Update: 17:18 | 07/01/2019
The biggest Asian Cup in history has officially begun, with a brief but impressive opening ceremony at Zayed Sports City Stadium, in Abu Dhabi, the UAE on January 5 (local time).
Asia's biggest football festival in 2019 has officially started.
Audiences at the Stadium
Three famous UAE singers, Hussain Al Jassmi, Balqees Ahmed Fathi and Eida Al Menhali performed the tournament's theme song “Zanaha Zayed” (roughly translated: Bringing Asia together).
“Bringing Asia Together” is also the slogan of this year's Asian Cup, upholding the spirit of a united and successful Asia in many fields, including sports and football.
The highlight of the opening ceremony was the Origami falcons carrying the national flags of the teams participating in the Asian Cup 2019. The falcon is the national symbol of the UAE, and the mascot of this year's Asian Cup is Jarrah, a falcon.
There were roughly about 600 artists from the UAE and around the world participating in live performances at the opening ceremony.
This was the opening ceremony of an impressive Asian Cup with many records, such as the largest number of teams to attend (24 teams), and the largest number of viewers watching the live broadcast of the programme (more than 300 million).
A giant version of the Asian Cup 2019 trophy appeared on stage. Another special feature of this year's tournament is also at the trophy itself, as it is the first time the
The real trophy awarded to the champions is 72 cm tall, 42 cm wide, weighing 15 kg and was produced in monolithic silver. To make this trophy, the goldsmiths had to spend up to 400 hours of work.
Shortly after the opening ceremony, the opening match of the Asian Cup 2019 was held between the hosts UAE and Bahrain. The Asian Cup 2019 will take place from January 5 to February 1, with a total of 51 matches.