Tough Times Loom for Australia

27 11 2007


No, not political commentary…

Qualifying draws for the Football (soccer) World Cup have been drawn up, and Australia looks to have a pretty tough group. Japanese media has been declaring it a nasty group for Japan – declaring that there are ‘rising forces’ in their pool, but I don’t see it. And South Korea & Iran have absolutely sweet draws.

Here are the groupings (FIFA rankings in parentheses):

  1. Australia (48); Iraq (70); China (85); Qatar (86)
  2. Japan (33); Oman (76); Bahrain (101); Thailand (113)
  3. South Korea (42); North Korea (117); Jordan (122); Turkmenistan (127)
  4. Saudi Arabia (57); Uzekistan (64); Singapore (130); Lebanon (137)
  5. Iran (40); UAE (99); Syria (109); Kuwait (121)

Don’t know what to make of it really, but it seems more than a little unbalanced. Australia has to face 3 teams that are all ranked 86 or higher. Coach?South Korea’s closest rival is North Korea, who would be the lowest ranked team in either Group 1 or 2. China and Qatar have to be feeling shafted, as their rankings would place them second in either Groups 3 or 5, and at worst a clear 3rd in any of the pools.

Still, at the end of the day, Australia is the top-ranked team in Group 1, and has control of it’s destiny. Win, or go home.
Now appoint a bloody coach.


Top Sports Stories in Japan… (Sept 12)

12 09 2007

Miho Maeshima rocks…MUCH cooler… wearing my Fiji Rugby top today… stir up some Japanese!

Today’s top sports stories in Japan’s media:

Top Sports Stories in Japan… (July 15)

15 07 2007

Lil’ black dresses rockWell, Typhoon #4 went through with very lil’ trouble, just a lotta wind & rain…

Today’s Nihon Sports-stories…

  • Hakuho & Kotomitsuki retain the lead in Nagoya (sumo)…
  • Giants fall again (NPB)… [Daily Yomiuri]
  • Signing in Seattle – Mariners tie up Ichiro!… [Mainichi Shimbun]
  • Germany beats Sweden for 3rd place in US Football WC… [Daily Yomiuri]

On July 16th (US Eastern time), the Carnival of the NBA will be published here…

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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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