For the first time, the Asian Cup final tournament was contested by 24 teams, having been expanded from the team format that was used from to Under this new format, the finalists would contest a group stage consisting of six groups of four teams, followed by a knockout stage of 16 teams. The host nation qualified for the final tournament automatically, while the remaining 23 places were determined among the other 45 national teams of the AFC through a qualifying competition running from toasian football tv of which also served as part of the FIFA World Cup qualification asian football tv for the confederation. The tournament was won for the first time by Qatarwho defeated Japan 3—1 in the Final. This was also Qatar's first ever top 4 finish in the competition. The defending champions Australiawere eliminated by asian food nutrition facts hosts Asian football tv at the quarter-final stages, who subsequently lost to the eventual champions in the semi-finals.