2011 AFC Asian Cup Diary

Below are some of the notes I kept while watching the AFC Asian Cup. I wasn’t able to watch many of the games, because for some reason the channel that I watched it on dropped coverage of the games after only a couple of days. Hence my “diary” is incomplete. However, there is enough stuff in here to cover at least some of the teams which the Azkals might be playing against soon.

Saturday, January 8, 2011
* China beats Kuwait, 2-0
– Latest FIFA rankings (as of Jan. 8, 2011): China 87, Kuwait 102
– Not impressed with either team, I didn’t see anything special with the way they played

Sunday, January 9, 2011
* Japan draws with Jordan, 1-1
– Latest FIFA rankings (as of Jan. 9, 2011): Japan 29, Jordan 104
– Near huge upset by Jordan, scoring first on the 44th minute, until a dramatic equalizer by Japan in injury time (91st minute)
– Japan is very impressive, they play very organized Football. They almost always know where their other teammates are at any given time, hence their offense is very fluid
– Japan retained a vast majority of the possession in the second half, and had one attempt after the other. Frankly, the equalizer in injury time was almost a disappointment, considering the possession and attempts they had. They should’ve won the game, instead of coming up with a draw.
– Kudos to the Jordanians for their very solid defense, though, keeping in step almost everytime the Japanese attacked

* Syria beats Saudia Arabia, 2-1
– Latest FIFA rankings (as of Jan. 9, 2011): Saudi Arabia 81, Syria 107
– These middle eastern teams are not as fluid in their play, but they play very aggressively, they’re very physical, and they are very quick on their feet. Their style of play is exciting to watch
– Despite the big difference in rankings, the match looked to be about even, with both teams having good runs at the goal, and it turning out to be an exciting match
– Just like in the first game, the lesser FIFA ranked team in Syria drew first blood, scoring in the 38th minute. The Saudis played more aggressively in the second half, doubling the number of attempts, finally equalizing in the 59th minute.
– A big surprise, though, as the Syrians were able to get the lead again just two minutes later by scoring another goal. The Saudis tried hard to equalize, and had quite a number of attempts, but all in vain.

Friday, January 18, 2011
* South Korea trounces India, 4-1
– Latest FIFA rankings (as of Jan. 18, 2011): South Korea 32, India 145
– What a mismatch. Sokor had possession almost 90% of the time on the Indian side of the field, and had tons of attempts. Credit the Indian defense for stopping most of the attempts, because if not, the score would’ve much more loopsided
– Indian goalkeeper Subrata Paul had at least 15 saves in the match. Kept shouting himself hoarse, though, all throughout the match, and you could hear it over the audio
– The Sokors really are world-class. Great passing, pinpoint accuracy, coupled with great plays they are a joy to watch. So dangerous when attacking. I can’t wait for the Japan-Sokor showdown, if ever it happens in this tournament.

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