Australia head coach Ange Postecoglou and captain Mile Jedinak share their thoughts on Australia's Asian Cup opener against Kuwait.
Japan trained in Cessnock, New South Wales on Thursday before beginning their Asian Cup title defence in Australia next week.
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.
Coach: Mahdi Ali
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.