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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011™: How it fared......

I wanted to write this after the first phase of the AFC cup was over but it’s only now that I have some time and I decided to do some analysis on the way this tournament has been shaping up (Let me honest – I haven’t watched any of the games the whole of 90 minutes, Just a bit here and there)

The tournament has now reached the Semi Final phase and 3 out of the 4 teams who have qualified for this phase wouldn’t surprise you. Australia, South Korea and Japan are the top three teams in the Asian zone and it’s Uzbekistan which has sprung a surprise by qualifying for the semifinals ahead of other heavyweights such as Iran and Iraq.

Let me start with India’s performance and nothing great was expected from this team which is ranked 144 in the world and had the lowest ranking among the other teams involved in the competition. But yes they did play better than expected. If compared with another two teams who didn’t open their points tally i.e. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, India scored 3 goals while both the teams scored 1 each. But the flipside to this would be that India conceded 13 goals against Saudi’s and Kuwait’s 7 and 8 respectively. A wide open Indian defense dint help matters and if it wasn’t for some great goalkeeping by the Indian goalie the ‘GA’ column would have had a much bigger number.

Uzbekistan were a real surprise who managed to top their group and reach the S/F’s beating Jordan 2:1. The host nation Qatar was expected to perform and they showed the world that they can play. But as they host the FIFAWC in 2022 and policy states that the host nation is guaranteed a place, I feel they would meet the same fate as Bafana Bafana when they hosted World Cup 2010.

Australia and Korea Republic were supposed to bring the tournament to light in their own blistering way. But some lackluster performance by both teams (though they got the results) has not increased this tournament popularity. Korea especially have not performed as a team that had reached the semi finals of a world cup a few years back. However their quarter final game against Iran was worthy of a final, and it was a close game with Korea nicking it in extra time.

Four teams left to compete for this coveted trophy and it would be no surprise if Australia wins it, as they seem to be the complete Asian team. However I would wish Japan reaches the final and makes it worthy of a great Asian final. Its time to Wait and Watch!!

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