AFC Asian Cup – A Retrospective (what a goddamn mess)

1 08 2007

Stuff needs fixin’…Ok… deep breaths…

Despite the glory of the winning team being Iraq, a fairytale storyline that could not have been scripted better… the AFC Asian Cup 07 was pretty much a shambles. Hosting it across 4 different countries may have lessened the load organizationally, but it created a logistic nightmare.

Now, no single country holds the blame, and there was some excellent football played throughout the 07 Event, but serious problems existed during it.

First of all, the heat. If you’re going to hold the games in the midst of Summer, then for the love of God, hold them at night. Is it any wonder many of the tournament’s top teams didn’t always live up to expectations? Teams traveling for literally half a day to get to destinations to play the next day, or even that night. Buses not showing up on time, charter flights & hotel reservations messed up. A twenty-five minute power outage in the middle of one game. In Bangkok, selecting a stadium on the outskirts rather than the National stadium in the middle of the city cost dearly, with games not any where nearly as well attended as they should have been.

The Japanese team suffered quite a bit, the organizers messing up their charter flight just prior to the third-place game versus South Korea – it wasn’t until the Japanese officials took matters into their own hands & chartered their own jet that they could travel to the remote Indonesian island of Palembang for the game. Upon arrival, not enough rooms were booked at accommodation, and players & officials had to share rooms (the official’s room apparently resembled a cheap backpacker’s dorm – there were so many bodies!). It’s highly probable that other nations have similar horror stories. Read the rest of this entry »





Breaking news: Vieira wins Asian Cup, then quits

30 07 2007

Exiting Iraqi National team coach, Jorvan VieiraJorvan Vieira – the coach of the Iraqi National football team, who just won the Asian Cup – has quit. The absolute disorganization of Iraqi football was the reason behind not extending his 2 month contract.

Immediately after winning, Vieira announced his decision, and even tho’ pretty much everyone who had anything to do with Iraqi football begged him to stay, he has stood by his decision. Whilst stating he had no regrets about taking the job, he did say

“…I can’t fight against everybody. I’m looking for a club or a national team with good organization … here I’m doing everybody else’s job.” Read the rest of this entry »





AFC Asian Cup 07: Iraqi Victory!!!

30 07 2007

AFC Asian Cup…Iraq have secured victory over Saudi Arabia in the final of the AFC Asian Cup 07. The historic win, Iraq’s first, came about when skipper Younis Mahmoud scored in the 71st minute. The Iraqi boys were clearly the superior team – the Saudis rarely threatened the goal-mouth. Only excellent keeping from Yaser Al Mosailem kept the score from spiraling.

The game was a fairly rough one, with Australian referee Mark Shields dealing 5 yellows in the first half. But he did keep control of the affair – and the result was well deserved.

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Asian Cup – The fall of Japan and South Korea

26 07 2007

Asian Cup 07So I don’t think I could’ve been more incorrect with my predictions on the 2 semi final games. My thoughts vs reality…

  • South Korea vs Iraq – I predicted a 3-2 win to South Korea… 0-0 scoreline, then Iraq winning 4-3 on penalties.
  • Japan vs Saudi Arabia – I stated I felt it would be a 2-1 win to Japan, and they fell short of that, the Saudis winning the game 3-2.

Iraq’s team wept with joy at their first ever trip to the finals of the Asian Cup, coming at the expense of South Korea. The first half saw Iraq with several opportunities squandered in front of goal – captain Younis Mahmoud missing twice, and Karrar Jassim missing a header that was sure to go in… However in the second half, the South Koreans put the pedal to the metal, going after the win, only the work of Iraqi goalkeeper Noor Sabri keeping the Iraq team in the game. South Korea continued to pepper at goal, and Noor was up to the task. At the end of regulation & extra time, Noor was still up to the task, Iraq winning on penalties. Read the rest of this entry »





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 – 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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