International Competitions - October 12, 2022 18:00InStat - AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2022Analysis on the Kuwaiti challengeby Vladimir Kravtsov, Product Lead of InStat Futsal Project

On October 8 the 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup ended in Kuwait. The final game, played between the national teams of Japan and Iran, will certainly be remembered by those who watched it. The entire competition was full of exciting moments both for professionals and for the fans.

Let's explore the main statistical data for the tournament and break down the statistics of the final game separately.

When you look at the goal typology, you can see that the flying goalkeeper plays have become much less efficient. This is a universal trend that became clear during both the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup and UEFA Futsal Euro 2022, where it was even more evident. At the Asian Cup, when the teams played with a flying goalkeeper, they conceded more goals than they scored, with 14 goals for and 22 against.

Another fact worth noting is that counter-attacks produced more goals than the positional plays.
This suggests that improving counter-attacking skills is perhaps more important than working on positional attacks.

Naturally, we cannot ignore the fact that the entire tournament produced no goals from the second penalty mark (double penalty). Moreover, only two such shots were taken at all (allowed by Vietnam and Uzbekistan). It appears to be a direct result of the referees giving the players more freedom to contest the ball than the referees did at EURO 2022.

You can see this when comparing the number of fouls and the number of challenges during both competitions. Clearly, the refereeing style has a significant impact on the performance of the teams at each tournament.

Fouls and challenges stats at the last few major tournaments (per game average):
AFC Futsal Asian Cup – 10.8 fouls, 81.1 challenges. 1 foul per 7.5 challenges.
Futsal World Cup 2021 – 11.8 fouls, 83.3 challenges. 1 foul per 7.05 challenges.
Futsal EURO 2022 – 12.4 fouls, 71.4 challenges. 1 foul per 5.67 challenges.

An interesting statistical fact:
During the group stage the national team of Uzbekistan committed the most fouls - 20. Their quarterfinal opponent Kuwait was close with 18 fouls and the most yellow cards (5). It would have been reasonable to assume that in their quarterfinal game one of the teams would foul more than 5 times at least in one the halves. Yet the game Uzbekistan vs. Kuwait turned out to be the most cautious game of the competition, with 4 fouls in total. Uzbekistan committed only 1 foul during the entire match, which is very unusual, while Kuwait committed 3.

On the other hand, one of the roughest games of the tournament turned out to be the final game between Iran and Japan, with 15 fouls overall, which is the second highest number of fouls in the whole competition.

While interesting, this is not the whole story. If we look at the stats of both teams, we can see that in almost all of them, apart from the number of passes, Iran was better than Japan. Iranian players were also topping the lists in many parameters ahead of the final. However, these advantages did not allow the Iranian team to win.
(Asterisk denotes a team's advantage in a stat)

After the Japan's deserved victory, there was a lot of negativity towards the coaching staff of Iran on social media and from the journalists. Let’s see whether the negativity was justified.

During the final Iran was as dominating in most stats as before, however Japan dominated the game in challenges won.

Iran's attack was quite effective, producing 22 shots from very promising spots.
To benchmark this number to their previous performance, let’s compare Iran’s shot chart in the final with their shot chart in the semifinal against Thailand.

Looking at this comparison, we can see how important Japan’s goalkeeper, Guilherme Kuromoto, was to their victory.
He saved 91% of the shots he faced from Iran, which is an extremely high ratio. Such a performance from the goalkeeper who made his first tournament appearance in the semifinal due to the injury of Japan's first-choice keeper Pires Higor, was bound to have an effect on the mental state of the Iranian players, which resulted in the blunders that led to the second and, especially, the third goals by Japan.
Japan's goalkeepers overall put in a good display at the Asian Cup. Their rate of shots saved throughout the tournament was 90,14% which is second only to the Iranian team which had a slight advantage with 90,48% (however, their performance dropped during the final to only 75%). Japan’s goalkeepers also saved 10 out of 15 shots that were taken from the close range of less than 6 meters.

To summarize, the 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup was a tremendous display of futsal craftsmanship. The two finalists have given an impressive performance, both throughout the tournament and during the final game. Uzbekistan and Thailand confirmed their high level. Tajikistan and Indonesia have surprised both the fans and the professionals with their performance.

Breakout stars of the tournament included Hossein Tayyebi, Arthur Oliveira, Moslem Oladghobad, Tomoki Yoshikawa and Kazuya Shimizu. However, many others also proved worthy of the attention. It is very exciting to see what comes next for all of them.

If you’d like to learn more about the tournament, you can find all the AFC Futsal Asian Cup statistics and compilation videos for each player and team at

Posted by Luca Ranocchiari -->
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