You give me FIBA (Asia)!

6 08 2007

Victory for Iran in FIBA Asia!I have not done so well on tipping winners in this tournament… congratulations must go to

IRAN!

Who defeated Lebanon in the final of the ’07 FIBA Asia 74-69. Going into the game as underdogs, the Iran unit lifted their game to not only match, but surpass their much-touted opponent. It was definitely a case of strength & skill versus inspiration, and this time inspiration won out. Lebanon played well, but had no answer for the passion of Iran.

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Asian Cup – Playin’ with the big boys now

24 07 2007

Asian Cup… get that ballSo, I’m back from my lil’ country sojourn, and I’m well due to post some commentary on what’s been going on in the Asian Cup… so here goes!

  • Iraq 2 – Vietnam 0: well, I am not surprised with this result. Iraq have long been a good team in Asian football, and Vietnam are a relative newcomer. 2-0 is an accurate reflection of the distance between the two teams. Still, Vietnam’s had a good tourny, and will improve over the next few years.
  • Iran 0 – Sth Korea 0 (Sth Korea win on penalties 2:4) – again, no surprises. The only shock for me in regards to these teams was how slowly the South Korean boys started. A team with a real chance…
  • Saudi Arabia 2 – Uzbekistan 1: Impressive stuff by the Uzbekis to stay within striking distance of a real powerhouse team in the Saudis.
  • And with Japan’s (hurts me to say this) deserved win over Australia, the semi finals are set.

Semi-finals are on the 25th of July…

  1. South Korea vs Iraq (6:20pm, National Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur) – should be a good game, but if the South Korean team can continue their current form, I think they’ll run out winners. Both teams attack well, so I’m predicting a 3-2 scoreline.
  2. Japan vs Saudi Arabia (8:20pm, My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi) – a damn good game here. I think Japan have the goods, but it will be close. The Saudis have flair, but I think the Blue-boys will win 2-1.

That will mean we’ll be faced with a South Korea vs Japan final, and as far as drama… it just doesn’t get any better.

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AFC Asian Cup – last of the rounds. Next, quarters…

19 07 2007

Asian Cup 07So the last games of the regular rounds were played last night (sorry about no updates – I was at the baseball). Here are the results:

  • China were beaten by Uzbekistan, 3-0. This loss eliminates China.
  • Saudi Arabia beat Bahrain, 4-0.
  • South Korea beat Indonesia 1-0. This win, and Bahrain’s loss, eliminates Bahrain, and South Korea squeeze through!
  • Iran beat Malaysia 2-0. Malaysia immediately sack their coach, Norizan Bakar.

So, the teams that qualify for the Quarter finals are set. They are as follows:

  • From Pool A, Iraq & Australia
  • From Pool B, Japan & Vietnam
  • From Pool C, Iran & Uzbekistan
  • From Pool D, Saudi Arabia & South Korea

AFC Asian Cup 2007This means the quarters shape up as:

  1. Iraq vs Vietnam (21/7/07, 20:20 at Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok)
  2. Iran vs South Korea (22/7/07, 18:20 at National Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur)
  3. Japan vs Australia (21/7/07, 17:20 at My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi)
  4. Saudi Arabia vs Uzbekistan (22/7/07, 20:20 at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta)

Some fantastic matches coming up… (all matches given in local times)

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Asian Cup stuff… China draw with Iran, and Bahrain win one!

16 07 2007

Hard-hittin’ Asian Cup!

National Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur – So this end result eliminates Malaysia, but that was only a matter of time anyway… But Iran managed to hold China to a draw – and that’s what it was: China threatened all night, and Iran defended valiantly. China were on the attack from the get-go, and in the 6th minute Shao Jiayi netted one off a penalty. At the 33 minute mark China got their second when Mao Jianqing slammed one home.

Shamed into action, facing a slaughter – the Iranians came to life. Mahdavikia slipped a goal through at the end of the first half, and there was a glimmer of hope. The Iran boys attacked, and attacked, and the Chinese calmly absorbed the pressure – On the 73rd minute, Nekounam headed a fantastic goal home. End result: 2-2.

Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta – Bahrain finally got their win with a 2-1 win over South Korea. Bahrain stunned the two-time champion, getting the winner off Ismail Abdullatif. South Korea started well, and goaled at the 4 minute mark – Kim Do-heon sliding it home. Just prior to half time, Salman Isa leveled the show, and got the winner at the 85 minute mark.

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Asian Cup – Australia blown away by Iraq!

13 07 2007

Asian Cup… ouch.

Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok – Man… I’m gutted. Australia lost this game 3-1… which basically means that we (yes, I’m Australian) have to give Thailand an absolute HIDING (to make up goal difference) to have any chance at all of even making the quarter finals.

My apologies for not bringing a more detailed version of this, but meh… it’s Friday night, my team just lost, & I’d rather drink this nice bottle of white with a bud of mine. Short version: Iraq got three goals. Australia didn’t.

BUT… as a special bonus, giving you the highlights of the Iran vs Uzbekistan match… including the own-goal by Rahman Rezaei. A really foolishly executed ‘defensive header’.

(edit – adding Japan vs UAE to this post)

My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi – Japan put their quest for a 3rd straight Asian Cup back on track with a good 3-1 win over the United Arab Emirates.  Up 3-0 by half time, the UAE side was never in it – totally outclassed.  Scottish league MVP Shunsuke Nakamura ripped a penalty into the nets, and Bundesliga striker Naohiro Takahara scored twice in 5 minutes.

Saeed Alkas slid the ball past Japan’s keeper, Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi – but all night he was up to the task set before him, and UAE didn’t really threaten.

If not for excellent work by goalkeeper Majed Nasser, the scoreline could’ve read even more lopsided.  Either way, UAE become the first team eliminated from the Asian Cup.

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Asian Cup 07 – China vs Malaysia highlights…

12 07 2007

Asian Cup 07

AFC Asian Cup 07… Here’s some footage courtesy of YouTube on the 5-1 beatdown thrashing mauling win China administered over Malaysia on July 10th.

I’m not really sure if China are really that impressive, or Malaysia are that bad. I’m leaning towards the former. We’ll see a bit more of an indication when China play Iran on Sunday. One hopes Malaysia get it together a bit better against Uzbekistan.

Accompanied by Galvanize by The Chemical Brothers…

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Asian Cup Football: Iran vs Uzbekistan… Ooops.

11 07 2007

AFC Asian Cup… did he just score an own goal?National Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – So this game began about as inauspiciously as any football game could: with an own goal. At a little after the 16 minute mark, defender Rahman Rezaei slotted one home for Iran – into his own goal. Ouch.

For the vast majority of the game, that was the scoreline: 1-0, Uzbekistan’s lone strike coming off sheer ineptitude. Then lo & behold, the tenor of the game changed – Iran definitely looked like a different team in the 2nd half. Dashing defender, Seyed Jalal Hosseini, found the net (this time the right one!), and equalized at the 55 minute mark! Iran continued to press the Uzbekistan defense, and nearing completion of the game, moved ahead with a great goal from Javed Kazemian (78 min). Time ran out for the Uzbekistan boys, and the Iranians ran out due winners… with three goals to their name… just 1 in the wrong net.

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