The AFC Asian Cup is traditionally held approximately six months after the FIFA World Cup. The major event is a tournament which groups together the best footballing countries in Asia to battle for the cup. Like the World Cup, the tournament is held every four years. However, the exception was in 2007, when there was a gap of only three years. The first Asian Cup was held in Hong Kong in 1956, where just four nations (Hong Kong, South Korea, Israel and South Vietnam) competed. Now there are 16 countries competing for continental bragging rights, with Japan being the most successful nation, with four titles to their name.
Australia hadn’t competed in the competition until 2007, where they marked their debut by reaching the Quarter-Finals. In 2011, the Socceroos fared even better. Australia lost to Japan in extra-time in a dramatic Final. This was the catalyst to a fierce rivalry between the two proud nations. In January, 2011, Australia was announced as the host of the 2015 tournament, with matches to be played in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle and Canberra.
The Final of the 2015 Asian Cup will be played at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium, also known as ANZ Stadium. It is a world class venue which holds 84,000.
The 16 competing countries are put into four groups of four and play each other once. The top two sides from each group qualify for the Quarter-Finals. From that stage onwards, the remaining matches are all sudden-death. The event remains the second oldest continental football championship in the world, with the Copa America, which dates back to 1916, the oldest.
|YEAR||WINNER||RUNNERS UP||HOST NATION(s)|
|2007||IRAQ||SAUDI ARABIA||INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, THAILAND, VIETNAM|
|1988||SAUDI ARABIA||SOUTH KOREA||QATAR|