Japan v Qatar: Yoshida urges calm ahead of Asian Cup final

Qatar's defender Hamid Ismeil celebrates his goal during their 2019 AFC Asian Cup semi-final match against UAE at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi

Qatar's defender Hamid Ismeil celebrates his goal during their 2019 AFC Asian Cup semi-final match against UAE at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani for winning the Asian Cup after beating four-time champion Japan on Friday.

"The Asian Football Confederation Disciplinary and Ethics Committee on Friday dismissed the protest lodged by the United Arab Emirates Football Association over the eligibility of two Qatar players", it said.

The two leaders also discussed bilateral relations and pledged to continue to further strengthen ties, presidential sources said.

"This is one step more toward being ready for 2022 and [to] represent Qatar as a very competitive team at the World Cup".

But Hajime Moriyasu's new-look side lacked end product against Qatar, who had never previously gone beyond the last eight. Winning a championship with the national team has a different emotion to it.

That match and Qatar's win 3-1 in the final were not reported on by the site.

For that, they have the Copa America and finally the qualifiers in the autumn.

The Khaleej Times had a story headlined "Unlucky Japan lose AFC Asian Cup final", saying that "Japan fought until the last second, and like a champion side, dug deep to grab a positive result but couldn't succeed".

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Qatar secured the sweetest of triumphs courtesy of goals from the competition's top scorer Almoez Ali, Abdelaziz Hatim and Akram Hassan Afif.

Qatar erupted in celebration after Tuesday's semi-final Asian Cup victory over the UAE, with the humiliating drubbing coming amid a backdrop of political tensions.

The Asian Cup success is a major boost for Qatar, ahead of the 2022 World Cup, which will mark the team's debut at the tournament.

"But no excuses, Qatar played well", added the Southampton defender.

Japan captain Maya Yoshida was the rock at the heart of Japan's run to the Asian Cup final with his coolness under pressure and no-nonsense approach. "We will learn a lot there that will benefit us as a team".

To win the title was perhaps unexpected, but to do so in the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries to join with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in breaking off relations with Qatar in June 2017, is likely to feel even more satisfying for those in Doha.

Afif clocked up a tournament-record 10 assists and formed a devastating partnership with Ali, underlining Qatar's cohesion in both defence and attack after years spent playing together. "To us it's no surprise that we are in the final", said the Spaniard, who has received messages of support from Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger.

"All the players are working with us, so no worries".

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