Australia is now Asian Cup winner, all around


The magnificent achievements of Australia’s men’s football team to join their female counterparts as winners of an Asian nations Cup is well recorded and analysed in Australia’s football and general media.

BOTN however can not let the occasion pass without commenting.

The enthralling and nail-biting battle to a 2-1 win in extra time by Australia over its  long term ‘foe’ South Korea in front of 76,000+ gold and red fans in Sydney, was the peak of the competition of course.  The Socceroos showed that the sparks sighted at the World Cup can be fanned into quite a fire; and on balance they were the best at competition.

Worthy winners then.

But there were other teams there.  South Korea, coming so close and showing tactical nous and discipline at times lacking in the past.  The United Arab Emirates, whose rawer quality showed they have a future on the up – especially if they win the holders rights to 2019.

Iran and Iraq, neighbours and at times enemies off the park. Iran made up for its weak showing in Brasil, and Iraq showed that the Cup win in 2007 was based on quality.

IMG_2015ACLWhat of Japan? Played within themselves, but in the end perhaps the pressure of club competition left their cup focus short.

I won’t go through, summing up all the others .. that has also been done … but my time in Newcastle watching Palestine standing tall for parts of the game against the might of Japan, as much in the stands as on the park was a delight.

So, 32 games, 101 goals, over 3 weeks or so. Over 650,000 fans at games, for an average of over 20,000 per game; in a supposed non-football country with a smallish-medium population. Canberra and Newcastle standing up and saying look at me!

Iranian women enjoying watching their nation’s football team and in summer wear.

Iraqi and Iranian fans spread out in Bruce Stadium, with nary a flicker of real enmity!

On the park, New stars!

For Australia, and Australians – a new connection with Asia, and watching football – the real football – both at the park and on TV!

What a ride!

By Chris Dunkerley

4 February, 2015