The Round-ball game… AFC Asian Cup ’07

2 07 2007

ball control…

So the Asian Cup opens on July 7th, and for a very large portion of the world, this means something.

Japan are pressing for a third consecutive win, but face stiff opposition now that Australia have joined the Asian area, leaving the Oceanic zone. It’s only a little over a year ago that Australia comfortably defeated Japan in the World Cup 3-1, and it’s a defeat that still smarts.

Scottish League MVP - Shunsuke NakamuraFrom Japan’s perspective, they head into the Asian Cup with a veteran squad, only two uncapped players making the team. Speedy Yoshiaki Ota and Kawasaki Frontale goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima are the only players new to International competition, and it’s quite unlikely that either will see much time on the turf. Japan have dominated the competition, having won 3 of the last 4 tournaments, and will be led ably by Scottish League MVP Shunsuke Nakamura.

Another country that will be looking to win will be the Saudi group. Another power-house within Asia, they have also won 3 times in the last six, and they’ve made 5 finals.

Australian skipper - Mark Viduka - in full flightBut the team that everyone is wary of is the Australian team. Led by Mark Viduka, who is playing some of the best football of his career, the Australian team has worked hard in preparation for the Asian Cup. The feeling around the Australian camp is that this is a true litmus test for a team that surprised many in last year’s World Cup. “I’m excited (by the Asian Cup) and looking forward to it — it will be a good tournament to see where we are at,” Viduka said. “The World Cup was a massive thing for us last year but, we have got to move on from that and start to assert ourselves in Asia.”

In Germany ’06, Japan struggled mightily against Australia’s physical play, and that was something Japanese head of federation Saburo Kawabuchi had plenty to complain about – both before & after the match. Many felt that Kawabuchi was merely trying to play into the minds of the officiating group, but it was a ploy that will be well-remembered by Australia… should the two play, there will be no love lost.

  • Group A: Australia, Oman, Iraq, Thailand
  • Group B: Japan, Qatar, UAE, Vietnam
  • Group C: China, Malaysia, Iran, Uzbekistan
  • Group D: Bahrain, Indonesia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia

The Asian Cup will be played in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam & Thailand, and kicks off on Saturday 7th of July in Thailand…

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3 responses

3 07 2007
3 07 2007

Will do, I plan on having daily updates… stay tuned…

10 10 2007
The Round-ball game… AFC Asian Cup ‘07 « Soccer News

[…] read more | digg story […]

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