2011 AFC Asian Cup Live
Defending champions Iraq will be hoping to repeat their heroics from 2007 but start as massive underdogs when the 15th edition of the AFC Asian Cup kicks off in Qatar on January 7. Watch all the live Asian Cup football right here on your computer screens by signing up with us at Live Sport Network, the No 1 source to watch live soccer on the web.
The first Asian Cup tournament was held in 1956, just two years after the formation of Asian Football Confederation. South Korea won the inaugural edition of the tournament before successfully defending their title on their home soil. Following Israel’s solitary win in 1964, the Asia Cup was dominated by Iran and Saudi Arabia for nearly a decade with both the teams winning three each over a period of eight years.
Japan then won back to back titles in 2000 and 2004 to add to their solitary triumph on home soil in 1992 to pull level with Saudi Arabia and Iran as the most successful teams to have played in the competition before the decision was taken to shift the tournament by one year in order to avoid competing with European Championship during the summer.
2007 Asia Cup
Iraq were the surprise winners of the tournament last time around, beating teams such as Australia and South Korea enroute to the final where they pulled off another shock victory over tournament favorites Saudi Arabia. However the Lions of Mesopotamia are not expected to add to their tally this time around with Iraq being picked in a tough group which includes arch rivals Iran, North Korea and UAE.
Recently awarded with the hosting of 2022 World Cup, Qatar will be keen to show that they can indeed put up a successful football tournament. The Middle Eastern Emirate beat off competition from Iran and India to win the hosting bid.
Group A: Qatar, China, Kuwait, Uzbekistan: Hosts Qatar will be hoping that the tournament’s history of host nations progressing far in the competition continues but face a difficult challenge against China and Kuwait for a place in the quarter finals.
Group B: Saudi Arabia, Japan, Jordan, Syria: Three time winners Saudi Arabia and Japan are expected to secure a comfortable passage to the quarter finals with the final group game between the two Asian giants likely to decide who will be finishing at the top of the group.
Group C: Australia, South Korea, India, Bahrain: Australia and South Korea are favorites to occupy the top two spots in the group with AFC Challenge Cup Champions India and Bahrain not expected to pose any challenge for the two heavyweights.
Group D: Iraq, North Korea, UAE, Iran: The “Group of Death” in the competition, any of the four teams could qualify to the quarter finals. While Iraq will be hoping to repeat their title winning performance from last time around, they are clear underdogs in the group with Iran and North Korea likely to be the two teams progressing to the next round.
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