The final draw for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup was held last night in Sidney, Australia. Korea was in the second pot (thanks FIFA rankings), but ultimately it didn’t matter much.
Group A – Australia, KOREA REPUBLIC, Oman, Kuwait
Group B – Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Korea DPR
Group C – Iran, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain
Group D – Japan, Jordan, Iraq, 2014 Challenge Cup Winner (TBD)
Most of the groups should be straight forward (in terms of who will advance). Group B has an interesting storyline in the match between China and North Korea. Japan got a fairly easy group, and likely has a pretty straightforward path to the final. Korea will expect to make the finals as well, but our task seems a bit trickier.
Jan. 10 in Canberra – South Korea vs Oman
Jan. 13 in Canberra – Kuwait vs South Korea
Jan. 17 in Brisbane – Australia vs South Korea
A quarterfinal match with North Korea is possible. The most likely scenario would see South Korea win group A and North Korea finish second in group B (it’s hard to see North Korea topping their group).
South Korea vs Japan? A semifinal or final matchup, likely depending on how South Korea qualifies out of their group. A second place group finish would likely result in a semifinal meeting again. Topping the group would likely mean a potential han-il jeon final in Sydney.
Jinseok jumps in here:
Assuming we top the group, we would meet Iran in the semifinals and Japan in the finals, whereas if we get 2nd place we would meet Japan in the semis.
I expect something like this:
I’m still very sour about that 2011 AC semifinal. That was our game. Freaking Hosogai’s goal that came from a penalty call from a foul outside the box. Japan were not better than us back then and we were pretty even compared to the gulf we see now due to CKR/CKH’s disasterous tenures. Can we please set things right this time?
This year, however, will be a little better than previous years. Iran always tires us out and stalemated us in the past five or six years, and last year at least we only got three days of rest in between games.
But looking at the chart I posted above, this year the timing is on our side (assuming we get first place in our group). We play our QF match, presumably against either China or Saudi Arabia, a day before Iran plays their QF, giving us 4 days of rest as opposed to their three. And when we beat Iran on the 26th, the day after that Japan will play their semi on the 27th, giving us the one extra day of rest this time, hopefully cancelling out the physically taxing efforts any Iran game will surely bring.