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Asian Cup Race Heats Up

Posted July. 16, 2007 03:26,   


Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) earlier this year. It is finding that competition in the Asian league is quite fierce. Australia requested to be included in the AFC last year. It thought that it would be easier to compete in the Asian league rather than competing in the South American league during the World Cup and Olympic preliminaries.

The 2007 Asian Cup is Australia`s debut stage. Australia lost to Iraq 1-3 in the second round of the AFC on July 13 in Bangkok, Thailand. It barely tied with Oman 1-1 with a goal in the final minute. Australia is now on the brink of being disqualified from the tournament with just one loss and one tie. It will have to beat Thailand big in the second round match just to get to the quarterfinals.

Australia has 20 players who play for premier European teams like Mark Viduka (Newcastle United) and Harry Kewell (Liverpool). Due to this outstanding lineup, people looked to Australia as the potential champion and looked forward to their performance. Crowds rushed to see the Australian stars, and the team even requested extra security in anticipation of this.

The Australian team’s performance has been worse than expected. They look slow on their feet and are not playing good defense. The foreign press commented that Australia`s poor performance is due to their difficulty in coping with the Southeast Asian climate and the poor field conditions. What seems to be even more crippling is the Australian teams lack of heart. It is as if the Australian players think they have nothing to gain from winning the Asian Cup because they are already celebrated players on the international stage. It is like they have no incentive to win. "The mental will of our players is gravely low. Some players did not even want to come here," lamented the team’s director, Graham Arnold. Australia must work hard if it wants to save face at the Asian Cup.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia beat Indonesia 2-1 in their second round D Group match. Korea will have to prepare for its upcoming game against Indonesia, which will have home field advantage.