Australia’s Ange Postecoglou and Mile Jedinak look forward to Asian Cup opener

Barny 8/01/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Confident: Postecoglou.

Australia head coach Ange Postecoglou and captain Mile Jedinak share their thoughts on Australia's Asian Cup opener against Kuwait.









Most popular

Related Sections

Japan stars ‘scared’ of ‘tough’ Asian Cup defence

Barny 8/01/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Pessimistic: Keisuke Honda.

Japan trained in Cessnock, New South Wales on Thursday before beginning their Asian Cup title defence in Australia next week.









Most popular

Related Sections

2015 AFC Asian Cup Group C & D: Team-by-team guide

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Up for grabs: The Asian Cup.

With the showpiece of Asian football kicking off in Australia on Friday, our reporter Matt Monaghan guides us through the teams competing in Groups A and B. 

– 2015 AFC Asian Cup Group A & B: Team-by-team guide

GROUP C

UAE 
Coach: Mahdi Ali 

Best finish: Runners-up (1996) 
Star player: Omar Abdulrahman 

One to watch: Mohamed Abdulrahman 
Strengths: Solid unit, well-honed under coach Ali. Boast fantastic resources of talent and know how to play competitive matches. 
Weaknesses: Team look tired after three years of non-stop action. 
Star man: Omar Abdulrahman struggling to be fit in time for Qatar opener. 
Verdict: Asia’s fifth-highest ranked team by FIFA, so should be competitive. Semi-final run possible.

BAHRAIN 
Coach: Marjan Eid
Best finish: Fourth place (2004)
Star player: Mohamed Husain

One to watch: Abdulla Helal 
Strengths: Can only improve after dire Gulf Cup campaign under Adnan Hamad. Number of experienced players are back in squad.
Weaknesses: Real dearth of talent compared to group rivals. Can caretaker Eid inspire them? 
Verdict: Look like cannon fodder in the competition’s toughest pool. Even a win looks unlikely.

IRAN 
Coach: Carlos Queiroz
Best finish: Champions (1968, 1972, 1976)
Star player: Reza Ghoochannejhad

One to watch: Sardar Azmoun 
Strengths: Queiroz has made the Princes of Persia incredibly hard to beat, with Argentina’s last-gasp World Cup victory as evidence.
Weaknesses: Obvious counter point is lack of goals. Iran media are also no friends of Queiroz, leading to poisonous atmosphere.
Verdict: Have nous to challenge for the title. Potential semi-final with Australia is one to watch.
 

QATAR 
Coach: Djamel Belmadi
Best finish: Quarter-finals (2000, 2011)
Star player: Khalfan Ibrahim

One to watch: Boualem Khoukhi 
Strengths: Belmadi has engineered a tight side able to flourish on the counter-attack through inventive Ibrahim and Khoukhi.
Weaknesses: If flair players are not at best, can look very one-dimensional. No natural replacement for discarded Sebastian Soria up top.
Verdict: November’s Gulf Cup win could take them far. Anything possible if progress past daunting group. 

GROUP C 

JAPAN 
Coach: Javier Aguirre
Best finish: Champions (1992, 2000, 2004, 2011)
Star player: Keisuke Honda

One to watch: Hiroshi Kiyotake  
Strengths: An established force in world football, nearly half the players play abroad. Position as holders gives belief.
Weaknesses: No outstanding forward to convert chances from delightful midfield.
Verdict: The champions will take some stopping Down Under. The team to beat.
 

JORDAN 
Coach: Ray Wilkins
Best finish: Quarterfinal (2004, 2011)
Star player: Odai Al Saify
One to watch: Khalil Bani Attiah  
Strengths: An underrated force in Asian football, only defeat to Uruguay in play-off preventing World Cup 2014 appearance.
Weaknesses: Recent form is awful, losing seven of last 10 matches.
Verdict: If Wilkins can return Jordan to their best, could be dark horses for competition.

IRAQ 
Coach: Radhi Shenaishil
Best finish: Champions (2007)
Star player: Humam Tariq

One to watch: Justin Meram 
Strengths: On-loan boss Shenaishil has a young squad, eager to prove themselves after November’s awful Gulf Cup showing.
Weaknesses: Onus is on veteran Younus Mahmood to score, but striker is without a club.
Verdict: A quarter-final exit would be a creditable return from the Lions of Mesopotamia.

PALESTINE 
Coach: Ahmed Al Hassan
Best finish: N/A
Star player: Ashraf Al Fawaghra

One to watch: Mahmoud Dhadha  
Strengths: Still riding wave from 2014 AFC Challenge Cup victory. Striker Al Fawaghra is proven in Saudi Arabian top flight.
Weaknesses: One of lowestranked teams in competition. Coach Al Hassan was only installed in October.
Verdict: Group D is Asian Cup’s weakest, but it will still be too tall an order to advance.

Most popular