December 29, 2018 / 9:33 AM / 3 months ago

Factbox - Syria at the Asian Cup

(Reuters) - Factbox on Syria ahead of the Asian Cup, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates from Jan 5 to Feb 1:

FIFA world ranking: 74

Ranking in Asia: 6

Previous Asian Cups: 5

Best performance: Group stage (1980, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2011)

2015: Did not qualify

Nickname: Qasioun Eagles

Coach: Bernd Stange

Regular captain: Omar Al Somah

Player to watch: Omar Kharbin

Recent form:

Sept 10 Kyrgyzstan 2-1 Syria Bishkek

Oct 11 Bahrain 0-1 Syria Riffa

Oct 16 China 2-0 Syria Nanjing

Nov 16 Oman 1-1 Syria Muscat

Nov 20 Kuwait 1-2 Syria Ardiyah

Fixtures:

Group B

Jan 6 Syria v Palestine Sharjah

Jan 10 Jordan v Syria Al Ain

Jan 15 Australia v Syria Al Ain

Bernd Stange has one goal above all others when he leads Syria to the finals of the Asian Cup next month — to put a smile back on the faces of the country’s war-ravaged people.

The veteran German coach was lured out of retirement earlier this year to take charge of the Syrians as they seek to build on their remarkable run to the verge of qualifying for their first World Cup finals last year.

And while a playoff loss at the hands of Australia ended those hopes — the 70-year-old is hoping to revive memories of that campaign at the continental championship in January. [L3N1YQ66Z]

Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien

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