Asian Cup… Getting it done.

16 07 2007

Asian Cup… get that ball

Getting it done…

Some teams are, some teams are not. Japan did against Vietnam tonight, defeating them 4-1. UAE did tonight – ending the brief dreams of Qatar, defeating them 2-1.

Australia did… finally.

Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok – Australia beat Thailand 4-0, and that qualifies them for the quarter-finals (I think). Michael Beauchamp opened proceedings at the 21 minute mark, and Australia looked underway. Still, attempts were squandered left, right and center as Australia could NOT find the net. Then captain Mark Viduka, scored at the 80 minute mark, and yet again 3 minutes later! To put icing on the cake, Harry Kewell scored right on time – 90 minutes. Next… Japan.

My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi – Japan looked the goods against Vietnam, far too strong in a match, winning 4-1. But both teams head on to the quarters.

Army Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City – UAE were just too strong for Qatar, ending the possibility of the minnows making it.

Supachalasai Stadium, Bangkok – Iraq managed to eke out a draw against their gulf-state neighbors, Oman. 1-1.

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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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Thailand downs Oman – AFC Asian Cup 07

12 07 2007

AFC Asian Cup…Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok – The game started fairly even, both teams doing quite well… but then something snapped in the Omani ranks around mid-way through first half, and the referee began to resemble a black-jack dealer in a casino. Yellow card after yellow card for dissent or unsporting behavior, and Oman unraveled.

It took until the substitution of Pipat Thonkanya a bit into the second half, and then at the 70 minute mark of the game, Thonkanya scored for Thailand, and then 8 minutes after that he scored again to put the Thais up 2-0. They never looked back, and Oman hardly threatened.

This pretty much eliminates Oman, and shoots Thailand to the top of Group A as the unlikely leaders. It makes the game tomorrow between the fancied Australia & Iraq very, very interesting.

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Another DRAW??? Qatar holds Japan… (Asian Cup Football)

9 07 2007

Hard-hittin’ Asian Cup!A balmy night in My Dinh National Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City… and certainly not the result the current Asia Cup holders (Japan) were looking for, but after a 2nd half strike by Naohiro Takahara, Qatar came back and equalised with a late goal by the Uruguayan-born Sebastián Quintana.  And that was that… a fantastic result for Qatar, and a result that will ensure the Japanese daily papers are aflutter tomorrow.

So with 4 games down, that’s 3 1-1 draws (Thailand vs Iraq, Australia vs Oman, Japan vs Qatar). All three could be considered ‘upsets’ of a sort, as Iraq, Australia & Japan are all considered ‘Asian Powers’ in the footballing fraternity, and especially the Australian team (who only just lost to eventual winners Italy in last year’s World Cup), and Japan, who currently hold the Asian Cup title.AFC Asian Cup 2007

The only team to have actually won a game thus far is Vietnam, who defeated the more-highly-touted UAE, 2-0.

Tomorrow brings us the following games:

  • Indonesia vs Bahrain, in Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta (Indonesia)
  • Malaysia vs China, in National Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

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Australia steals a draw! (AFC Asian Cup 07)

8 07 2007

AFC Asian Cup…Tim Cahill scored a late goal to save Australia from an embarrassing opening game defeat against Oman. Midfielder Badar Mubarak scored in the 32nd minute for Oman, and kept the Australian team well in check for the majority of the game in the stifling heat in Bangkok. The Socceroos should feel lucky, as this definitely was an escape against a team which had them in all sorts of trouble for nearly the entire match.

Harry Kewell did look lively in the first half, narrowly missing a cross from Luke Wilshire… but for the majority of the match it was the keeping of Mark Schwarzer that kept Australian hopes alive. Timmy!That was, until Tim Cahill – subbed on at the 62nd minute mark – scored the equalizer.

Australia should feel damn lucky about this…

This leaves all of Group A on equal points after one round of matches. Oman face Thailand on Thursday the 12th, and Australia’s next game is against Iraq on Friday the 13th. Ominous… 😉

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Asian Cup 07 – Iran vs Thailand (1-1 Draw)

8 07 2007

Asian Cup 07Bangkok’s Rajamangala National Stadium – Although rain plagued this match from the very beginning, it was a fairly skilled affair – Thailand scored their goal six minutes into the game off a penalty, Sutee Suksomkit slotting it home with ease. However, Iraq controlled the tempo of the rest of the game, and narrowly missed several chances. Younis Mahmoud scored in the 32nd minute, and only Kosin Hathairattanakool’s good keeping stopped the Iraq team from taking this one away.

The Iraqis were dominant in the first half, the Thais were in the 2nd – however, this didn’t equate to a change in the result. The 1-1 scoreline was an accurate portrayal of the game.

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Beware Oman… Asian Cup 07

4 07 2007

Asian Cup 07

Preview #1 – Oman vs Australia (Group A, Sunday July 8th at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok)…

In the Asian Cup 07, group A is seen as the ‘group of death’. Iraq is a team that on their day, could beat anyone in the tournament. Co-hosts Thailand are going to be absolutely pumped to play at home. Australia is a newcomer to Asian football, but they are the team that went the furthest in last year’s World Cup (being beaten in controversial fashion by Italy, the eventual winner). And Oman is seen as one of the rising stars of Asian Football.

So the games beginning on Saturday July 7th between Thailand & Iraq, and Sunday July 8th between Australia & Oman in Thailand will go a long way towards telling us who is going to be the force from group A.

Badar Al Maimani of OmanOman goes into the match as the underdog, but they are not to be taken lightly. They have a dynamic offense – scoring 14 goals in 6 qualifying matches, and their nets are kept by Ali Al Habsi, the first Omani to play in the English Premiership, and one of Asia’s top keepers. They have a fast attack, supported by an offensive-minded midfield led by Ahmed Mubarak & Badar Al Maimani.

Harry!Australia go into the Asian Cup as overwhelming favourites, and their pace & depth should ensure that they get through the first match victorious. Players like captain Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill should ensure that Australia maximize the points. Still, in the hot humidity of Bangkok, anything can happen.

Argentinian Coach Gabriel Calderon had this to say: “It is football. Australia has very many good players, but sometimes surprises happen.”

Oman certainly hope so.

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