Madrid lift the FIFA Club World Cup trophy.

Opened in 1979, it was redeveloped in 2009 and remains as a heritage venue for the country. The structure also finds itself featured on UAE's 200 Dirham note.

In the national capital, the stadium serves as the home ground for the men's national team. It will also host the Special Olympics World Summer Games in March 2019.

Group games: UAE vs Bahrain (opening game), Iraq vs Vietnam, India vs UAE, Oman vs Japan, Saudi Arabia vs Qatar

Knockout games: Round of 16, quarter-final, final

Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium

City: Abu Dhabi
Capacity: 42,056

Home ground of Al-Jazira Club, the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium was also constructed in 1979. However, to co-host the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup, the venue was modernised and the capacity was increased to make it a world-class facility.

The stadium which started out as a 15,000-seater has also hosted a few non-international cricket games and is named after the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces, Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.

Group games: Iran vs Yemen, Philippines vs China, Palestine vs Jordan, Oman vs Turkmenistan

Knockout games: Round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final

Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium

City: Al Ain
Capacity: 25,965

The newest and swankiest of venues, the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium was voted 2014 Stadium of the Year soon after it opened! Designed and engineered to perfection, construction was completed within just 16 months of breaking ground.

Located around a two hour's drive from Abu Dhabi, Al-Ain FC now calls it home.

Group games: Australia vs Jordan, Qatar vs Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan vs South Korea, UAE vs Thailand, Vietnam vs Yemen

Knockout games: Round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final

Al-Maktoum Stadium

City: Dubai
Capacity: 15,000

It has been a hush-hush affair as Al Nasr's home ground gets a major facelift for the Asian event. The stadium facade can be illuminated and change colours, reminding one of Munich's Allianz Arena.

Group games: South Korea vs Philippines, Bahrain vs Thailand, Lebanon vs Saudi Arabia, Iran vs Iraq

Knockout games: Round of 16, quarter final

Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium

City: Dubai
Capacity: 12,000

The second stadium in Dubai to be used in the tournament, it is the home of Al-Shabab Al-Arabi Club. Four years ago, there were plans to make it the largest stadium in the Middle-East with a 60,000 plus-capacity but such plans never saw the light of day.

A slight refinement later, it will play host to five games in January 2019.

Group games: Saudi Arabia vs North Korea, Palestine vs Australia, Turkmenistan vs Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan vs Philippines

Knockout games: Round of 16

Al-Sharjah Stadium

City: Sharjah
Capacity: 11,073

The address next door is much more famous but both the Sharjah football and cricket grounds are housed on the same campus. Incidentally, India will play their last group game here, at the home of Sharjah FC.

Group games: Syria vs Palestine, Uzbekistan vs Oman, Yemen vs Iraq, India vs Bahrain, Lebanon vs North Korea 

Knockout games: Round of 16

Khalifa Bin Zayed International Stadium

City: Al Ain
Capacity: 16,000

The older stadium in the city of Al Ain, it also hosted some games back in the 1996 Asian Cup. Even a few matches in the 2003 FIFA Youth Championship were played here. It now acts as a second-fiddle to the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in the city.

Group games: China vs Kyrgyzstan, Jordan vs Syria, North Korea vs Qatar, Australia vs Syria, Japan vs Uzbekistan

Knockout games: Round of 16

Al-Nahyan Stadium

City: Abu Dhabi
Capacity: 12,000

Built for the 2003 FIFA Youth Championship, Al-Wahda FC's home ground will be the third venue in Abu Dhabi city! India open their campaign against Thailand on day two of the competition here.

Group games: Thailand vs India, Japan vs Turkmenistan, Vietnam vs Iran, South Korea vs China

Knockout games: Round of 16