Malaysia face South Korea test, Indonesia to take on Japan at AFC Asian Cup 2023

The most recent edition of the AFC Asian Cup -- held in United Arab Emirates in 2019 -- was won by Qatar for the first time after they beat Japan 3-1 in the final. Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Holders and hosts Qatar will take on China PR, Tajikistan and Lebanon in the group stages of the Asian Cup finals in January after the draw was conducted in Doha on Thursday.

Qatar, who won the title for the first time when the tournament was held in the United Arab Emirates in 2019, will open their defence on Jan. 12 against the Lebanese in Group A.

Japan, winners of the competition on a record four occasions and who were runners-up four years ago, have been drawn in Group D to face Indonesia, Iraq and Vietnam, currently led by former Japan coach Philippe Troussier.

Group B will feature 2015 champions Australia alongside Uzbekistan, Syria and India while three-time winners Iran headline Group C alongside United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Palestine.

South Korea will be looking to claim the title for the first time since 1960 and face Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain in Group E and Saudi Arabia, who won the most recent of their three titles in 1996, meet Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Oman in Group F.

The tournament, originally scheduled to be played in June and July this year, will run from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10 and is being held in Qatar after original hosts China stood down due to the country's COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Group A: Qatar, China PR, Tajikistan, Lebanon

Group B: Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria, India

Group C: Iran, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Palestine

Group D: Japan, Indonesia, Iraq, Vietnam

Group E: South Korea, Malaysia, Jordan, Bahrain

Group F: Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyz Republic, Oman