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 News of Group A B C D

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mike



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Registration date : 2007-02-13

PostSubject: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:52 am

Group A


Australia


Arnold wants Aussies to show class
Jun 22, 2007
PA Sport


SYDNEY - Coach Graham Arnold is keen for Australia to show why they are one of the strong favourites to win the AFC Asian Cup this summer.

Despite making their first appearance in Asia’s showpiece tournament for the first time, many expect the Socceroos to be at the very least contesting the final come July 29 in Jakarta.

However, Arnold is keen for his players to demonstrate throughout the tournament that faith in his side is not misplaced.

"I want people to give us the favourites tag because we deserve it," he said.

“It seems they're talking about us being favourites and I want it to be a positive, not a negative.
"I want the players to go out there and really show that we're a very, very good side."

As well as the likes of Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran standing in between the Aussies and Asian Cup glory, another obstacle to overcome will be the severe conditions they will face.

Arnold’s men will play all their group games in Thailand as they face Oman, Iraq and the co-hosts, before potential trips to Vietnam and Malaysia for the knockout stages if they make it that far.

With temperatures not expected to drop below 30 degrees, and more importantly humidity rising to as much as 95%, the environment could prove as tough as any opponent they will face.

Arnold knows the importance of his players getting used to the extreme heat, something a two-week training camp in Singapore will prove vital towards achieving.

"The mornings are much hotter than the afternoons, so in the mornings it'll be getting them to get out in the heat even if they are just walking around and kicking the ball around," Arnold added.

"In the afternoon, around match-time, they'll be getting their two-hour training session to acclimatise to those conditions at that time of evening."

Arnold is also hoping to foster an excellent team spirit during the tournament, believing it will prove beneficial to Australia’s bid.

"I want the players to enjoy it and have fun and if they're doing that, they're going to enjoy the six weeks,” he said.

“It can't become a chore and a task otherwise you'll have problems off the field.

“Six weeks is a long time together and provided we make the final, we're going to need more than one captain.

“We're going to need the leadership group of five or six players to do a lot of work off the field to keep the team together.

"So we're going there to enjoy it, have fun off the field and enjoy the culture of Asia."

Meanwhile, Tim Cahill is hoping to create another piece of history when Australia open their campaign against Oman on July 8.

The Everton midfielder scored Australia's first ever World Cup goal in 2006 during the 3-1 win over Japan.

Having fully recovered from a broken bone in his foot, the 27-year-old now wants to repeat the feat in the Asian Cup.

"I'd love to be the first to score in Asia as well," Cahill said.

"It's the first time we've gone into a competition going in as favourites so it's a massive compliment.

"It's an opportunity for us to really keep this momentum flowing and to really have a good chance of getting some silverware."



Thailand

Chanvit pleased with Germany tour
Jun 21, 2007
PA Sport


BERLIN - Thailand coach Chanvit Pholchovin believes the warm-up matches in Germany will provide invaluable match practice ahead of the AFC Asian Cup.

The Thai team will play amateur side TSV Lennarts on Thursday night while they defeated Borussia Fulda 2-1 last week.

Chanvit is using the tour to give his players the chance to prove themselves before he makes his decision on his final 23-man squad.

And though they were unable to secure a game against one of the Bundesliga heavyweights, Chanvit is still hopeful that the games will help resolve weaknesses in the team.

"We haven't had a chance to play any top German teams," he said in the Bangkok Post. "It doesn't matter too much, although I would have preferred we played a top team to test our defensive set-up.

"We have to be careful with quick counter-attacks so that our defenders are not caught out of position."




Oman


Iraq

Few surprises for Iraq
Jun 18, 2007
PA Sport

BAGHDAD - New Iraq coach Jorvan Vieira has sprung few surprise after naming his 23-man squad for the upcoming Asian Cup campaign as veterans Emad Mohammed and Qusai Munir are left out of the initial party.

The experienced duo have been named as standby players for the continental showdown, where Iraq have been drawn in Group A alongside co-hosts Thailand, Oman and tournament newcomers Australia.

Brazilian Vieira replaced Akram Salman, who was sacked last month after Iraq’s early exit from the Gulf Cup last January in the UAE.

Iraq have already played out back-to-back draws against Jordan ahead of the tournament and will face Korea Republic on June 29 before facing a domestic K-League side two days later during their pre-tournament training camp.
Iraq squad for Asian Cup: Ahmed Ali, Noor Sabri, Mohammed Kassid; Haidar Abdulamir, Bassim Abbas, Jassim Hajji, Ali Hussein Rehema, Khaldoun Ibrahim, Haidar Abdulrazzaq, Jassim Gholam, Ali Abbas, Nabil Abbas; Nashat Akram, Saleh Sadir, Mahdi Karim, Haitham Kadhim, Ahmed Abd Ali, Karrar Jassim, Hawar Mulla Mohammad; Younis Mahmoud, Mohammed Nassir, Ahmed Mnajed, Loay Salah.

Reserves: Mohammed Ali Karim; Qusai Munir, Samer Saeid, Dara Mohammed, Farid Majid; Ala'a Abdulazahra, Imad Mohammed.







AMMAN – Iraq qualified is style for the WAFF Championship final after trouncing Syria 3-0 on Friday in the semi-finals at Amman International Stadium.

First half goals from Younes Mahmoud and Ahmed Mnajed and a late strike by substitute Saleh Sadir sealed the win for Iraq who will play the winners of the second semi-final between Jordan and Iran on Sunday.

The huge contingent of Iraqi fans who showed up at Amman International Stadium had to wait for only seven minutes for their side’s opening goal as a handball inside the Syrian area earned them a penalty which striker Younes Mahmoud duly dispatched.

Despite the early goal, the first half was largely disappointing and only came to life again in the 43rd minute when Iraq got their second as Ahmed Mnajed fired a powerful low shot into the bottom left corner of area Mosab Balhous’s goal.

Iraq nearly added a third goal in stoppage time when Younes Mahmoud cut in from the left flank and set up Nashat Akram with a neat pass only for the striker to see his effort come back off the right post.

The Syrians improved in the second half and could have pulled a goal back in the 58th minute when Al Karama midfielder Jihad Al Hussein broke clear with only the goalkeeper to beat but saw his effort saved by Noor Sabri.

Iraq coach Jorvan Vieira made several substitutions in the second half as, bringing on Karrar Jassim, Ali Abbas and Saleh Sadir and the changes paid dividends as Iraq made it 3-0 with only four minutes left on the clock.

Jassim, who came on in the 71st minute, saw his attempted pass to Sadir cut off by the Syrian defence but he gathered the loose ball and slipped it through at the second attempt to Sadir, who curled the ball past Mosab Balhous just three minutes after coming into the pitch.

Iraq are preparing for next month's AFC Asian Cup where they will be competing in Group A along with co-hosts Thailand, newcomers Australia and Oman.


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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:12 pm

Japan to host Cameroon (Group B)

TOKYO - Japan will host Cameroon in an international friendly in Oita on August 22 in their first outing after the Asian Cup.

The Japan under-22 side will also play Vietnam at the National Stadium in Tokyo on the same day in their opening match of the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics.

Japan will take on Cameroon at 6:40 p.m. local time, while the Olympic qualifier between Japan and Vietnam will start at 8:30 p.m. local time.


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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:16 pm

UAE ease to victory over Malaysia (Group B)

PETALING JAYA – Gulf Cup champions UAE stepped up their preparations for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup with a resounding 3-1 victory over co-hosts Malaysia at the Stadium Petaling Jaya on Thursday.

Malaysia, who are co-hosting next month’s continental showpiece with Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, fell behind to Bruno Metsu’s side after nine minutes as Faisal Khalil slammed home a rebound from Nawas Mubarak’s initial effort.

Akmal Rizal Rakhli and Hairuddin Omar both missed chances in the first-half for Malaysia before substitute striker Ismail Matar doubled the UAE’s advantage eight minutes after the restart.

Matar, top-scorer as the UAE landed a maiden Gulf Cup crown under French coach Metsu in January, converted from close range before Mohamad Al Shihi capitalised on a defensive error to add a third eight minutes after the hour mark.

Eddy Helmi Manan’s second half introduction appeared to spark the home side into life as the midfielder opened up the UAE on several occasions with a string of defence splitting passes.

The home side finally grabbed a late consolation as Eddy crossed from the right and Akmal, who had missed to early chances, converted from close range.

“The result is not as important as how we played,” said UAE coach Metsu, who is hoping to guide his side out of Group B of the Asian Cup, which contains defending champions Japan, Qatar and co-hosts Vietnam.

“I told the players that they must forget the result as this match is only a preparation – the actual matches in the Asian Cup will be different.”
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:17 pm

Group C


China

China drop Li Jinyu for Asian Cup

BEIJING - China head coach Zhu Guanghu has sprung a surprise by deciding to leave out striker Li Jinyu from his squad for next month’s Asian Cup finals.

Zhu revealed his final squad of 23 on Thursday, and while there were places for overseas-based players Zheng Zhi, Sun Jihai, Shao Jiayi and Dong Fangzhuo, the main talking point was the omission of Li, the leading scorer in Chinese professional football history.

”Li Jinyu is a talented striker,'”explained Zhu. “But he is not in good form and wouldn't be a real threat to our rivals in the Asian Cup.”

Li was the top scorer in the China Super League last season with 26 goals as he helped Shandong Luneng to run away with the title.

However the 30-year-old, who had a spell with French side AS Nancy in 1999, has been in indifferent form this year with only five goals in the league and three in the AFC Champions League, all of them against Vietnamese side Dong Tam Long An.

It was not enough to convince Zhu, who opted for Li’s Shandong teammate Han Peng, Manchester United prospect Dong, nimble Qingdao Zhongneng striker Qu Bo and the Dalian Shide pair of Zhu Ting and Wang Peng as his forwards.

Zhu, who took charge of the national team in 2005 after leading Shenzhen Jianlibao to the Chinese league title, has been under pressure from Chinese fans after seeing his side suffer defeats in recent friendlies against Thailand and the United States.

The China coach intends to fine-tune the squad following the return of Zheng Zhi - who recently completed a loan spell at Charlton Athletic - and Manchester City defender Sun Jihai. Neither player appeared in China’s recent friendlies.

While Zhu has no space in his squad for Li Jinyu, he has kept faith with midfielder Li Tie, who has is on the books of Sheffield United but has not appeared in the Premier League since suffering a broken leg three years ago.

“He helps the squad spirit even if he is only on the bench,'' said Zhu of his decision to include the 29-year-old. “He often shouts to encourage the team mates, keeping them focussed.”

Zhu also selected five players from the U-23 national team including Shandong midfielder Zhou Haibin and Shanghai Shenhua left winger Mao Jianqing, in an effort to spark his senior players, while former skipper Li Weifeng was included despite still recovering from injury.

China will play their Group C matches at the Asian Cup in Kuala Lumpur against Iran, Uzbekistan and co-hosts Malaysia.

China squad for Asian Cup: Li Leilei (Shandong Luneng), Yang Jun (Tianjin Teda); Du Wei (Shanghai Shenhua), Zhang Yaokun (Dalian Shide), Li Weifeng (Shanghai Shenhua), Sun Xiang (Shanghai Shenhua), Sun Jihai (Manchester City), Ji Mingyi (Dalian Shide), Cao Yang (Tianjin Teda), Zhang Shuai (Beijing Guoan); Li Tie (Sheffield United), Wang Dong (Changchun Yatai), Zhao Xuri (Dalian Shide), Shao Jiayi (Energie Cottbus), Zheng Zhi (Shandong Luneng), Zhou Haibin (Shandong Luneng), Mao Jianqing (Shanghai Shenhua), Zheng Bin (Wuhan Huanghelou); Han Peng (Shandong Luneng), Wang Peng (Dalian Shide), Qu Bo (Qingdao Zhongneng), Dong Fangzhuo (Manchester United), Zhu Ting (Dalian Shide).

Reserves: Chen Dong (Dalian Shide), Zong Lei (Changchun Yatai); Xu Yunlong (Beijing Guoan), Xin Feng (Shenzhen Kingway); Tao Wei (Beijing Guoan), Du Zhenyu (Changchun Yatai), Li Yan (Shaanxi Baorong).


Iran

Iran through to WAFF Championship semis

AMMAN - WAFF Championship holders Iran advanced to the semi-finals of this year's tournament after beating Palestine 2-0 in the final Group B match at Amman International stadium on Wednesday.

After a scoreless first half, Iran opened the scoring 10 minutes after the interval through Milad Midavoodi before Mehdi Rajabzadeh sealed the win four minutes before the end.

With the win Iran took top spot in the group ahead of Iraq on goal difference. They meet the runners-up of Group A in the semi-finals on Friday.

Iran controlled the majority of the play in the opening half but it was Palestine who had the better chances on Hassan Rodbarian’s goal.

Palestine should have opened the scoring after 19 minutes when striker Fahad Attal curled in an effort from the edge of the area that went into the side netting.

Palestine thought that they have opened the scoring five minutes before half time when Attal headed home a cross from Sulaiman Obaid but the effort was disallowed as Attal was in an offside position before scoring.

Iran, who included seven players from their Asian Cup squad, had a bright start in the second half and took the lead in the 55th minute when Midavoodi surged into the area before unleashing a powerful right foot shot past Palestine goalkeeper Ramzi Saleh.

With nothing to lose, Palestine poured forward in attack but were unable to find a way past Rodbarian

Instead it was the swift counter attacks led by Mehdi Rajabzadeh and Hossein Badamaki that offered the greater threat and the duo combined well to extend Iran’s lead in the 86th minute, as Rajabzadeh received a neat pass from Badamaki and got past three Palestinian defenders before beating Ramzi Saleh with a powerful drive into the top left corner of the net.


Malaysia

UAE ease to victory over Malaysia

PETALING JAYA – Gulf Cup champions UAE stepped up their preparations for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup with a resounding 3-1 victory over co-hosts Malaysia at the Stadium Petaling Jaya on Thursday.

Malaysia, who are co-hosting next month’s continental showpiece with Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, fell behind to Bruno Metsu’s side after nine minutes as Faisal Khalil slammed home a rebound from Nawas Mubarak’s initial effort.

Akmal Rizal Rakhli and Hairuddin Omar both missed chances in the first-half for Malaysia before substitute striker Ismail Matar doubled the UAE’s advantage eight minutes after the restart.

Matar, top-scorer as the UAE landed a maiden Gulf Cup crown under French coach Metsu in January, converted from close range before Mohamad Al Shihi capitalised on a defensive error to add a third eight minutes after the hour mark.

Eddy Helmi Manan’s second half introduction appeared to spark the home side into life as the midfielder opened up the UAE on several occasions with a string of defence splitting passes.

The home side finally grabbed a late consolation as Eddy crossed from the right and Akmal, who had missed to early chances, converted from close range.

“The result is not as important as how we played,” said UAE coach Metsu, who is hoping to guide his side out of Group B of the Asian Cup, which contains defending champions Japan, Qatar and co-hosts Vietnam.

“I told the players that they must forget the result as this match is only a preparation – the actual matches in the Asian Cup will be different.”


Uzbekistan

Seven foreign-based players in Uzbek squad

TASHKENT - Uzbekistan national coach Rauf Inileyev has included seven overseas-based players including Dynamo Kiev striker Maksim Shatskikh in his 23-man squad for the Asian Cup.

Joining Shatskikh in the Uzbekistan squad are defenders Vitaliy Denisov of Ukranian side Dnipro and Alexey Nikolaev of Kazakhstan’s Aktobe, midfielders Aziz Ibragimov of Slovakia’s Slovan Bratislava and Marat Bikmaev of Russian side Rubin Kazan, and forwards Ulugbek Bakaev of Tobol of Kazakhstan and Pavel Solomin of Saturn Moscow Oblast.

The majority of Inileyev’s squad are from the Uzbek league’s top two sides with reigning champions Pakhtakor supplying eight players including midfielder Server Djeparov and current leaders Neftchi providing three.

The team will depart for a training camp in Korea on June 29, two days after the Uzbek league takes a break at its midway point.

Uzbekistan are scheduled to meet Korea Republic in an international friendly in Seoul on July 2 before moving on to Kuala Lumpur, where they will take on Iran, China and co-hosts Malaysia in the Group C of the Asian Cup.

Their opening match is against Iran on July 11.

Uzbekistan squad for Asian Cup: Pavel Bugalo (Kuruvchi), Ignatiy Nesterov (Pakhtakor), Gayratjon Hasanov (Neftchi); Hayrulla Karimov (Mash’al), Botir Karaev (Mash’al), Asror Aliqulov (Pakthakor), Anzur Ismailov (Pakthakor), Alexey Nikolaev (Aktobe), Islom Innomov (Pakthakor), Vitaliy Denisov (Dnipro); Aziz Ibragimov (Slovan Bratislava), Azizbek Haydarov (Lokomotiv Tashkent), Server Djeparov (Pakthakor), Marat Bikmaev (Rubin Kazan), Hikmat Hashimov (Nasaf), Mansurjon Saidov (Neftchi), Timur Kapadze (Pakthakor), Ildar Magdeev (Pakthakor), Ikboljon Akramov (Neftchi); Pavel Solomin (Saturn Moscow Oblast), Ulugbek Bakaev (Tobol), Aleksandr Geynrikh (Pakhtakor), Maksim Shatskikh (Dynamo Kiev).

Reserves: Anvar Gafurov (Mash’al), Komoliddin Tadjiyev (Pakhtakor), Ilhomjon Suyunov (Pakhtakor); Victor Karpenko (Kuruvchi), Odil Ahmedov (Pakhatkor), Hamza Karimov (Mash’al), Jasur Khasanov (Kuruvchi).


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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:17 pm

Qatar formally submits Asian Cup 2011 bid (Group B)


KUALA LUMPUR – Qatar have become the first country to formally bid to host the Asian Cup in 2011, after submitting their documents to the Asian Football Confederation on Tuesday.

Member associations have until June 21 to formally put in their bids to stage Asia’s premier international football competition but the Middle Eastern nation got the jump on rivals India and Iran by putting in their application two days before the deadline.

Qatar Football Association general secretary Saud Al Mohannadi and technical director Dr. Athanasios Batsilas were at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur to hand over the bid documents to AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam.

Al Mohannadi believes that Qatar’s successful hosting of last December’s Asian Games should put them in a good position to host the Asian Cup for a second time four years from now.

“We successfully hosted the Asian Games in December last year which shows our abilities as a host of major international events. We hope that AFC Executive Committee will be satisfied with our bid and give us a chance to host the biggest Asian football event in four year’s time,” he said.

“We have been hosting top football events and our facilities are ready to host the event even today.”

Qatar, who previously hosted the Asian Cup in 1988, were not originally in the running to host the 2011 event, which was to have gone to a country from the AFC’s South and Central Asian region. However, the AFC executive committee decided at its meeting last November to open the door for West Asian countries to host the 2011 edition.

This year’s tournament, which takes place next month, is being co-hosted by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:24 pm

Group D
Indonesia VS Bahrain

Indonesia Announce Asian Cup Squad

Jun 19 2007 07:07

Indonesia coach Ivan Kolev has as expected been forced to leave key players Boaz Salossa and Saktiawan out of his Asian Cup squad.
Salossa was ruled out last month after the prolific striker broke his ankle in a 3-0 friendly victory over Hong Kong, sidelining the 21-year-old for four months.

Saktiawan was given until the last minute to prove his fitness but he also ultimately failed to make the 23-man list.

Co-hosts Indonesia start their Group D campaign against Bahrain in Jakarta on July 10, before taking on Saudi Arabia and Korea Republic.

Indonesia squad for AFC Asian Cup

Goalkeepers: Jendry Pitoy (Persipura), Marcus Horison (PSMS), Feri Rotinsulu (Sriwijaya FC)

Defenders: Supardi (PSMS), Ricardo Salampessy (Persipura), Firmansyah (Sriwijaya FC), Charis Yulianto (Sriwijaya FC), Hary Saputra (Persis), Maman Abdurrachman (PSIS), M Ridwan (PSIS), Erol Iba (Persik)

Midfielders: Ponaryo Astaman (Arema), Firman Utina (Persita), Mahyadi Panggabean (PSMS), Eka Ramdhani (Persib), Syamsul Chaerudin (PSM), Atep (Persija)

Forwards: Ismed Sofyan (Persija), Ellie Aiboy (Arema), Bambang Pamungkas (Persija), Budi Sudarsono (Persik), Zaenal Arief (Persib), Rahmat Rivai (Persiter)

Reserves: Achmad Kurniawan (Arema), Aris Budi Prasetyo (Persik), Bayu Sutha (Persib), Achmad Amiruddin (PSM), Achmad Jufriyanto (Persita), Legimin Raharjo (PSMS), Irsyad Aras (PSM)
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association




Indonesia Impresses In Win Over Jamaica

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Staff Writer
Jun 22 2007 06:58
Get more on: indonesia | jamaica | asiancup
Indonesia striker Bambang Pamungkas netted both of his side's goals on Thursday as the Asian Cup co-hosts geared up with a 2-1 friendly win over Jamaica.
The result though was tainted by injuries to skipper Ponaryo Astaman and right-back Ricardo Salampessy, both of whom had to be stretchered off and replaced in the first half.

Ponaryo suffered a minor ankle injury while Salampessy had minor concussion following a collision.

After the match, Indonesian head coach Ivan Kolev told reporters that Ponaryo's injury was not serious, but Salampessy is expected to miss their next friendly against Oman on Sunday.

Kolev said: "I am quite confident that Ponaryo will be able to play against Oman, but not Salampessy. Let's hope that he will be able to start comes the Asian Cup."

Indonesia exerted the early pressure against Bora Milutinovic'sJamaica side and Bambang almost opened scoring in the 11th minute when his header was cleared off the line and went close again five minutes later when his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Christopher Harvey.

After the restart, the hosts almost took the lead but left-back Muhammad Ridwan's 30-metre volley was again blocked by Harvey.

The home team's pressure finally paid off in the 58th minute when Ridwan made a long run down the left flank and passed to Budi Sudarsono, who sent a low cross into the goalmouth for Bambang to give Indonesia a 1-0 lead.

However, the Reggae Boyz levelled the score in the 72nd minute when Wory Wolfe launched a stunning shot from outside the box that ripped past goalkeeper Jendry Pitoy.

Kolev made a tactical change in the 75th minute, bringing on striker Zainal Arif to beef up the attack.

That moved paid off two minutes from time when Arif's free kick was headed out by a Jamaican defender towards Bambang just outside the box.

The Persija Jakarta striker went past one player before lashing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net for the winning goal.

Budi almost extended the lead on the counter attack in the dying minutes when he was found unmarked with only the goalkeeper to beat but lost his balance, allowing Harvey to smother the ball.

Jamaican head coach Milutinovic felt that Indonesia could give a good account of themselves in the Asian Cup.

He said: "Indonesia are in a tough group but they have a good coach and a good group of players. They must remain optimistic. I have seen from the team that they are very well organised."
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association


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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:28 pm

South Korea Vs Saudi Arabia
Viduka Team-Mate Wanted By South Korea

Staff Writer
May 30 2007 16:29
Get more on: southkorea
Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-Gook has been recalled to the South Korea squad for the June 2 friendly meeting with Holland after over a year's absence.
The 28-year-old, who joined Gareth Southgate's Premiership outfit from K-League side Pohang Steelers at the start of the year, last featured for Korea against Angola in March 2006.

Lee featured for Korea at the 1998 World Cup but was omitted from the 2002 team and was ruled out of last year's tournament after suffering a cruciate knee-ligament injury in the K-League.

Reading midfielder Seol Ki-Hyeon had already been ruled out of the friendly after struggling with continuous pain in his ankle throughout the Premier League season.

The 28-year-old is also a doubt for July's Asian Cup after undergoing ankle surgery.

Korea will defiantly be without Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung for the tournament, while Tottenham defender Lee Young-Pyo remains hopeful of recovering from surgery in time for the Asian Cup.

Lee, 29, has undergone surgery after suffering ligament damage to his left knee during the first leg of the UEFA Cup quarter-final against Sevilla on April 5, but has spoken of his confidence of featuring for Korea.

Former Kyoto Sanga and PSV Eindhoven midfielder Park is set to miss the tournament after undergoing potentially career saving knee surgery in America.

Pim Verbeek's Korea will face Bahrain, co-hosts Indonesia and Saudi Arabia in Group D of the Asian Cup which begins on July 8.

Korea Republic squad to face Holland on June 2: Kim Yong-Dae (Seongnam), Lee Woon-Jae (Suwon); Kim Chi-Gon (Seoul), Kang Min-Soo, Kim Jin-Kyu, Kim Chi-Woo (all Chunnam), Kim Sang-Sik (Seongnam), Song Chong-Gug (Suwon), Kim Dong-Jin (Zenit St Petersburg), Oh Beom-Seok (Pohang); Kim Doo-Hyeon, Son Dae-Ho (both Seongnam), Kim Nam-Il (Suwon), Kim Jung-Woo (Nagoya), Lee Ho (Zenit St Petersburg); Jo Jae-Jin (Shimizu), Lee Dong-Gook (Middlesbrough), Lee Chun-Soo, Woo Sung-Yong (both Ulsan), Yeom Ki-Hoon (Jeonbuk), Choi Sung-Kuk (Seongnam), Lee Geun-Ho (Daegu).
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association




Korea Captain To Miss Asian Cup
Staff Writer
Jun 20 2007 07:22
Get more on: southkorea | asiancup
South Korea have suffered another setback in their bid for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup with the news skipper Kim Nam-Il is set to be ruled out of next month's showpiece tournament.
The Suwon Samsung Bluewings holding midfielder has been carrying a troublesome groin injury and has reportedly decided to undergo surgery to cure the problem, ruling him out of the competition which gets underway on July 7.

Suwon official Oh Geun-Young told the Korea Times: "We will set a date for Kim's surgery soon.

"We found that he had been playing in pain for quite some time and it would take at least a month before he can train again."

South Korea begin their Group D campaign on July 11 against Saudi Arabia before taking on Bahrain and co-hosts Indonesia, and the news is another blow to coach Pim Verbeek's plans having already lost English Premier League stars Park Ji-Sung, Seol Ki-Hyeon and Lee Young-Pyo to injury.

Nicknamed 'The Vacuum Cleaner', 30-year-old Kim has 75 caps to his name and his physical presence and cultured passing style will be sorely missed.

Kim was one of the stars of South Korea's surprise run to the World Cup semi-finals in 2002.

He also featured in the less spectacular 2006 campaign and was named captain by Verbeek in August last year.
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:45 pm

Group B
UAE Score Three Against Malaysia

Gulf Cup champions United Arab Emirates stepped up their preparations for the upcoming Asian Cup with a resounding 3-1 victory over co-hosts Malaysia.
Malaysia, who will share next month's continental showpiece with Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, fell behind to Bruno Metsu's side after nine minutes as Faisal Khalil slammed home a rebound from Nawas Mubarak's initial effort.

Akmal Rizal Rakhli and Hairuddin Omar both missed chances in the first-half for Malaysia before substitute striker Ismail Matar doubled the UAE's advantage eight minutes after the restart.

Matar, top-scorer when the UAE landed a maiden Gulf Cup crown Metsu in January, converted from close range before Mohamad Al Shihi capitalised on a defensive error to add a third eight minuets after the hour mark.

Eddy Helmi Manan's second-half introduction appeared to spark the home side into life as the midfielder opened up the UAE on several occasions with a string of defence-splitting passes.
I told the players that they must forget the result as this match is only a preparation - the actual matches in the Asian Cup will be different.


The home side finally grabbed a late consolation as Eddy crossed from the right and Akmal, who had missed two early chances, converted from close range.

"The result is not as important as how we played," said UAE coach Metsu, who is hoping to guide his side out of Group B of the Asian Cup ahead of defending champions Japan, Qatar and Vietnam.

"I told the players that they must forget the result as this match is only a preparation - the actual matches in the Asian Cup will be different."


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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:45 pm

Group D

Indonesia
Bambang doubles up against Jamaica

JAKARTA – Indonesia star striker Bambang Pamungkas netted both of his side’s goals on Thursday as the Asian Cup co-hosts geared up for the tournament with a 2-1 win over Jamaica in an international friendly at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

The good result though was tainted by injuries to Indonesia skipper Ponaryo Astaman and right back Ricardo Salampessy, both of whom had to be stretchered off and replaced in the first half.

Ponaryo suffered a minor ankle injury while Salampessy had a minor concussion following a collision.

After the match, Indonesian head coach Ivan Kolev told reporters that Ponaryo’s injury was not serious, but Salampessy is expected to miss their next friendly against Oman on Sunday.

“I am quite confident that Ponaryo will be able to play against Oman, but not Salampessy. Let’s hope that he will be able to start comes the Asian Cup,” said the Bulgarian.

Indonesia exerted the early pressure against Bora Milutinovic’s Jamaica side and Bambang almost opened scoring in the 11th minute when his header was cleared off the line by a Jamaican defender.

Bambang went close again five minutes later when his shot was blocked by keeper Christopher Harvey.

After the restart, the hosts almost took the lead when left back Muhammad Ridwan’s 30-metre volley was again blocked by Harvey.

But the home team’s pressure finally paid off in the 58th minute when Ridwan made a long run down the left flank and passed to forward Budi Sudarsono who sent a low cross into the goalmouth for Bambang to give Indonesia a 1-0 lead.

However, the Reggae Boyz levelled the score in the 72nd minute when Wory Wolfe launched a stunning shot from outside the box that ripped past goalkeeper Jendry Pitoy.

Kolev made a tactical change in the 75th minute, bringing on striker Zainal Arif to beef up the attack.

That moved paid off in the 88th minute when Arif’s free kick was headed out by a Jamaican defender towards Bambang just outside box. The Persija Jakarta striker went past one player before lashing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net for the winning goal.

Budi Sudarsono almost extended the lead on the counter attack in the dying minutes when he was found unmarked with only the goalkeeper to beat but lost his balance, allowing Harvey to smother the ball.

Jamaican head coach Milutinovic felt that Indonesia could give a good account of themselves in the Asian Cup.

“Indonesia is in a tough group but they have a good coach and a good group of players. They must remain optimistic. What I see from the team today that they are very well organised,” he said.






No surprises for Indonesia
JAKARTA - Indonesia coach Ivan Kolev has as expected been forced to leave key players Boaz Salossa and Saktiawan out of his Asian Cup squad.

Salossa was ruled out last month after the prolific striker broke his ankle in a 3-0 friendly victory over Hong Kong, sidelining the 21-year-old for four months.

Saktiawan was given until the last minute to prove his fitness but he also ultimately failed to make the 23-man list.

Co-hosts Indonesia start their Group D campaign against Bahrain in Jakarta on July 10, before taking on Saudi Arabia and Korea Republic.
Indonesia squad for Asian Cup: Jendry Pitoy (Persipura), Marcus Horison (PSMS), Feri Rotinsulu (Sriwijaya FC); Supardi (PSMS), Ricardo Salampessy (Persipura), Firmansyah (Sriwijaya FC), Charis Yulianto (Sriwijaya FC), Hary Saputra (Persis), Maman Abdurrachman (PSIS), M Ridwan (PSIS), Erol Iba (Persik); Ponaryo Astaman (Arema), Firman Utina (Persita), Mahyadi Panggabean (PSMS), Eka Ramdhani (Persib), Syamsul Chaerudin (PSM), Atep (Persija); Ismed Sofyan (Persija), Ellie Aiboy (Arema), Bambang Pamungkas (Persija), Budi Sudarsono (Persik), Zaenal Arief (Persib), Rahmat Rivai (Persiter).

Reserves: Achmad Kurniawan (Arema), Aris Budi Prasetyo (Persik), Bayu Sutha (Persib), Achmad Amiruddin (PSM), Achmad Jufriyanto (Persita), Legimin Raharjo (PSMS), Irsyad Aras (PSM)



Korea

Kim blow for Korea
SUWON - Korea Republic have suffered another setback in their bid for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup with the news skipper Kim Nam-il is set to be ruled out of next month’s showpiece tournament.

The Suwon Samsung Bluewings holding midfielder has been carrying a troublesome groin injury and has reportedly decided to undergo surgery to cure the problem, ruling him out of the competition which gets under way on July 7.

“We will set a date for Kim's surgery soon,” Suwon offical Oh Geun-young told the Korea Times.

“We found that he had been playing in pain for quite some time and it would take at least a month before he can train again.”

South Korea begin their Group D campaign on July 11 against Saudi Arabia before taking on Bahrain and co-hosts Indonesia and the news is another blow to coach Pim Verbeek’s plans having already lost English Premier League stars Park Ji-sung, Seol Ki-hyeon and Lee Young-pyo to injury.

Nicknamed ‘The Vacuum Cleaner’, the 30-year-old has 75 caps to his name and his physical presence and cultured passing style will be sorely missed.

Kim was one of the stars of South Korea’s surprise run to the World Cup semi-finals in 2002.

He also featured in the less spectacular 2006 campaign and was named captain by Verbeek in August last year.

Kim's place in the Korea squad is likely to be taken by Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i midfielder Oh Jang-eun.



Saudi Arabia announce Asian Cup squad
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia have announced a 33-man preliminary squad for this summer's AFC Asian Cup, which gets under way on July 7.

The Saudis open their Group D campaign against South Korea in Jakarta on July 11 before taking on co-hosts Indonesia and Bahrain.

Brazilian coach Hélio Angos will work with the group during four training camps, two in Riyadh and the others in Turkey and Singapore, before leaving for Indonesia on July 6.


Saudi Arbia also have a full programme of friendlies in the lead-up to the competition as they play twice in Turkey before taking on United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Oman and DPR Korea in Sinapore.
Saudi Arabia 33-man preliminary Asian Cup squad:

Walid Abdullah, Yasser Al Musalim, Assaf Al Garni, Hussain Suleimani, Kamel Al Mousa, Abdullah Shuhail, Ahmed Al Bahri, Ibrahim Sharhili, Ibrahim Hazazi, Walid Abd Rabu, Majed Al Amri, Usama Hawsawi, Usama Al Mowalad, Hamad Al Montashari, Redha Tukar, Taisir Al Jassim, Khaled Aziz, Saheb Al Abdulla, Omar Al Ghamdi, Saud Khariri, Ahmed Darwish, Ahmed Al Mousa, Mutaz Al Mousa, Abdo Autef, Mahmoud Al Shlhoub, Abdulrahman Al Qahtani, Yasser Al Qahtani, Malek Maaz, Saad Al Harthi, Naji Majrashi, Yusuf Al Sallem, Naser Al Shimrani, Saleh Bashir.
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:31 pm

Group B

Vietnam Much Too Good For Jamaica


In a warm-up for the Asian Cup, co-hosts Vietnam downed Jamaica 3-0 in Hanoi.

It was the second leg of the Reggae Boyz’ Asian tour after they lost 2-1 to Indonesia the previous week.

Vietnam took the lead in only the eighth minute thanks to striker Le Cong Vinh.

The scoreline stayed the same until midway through the second half when midfielder Tran Duc Duong lashed home a shot from long range.

The misery of Bora Milutinovic’s men was complete in the last-minute when Nguyen Anh Duc scored a third.

Jamaica complete their tour on July 2 with a game against Malaysia.

In next month's Asian Cup, Vietnam have been drawn in Group B along with Japan, Qatar and UAE.


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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:33 pm

Group B

Saudis Down UAE In Asian Cup Warm-Up


Saudi Arabia defeated United Arab Emirates 2-0 in a warm-up for the Asian Cup in Singapore on Sunday evening.

The Saudis, grouped with South Korea, Bahrain and co-hosts Indonesia at next month’s tournament, were deserving winners.

Saad Al Harthi put the Green Falcons ahead four minutes after the break as he headed home a corner from Abdulrahman Al Qahtani.

Malek Maaz headed a second on the hour, connecting with a free-kick floated over from the influential Al Qahtani.

"I was very pleased with the performance of the players today," Saudi Arabia's Brazilian coach Helio Dos Anjos told the Asian Football Confederation Web site.

“It was a hard game for us especially in the first half but the players did well and created opportunities and I think we deserved to win the game."

UAE Coach Bruno Metsu was not overly concerned at the result and made seven substations in the second half.

"The result today doesn't matter because it is still only a preparation for us. What is important for us is to be ready for our matches in Vietnam," Metsu said.

Gulf Cup winners UAE have been drawn in Group B along with Japan, Qatar and co-hosts Vietnam.
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:47 am

Group B

Qatar edge out Turkmenistan


DOHA – Qatar continued their preparations for next month’s Asian Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 friendly victory over Turkmenistan at the Al Sadd stadium on Monday.

After a goalless first half, the home side broke the deadlock in the 61st minute through midfielder Waleed Jassim, who found the back of the net with a powerful free-kick to finally break the resistance of a resolute Turkmenistan side.

Qatar leave for a training camp in Bangkok on Tuesday before taking on Thailand next Saturday.

They will then move onto Vietnam to commence their Group B Asian Cup campaign, where they will face the hosts, defending champions Japan and neighbours UAE.
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:40 am

Group D
Indonesia

Oman Edge Indonesia

Almukhain Ahmed struck the winner as Oman edged Indonesia 1-0 on Sunday in a warm-up clash for next month's Asian Cup.
Oman could have had more but for the woodwork and a disallowed goal in the first half.

Indonesia, co-hosts for Asia's premier tournament, had chances to equalise but failed to convert them when it counted.

Striker Bambang Pamungkas was unable to convert a first-half penalty for the injury-ravaged hosts.

The decisive goal came in the 57th minute when Ahmed collected a loose ball just outside the box and fired home.

Indonesia are in Asian Cup Group D alongside Korea Republic, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia while Oman are in a tricky Group A with Thailand, Iraq and Australia.



Korea

Singapore Too Strong For North Korea
Jun 25 2007 07:05
Get more on: singapore | northkorea
Singapore goalkeeper Lionel Lewis made a string of brilliant saves as the city state side claimed a fortunate 2-1 win over North Korea at the Singapore Invitational Tournament on Sunday evening.
An Chol-hyok was the only North Korean player to beat Lewis with a 59th minute header, cancelling out Ridhuan Muhammad's first-half opener.

However, Indra Sahdan headed home a cross by John Wilkinson 16 minutes from time to give the home side victory.

DPR Korea dominated the first half and would have gone ahead if not for the heroics of Lewis, who stopped efforts by Jon Chol and Park Nam-chol before using his left leg to deflect a point blank effort by An Jong-ho over the crossbar on 24 minutes.

The North Koreans, who also saw An Chol-hyok blaze over in the 36th minute, would pay for their profligacy four minutes later when the home side took the lead against the run of play.

Fazrul Nawaz won the ball in midfield and played it forward for Ridhuan to superbly lob Ri Myong-guk from 25 yards.

Lewis did brilliantly again on 59 minutes to deny Kim Kwang-hyok but the substitute won possession on the byline and crossed for An Chol-hyok to head home the equaliser.

Choe Chol-man then outpaced Noh Rahman on the left flank to burst clear on the Singapore goal but his initial shot was well-saved by Lewis and the Korean player headed his rebound into the side netting.

That miss would prove costly as Singapore regained the lead in the 74th minute when debutant John Wilkinson worked space for himself on the left of the DPR Korea box before crossing for Indra to head home the winner.

Kim Kwang-hyok had a final chance to draw the sides level in the dying minutes but his fierce shot from the edge of the box was stopped once again by Lewis.
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association




Saudi Arabia
SINGAPORE - Saudi Arabia coach Helio Anjos believes his side are adapting to his methods as they began their final preparations for the AFC Asian Cup with a 2-1 win over Singapore on Wednesday.

The Saudis won thanks to first-half goals from Abdulrahman Al Qahtani and Taiseer Al Jassam, but it was how his team responded to Al Jassam’s sending off five minutes into the second half that most satisfied the Brazilian.

“I’m happy with this victory,” said Anjos, whose team will meet Korea Republic, Indonesia and Bahrain in Group D in next month’s continental championship.

“We played with one man less in the second half and we were against a strong team that played quickly and because we are preparing for the Asian Cup the result will give us more confidence in ourselves and in our play.”

Anjos’ team were missing a host of big name players, with World Cup stars Yasser Al Qahtani, Hussein Suleimani and former Asian Player of the Year Hamad Al Montashari among those not selected for the match-up with the South East Asian champions.

Despite the changes, though, Anjos was quick to praise his players, and in particular fledgling central defensive pairing Majd Al Amri and Osama Hawsawi.

“I’m happy with the players because they have started to adapt to my philosophy, especially in the second half when we were playing with one player less,” he said.

“I’m especially happy with the defence because the age of the two players in the centre was 21 and 23, the youngest defence that Saudi Arabia has had in their history and I’m happy with that.

“I liked their attitude in the second half and that showed that we have character.”

The Saudis took the lead when Al Qahtani’s long-range free-kick was fumbled over the line by Singapore goalkeeper Lionel Lewis in the 26th minute and nine minutes later they doubled their advantage through Al Jassam.

But five minutes after the restart Al Jassam was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence before Ashrin Shariff earned a consolation for Singapore with the last kick of the game.

“I think it was a good game for us and for Saudi Arabia for their preparations for the Asian Cup,” said Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic. “For us, it was good to test our team against one of the best in Asia.

“Saudi Arabia has some good players but in general I’m happy with how our players competed with them, especially in the first 26 minutes before we conceded the first goal.

“We competed well all over the pitch and that’s a good sign for our team for the future.”





Second-string Saudis see off Singapore
Jun 27, 2007
PA Sport


SINGAPORE - Saudi Arabia cruised to a comfortable 2-1 win over South East Asian champions Singapore at National Stadium on Wednesday evening, despite playing the final 40 minutes with 10-men as they continued their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup.

Goals in the first half from Abdulrahman Al Qahtani and Taiseer Al Jassam were enough to give the three-time continental champions the win before Al Jassam’s sending off in the second half for a second bookable offence handed the Singaporeans hope.

But despite having a one-man advantage for most of the second half, Raddy Avramovic’s men were unable to make much of an impression against what was largely a second-string Saudi Arabia side until Ashrin Shariff netted with the last touch of the game

Al Hilal midfielder Khaled Aziz captained a team that also featured Saad Al Harthi and Malek Maaz and they caused the Singaporeans few problems in the opening exchanges, with the visitors taking their time to find their feet.

Singapore captain Indra Sahdan Bin Daud fired off the game’s first shot, but it was a weak effort from the edge of the area that caused Yasser Almosailem in the Saudi goal little concern.

As the half wore on, however, the Saudis started to control the tempo of the game, although their opening goal had more than a touch of fortune about it.

Singapore’s Nigeria-born defender Precious Emuejeraye was penalised for raising his foot too high by Indonesian referee Hidayat Jajat Sudrajat and from the resulting 26th minute free-kick the Saudis went in front.

Abdulrahman Al Qahtani struck what looked to be a straightforward, right-footed shot from almost 30 yards in the direction of Lewis’ goal, only for the Singapore keeper to allow the ball to slither under his body and over the line.

Nine minutes later the Saudis doubled their advantage, this time thanks to the fleet-footedness of Al Jassam, whose first touch took him past a static Singapore defence and by the time the home defenders could react he was clipping the ball beyond the helpless Lewis.

Less than five minutes after the restart Al Jassam earned his second yellow card of the game when he lunged at Mustafic Fahrudin in the centre circle, catching the midfielder on the thigh.

Singapore had chances to pull themselves back into the game, with Muhammad Ridhuan firing wide when he should have hit the target 15 minutes from time while Mustafic’s attempt from distance soon after was in vain.

Shariff finally put the Singaporeans on the scoresheet in the dying seconds from close range but it was not enough to deny the Saudis.
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:40 pm

Qatar team head to Bangkok

By Sports Reporter
Qatar team headed to Bangkok yesterday for the final phase of the preparation ahead of the next month's AFC Asian Cup 2007. The 16-team competition will be co-hosted in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia from July 7 till 29. Qatar will play three warm-up matches in Thailand, including one against Thailand national side on June 30. Musovic's men will then head to Vietnam and begin their Asian Cup campaign with a tough opening match against defending champions Japan on July 9 in Group B.
They take on the hosts Vietnam on July 12 and play Gulf neighbours UAE in the final group game on July 16.
Earlier, Qatar's national team coach Dzemaludin Musovic named his 25-member squad, subsequently after Monday's victory in their warm-up match against visiting Turkmenistan.
Midfielder Walid Jassim scored the lone goal of the match from a free kick to continue Qatar's successful Asian Cup warm-up campaign. Last week, Qatar defeated Ghana 3-1.
The team includes as many as 11 players from the league champions Al Sadd while Al Rayyan are the second biggest contributor with three players.
The league runners-up Al Gharafa and Qatar Sports Club each have two players in the squad while Umm Salal, who finished third this season, Al Arabi, Al Khor and Al Ahli each have a player in the side.
Qatar team: Mohammed Saqr (Al Sadd), Baba Malik (Umm Salal), Rajab Kasim (Al Ahli), Mohammed Gholan (Al Sadd), Messad al-Hamad (Al Sadd), Ali Nasser (Al Sadd), Wesam Rizq (Al Sadd), Ibrahim Majid (Al Sadd), Abdulla Koni (Al Sadd), Meshal Mubarak (Qatar Sports Club), Sebastien Soria (Qatars Sports Club), Saad al-Shammari (Al Gharafa), Bilal Mohammed (Al Gharafa), Majdi Siddiq (Al Khor), Ibrahim al-Ghanim (Al Arabi), Walid Jassim (Al Rayyan), Adel Lami (Al Rayyan), Hussein Yasser (Al Rayyan), Sayed al-Bashir (Al Arabi), Younis Ali (Al Ahli), Yousef Ahmed (Al Sadd), Ali Hassan Afeef (Al Sadd), Abdulla al-Break (Al Sadd), Majid Mohammed (Al Sadd), Talal al-Bloushi (Al Sadd)
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:24 pm

Group A: Australia


Neill rejects favourites tag

SINGAPORE - West Ham full-back Lucas Neill has dismissed suggestions that Australia are the favourites to lift next month’s AFC Asian Cup, despite their number one ranking in the continent.

The Socceroos make their debut in the competition in Group A, kicking off on July 8 against Oman before facing Iraq and Thailand in Bangkok and they have been widely installed as one of the fancied teams to claim the trophy in Jakarta on July 29.

But Neill, who captained Australia during their recent defeat against Uruguay, believes the tag of favourites belongs to defending champions Japan and that the Socceroos still have a lot to learn.

“I wouldn’t say we’re the favourites,” he said. “I would say we’re one of the stronger teams.

“Japan are obviously favourites because they’re more experienced at this level and in this environment and we’re coming here trying to challenge teams such as them.

“So we have to approach it with a different mentality but we’ve still got a lot to prove because we’re the new kids on the block."

The Australians defeated Japan the last time the two teams met, at the World Cup finals in Germany last summer when under then-coach Guus Hiddink they fought back from a goal down to win 3-1, with all three of Australia’s goals coming in the final 10 minutes.

The two teams could meet again at the quarter-final stage should Australia finish second in Group A and the Japanese top Hanoi-based Group B, in what would be an intriguing rematch.

The conditions, however, will be very different to those experienced by the teams in Germany last summer and, as a result, Australia are finalising their preparations in Singapore before flying to Bangkok on Wednesday.

On Saturday they will meet Singapore in what will be their last warm-up game before facing Oman and while Neill believes the Australian squad is good enough to win the event, he is insisting the team must take the tournament one game at a time.

“We have the ability but we all go into the tournament wanting to win it, but the first obstacle is trying to get fitness in the Singapore game,” he said. “And then, the only focus we will have after that will be on Oman.

“After our efforts at the World Cup last year we have no right to just walk through the tournament and get to the final. We have to take each hurdle as it comes and the first hurdle will be Oman, and that’s all we’re going to focus on.

“Every team we come up against are going to pose threats and be difficult. So we have to make sure we’ve done our homework and we have to play to our ability.”
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:24 pm

Group A: Oman




Oman battle back for draw




SINGAPORE - AFC Asian Cup finalists Oman fought back after going two goals down against DPR Korea to earn a 2-2 draw before going on to win 4-3 on penalties in Singapore on Thursday evening.

Ahmed Mubarak scored soon after coming off the bench at the start of the second half to haul his team back into the game after Kang Jin Hyok and Ryang Myong Il had given the North Koreans the lead.

Ismail Al Ajmi hit the equaliser in the 54th minute to spare the blushes of Gabriel Calderon and his side against a team that did not participate in the qualifying tournament for the AFC Asian Cup finals

Despite their absence from next month's jamboree in South East Asia, the Koreans made Oman look second best for much of the first half and they took the lead 20 minutes into the game when An Jong Ho's perfect through ball released Kang, and he rounded Ali Al Habsi before slotting into an empty goal.

Ri Jong Man's side then doubled their lead as the game went into first-half injury time when Singaporean referee Abas Daud pointed to the penalty spot after Ahmed Hadid was harshly adjudged to have fouled down Kang and Ryang Myong Il scored from 12 yards out.

However, it was a different story at the start of the second half as substitute Mubarak made an instant impression.

Three minutes after coming on, the central midfielder stormed down the right side, slaloming past three Korean defenders before smashing his shot across goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk and into the far corner of the goal.

Six minutes later the Omanis had pulled themselves level, but not before Ismail Al Ajmi hit the post with a shot from the edge of the area in the 53rd minute.

Less than 60 seconds later, though, he had the ball in the back of the net when he slotted home from close range.
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:26 pm

Group A: Thailand




Fringe role for Thai veteran Zico

BANGKOK - Veteran Thailand striker Kiatisak "Zico" Senamuang will be used in a limited capacity by coach Chanvit Polchovin at the upcoming AFC Asian Cup.

The AFC Asian Cup co-hosts, who have been drawn in Group A alongside Australia, Oman and Iraq, have recently completed a two-week pre-tournament training camp in Germany before facing Qatar on Saturday.

Senamuang, 33, was named in Chanvit's 30-man preliminary squad and is expected to recover from injury in time to be named in the final squad after coming off the bench during the 3-1 friendly defeat by Holland earlier this month. The talismanic forward had missed the 1-0 victory against China through injury.

"Zico's physical condition is now much better," Chanvit told The Nation newspaper. "His fitness is no longer an issue.

"However, I don't expect to see the same Zico as he gets older and hasn't played in a competitive match for a while.

"He is a utility player for us. I will consider what role will suit him the best in each game."

Chanvit admitted he was pleased with the trip to Germany after seeing positive signs from his side in terms of fitness and tactics, but has revealed his side were not stretched in defence by the lower class domestic opposition.

Thailand beat amateurs TSV Lennarts 8-1, claimed a 2-1 victory over Borussia Fulda before rounding off the tour with a 4-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt’s Under-23 side.

"We were unable to test our defence as I had expected in our three warm-up matches because our opponents were all weak," added Chanvit.

"But we still have a game with Qatar this Saturday, which will provide us another opportunity to probe the team."
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:01 pm

Group D

Vietnam Score Five Against Bahrain

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Staff Writer
Jul 1 2007 06:57
Get more on: vietnam | bahrain | asiancup
Vietnam rounded off their AFC Asian Cup warm-up campaign with a 5-3 victory over fellow continental competitors Bahrain at the My Dinh National Stadium on Saturday.
Vietnam rounded off their AFC Asian Cup warm-up campaign with a 5-3 victory over fellow continental competitors Bahrain at the My Dinh National Stadium on Saturday.

The game was a perfect preparation for co-hosts Vietnam, who will face defending champions Japan, Qatar and Gulf Cup winners UAE in Group B, while 2004 AFC Asian Cup semi-finalists Bahrain have been drawn in Group D alongside co-hosts Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Bahrain opened the scoring after two minutes through midfielder Mahmoud Abdulrahman, but the hosts were back on level terms after 11 minutes through Le Cong Vinh, who gave his side the lead six minutes later.

Vietnam increased their lead eight minutes after the break through Mai Tien Thanh before 2004 AFC Asian Cup top scorer Ala'a Hubail reduced the deficit for Bahrain two minutes after the hour mark.

Bahrain levelled the scores 10 minutes later through Nigerian born striker Jaycee John, but Vietnam regained the lead after 77 minutes through Phan Thanh Binh before Nguyen Anh Duc sealed the victory with three minutes to play.

Vietnam kick-off their AFC Asian Cup campaign against UAE on July 8, while Bahrain face co-hosts Indonesia two days later.
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association




South Korea Do It Easy Against Iraq

Jun 30 2007 06:45
Get more on: southkorea | iraq | asiancup
South Korea continued their preparations for the 2007 Asian Cup with an impressive 3-0 win over Iraq in Seogwipo.
Second-half goals from Yeom Ki-hoon, Lee chun-soo and debutante Lee Kun-ho wrapped up a well-deserved victory for Pim Verbeek's men on a night when the hosts did not appear to miss their injured overseas stars.

Lee Dong-gook, appearing for the national team for the first time in 15 months, had the first attempt after eight minutes but the Middlesbrough striker's low shot from distance was cleanly gathered by Iraq goalkeeper Noor Sabri.

The hosts controlled the opening period and had another opportunity after 20 minutes but Choi Sung-kuk could not hook Lee's bouncing throughball past Noor.

Choi drew another sharp save from the goalkeeper a minute later with a low shot on the turn from the edge of the box before Kim Sang-sik's pass found Lee in space, but the shot from 'The Lion King' was turned around the near post by the busy Noor.

Iraq almost snatched the lead against the run of play after 33 minutes with their only real attack of the first period when they outnumbered the Korean defence after breaking quickly from a corner, but Kim Yong-dae saved Hawar Mulla Mohammed's low shot.

Four minutes after the restart, Kim Do-heon blasted well wide when in space on the edge of the Iraqi box but, seconds later, Yeom broke the deadlock.

A deep cross from the right from Oh Beom-seok was palmed into the path of the Jeonbuk winger by Noor and he slotted home from close range.

Iraq nearly levelled immediately afterwards but Kim Yong-dae pushed Younis Mahmoud's fierce half-volley over the bar and the Korean stopper was called into action again on 69 minutes as he pushed Nashrat Akram's shot around the right-hand post.

However, Lee Chun-soo doubled Korea's advantage in the 80th minute when he met Oh's cross with a firm header in the box before turning provider for new-boy Lee Kun-ho to volley home the third five minutes from the end.

South Korea travel back to Seoul for a final friendly against Uzbekistan on July 5 before they get their Asian Cup campaign under way six days later.

Verbeek's side have been drawn in Group D alongside Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and co-hosts Indonesia, while Iraq will face co-hosts Thailand, Oman and Australia in Group A.
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association




Singapore Too Strong For North Korea

Jun 25 2007 07:05
Get more on: singapore | northkorea
Singapore goalkeeper Lionel Lewis made a string of brilliant saves as the city state side claimed a fortunate 2-1 win over North Korea at the Singapore Invitational Tournament on Sunday evening.
An Chol-hyok was the only North Korean player to beat Lewis with a 59th minute header, cancelling out Ridhuan Muhammad's first-half opener.

However, Indra Sahdan headed home a cross by John Wilkinson 16 minutes from time to give the home side victory.

DPR Korea dominated the first half and would have gone ahead if not for the heroics of Lewis, who stopped efforts by Jon Chol and Park Nam-chol before using his left leg to deflect a point blank effort by An Jong-ho over the crossbar on 24 minutes.

The North Koreans, who also saw An Chol-hyok blaze over in the 36th minute, would pay for their profligacy four minutes later when the home side took the lead against the run of play.

Fazrul Nawaz won the ball in midfield and played it forward for Ridhuan to superbly lob Ri Myong-guk from 25 yards.

Lewis did brilliantly again on 59 minutes to deny Kim Kwang-hyok but the substitute won possession on the byline and crossed for An Chol-hyok to head home the equaliser.

Choe Chol-man then outpaced Noh Rahman on the left flank to burst clear on the Singapore goal but his initial shot was well-saved by Lewis and the Korean player headed his rebound into the side netting.

That miss would prove costly as Singapore regained the lead in the 74th minute when debutant John Wilkinson worked space for himself on the left of the DPR Korea box before crossing for Indra to head home the winner.

Kim Kwang-hyok had a final chance to draw the sides level in the dying minutes but his fierce shot from the edge of the box was stopped once again by Lewis.
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association


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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:54 am

Group C

China

Wang heads China to victory

HONG KONG - Changchun Yatai midfielder Wang Dong ensured China rounded off their AFC Asian Cup preparations with a victory as his header secured a 1-0 triumph over Australian champions Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.

China fielded a storing side at the Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground in Hong Kong, with former Charlton Athletic loanee Zheng Zhi providing the majority of the attacking threat for Zhu Guanghu’s side against the A-League outfit, who will play in next seasons AFC Champions League after beating Adelaide 6-0 in the domestic Grand Final.

Melbourne were without Australia international Archie Thompson, who is with the Socceroos squad preparing for the AFC Asian Cup. Thompson scored five goals during Victory’s demolition of Adelaide in February.

Zheng, who has returned to Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng after his spell in the Barclays Premier League, provided the cross for Wang to head home after 36 minutes, in a game played over three 30 minute periods to allow Zhu to experiment ahead of the AFC Asian Cup opener against co-hosts Malaysia on July 10 in Kuala Lumpur.
Melbourne edged possession in a scrappy opening 15 minute, but failed to capitalise as several teasing crosses from Steve Pantelidis failed to bring an opener.

China captain Zheng found space on the right after 17 minutes, but despite having time to pick his cross, he failed to find the onrushing Han Pen.

The first meaningful effort on goal came seven minutes later as Sun Xiang blazed a free-kick over the bar from long range as China stepped up the pressure after struggling against a physical Melbourne side, who fielded former Millwall and Rangers midfielder Kevin Muscat and ex-Chelsea youngster Joe Keenan amongst their ranks.

Just before the end of the first session, Zheng scuffed a shot from the edge of the area into the grateful hands of Melbourne goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos after Sun Jihai’s cross had been headed into his path by Han.

China began the second period strongly, with Zheng providing much of the spark in the attacking third as he played Mao Jianqing into space on the left, but his low near post cross was cut out by a sliding Adrian Leijer.

But from Zheng’s resulting corner China took the lead as substitute Wang, who replaced Sun Xiang at the break, surged into the area unmarked and powerfully header under Theoklitos from close range.

Zheng failed to capitalise on a defensive error from Ljubo Milicevic 10 minutes later as the China skipper shot straight at Theoklitos from inside the area after jumping onto the defender’s mis-hit clearance.

Zhu rang the changes for the final session with five substitutions at the break, but it was Melbourne who should have equalised with 20 minutes remaining as substitute Matthew Theodore saw two quickfire shots from the edge of the area blocked by the China defence.

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick said: “China are a big strong side, who are good in the air and good at set-pieces. It was an opportunity and an honour for us to play the national team, it was a top class game.

“China are very quick and technically a good team and they opportunities with quick passing around the box.

“I would expect China to at least finish in the top four at the Asian Cup.

“It was good preparation for us ahead of the season against a well organised team.”
end


Iran

Daei backing former team mates

HONG KONG - Iranian legend Ali Daei believes his former team mates have the experience necessary to launch a serious challenge for the AFC Asian Cup.

Daei retired from the international scene after appearing for Iran at the World Cup finals in Germany last summer, when the team put in a disappointing performance when much was expected.

But the former Asian Player of the Year – who earned more than 100 caps for Iran and scored a world record 109 international goals during his illustrious career – thinks the team will have benefited from their time
spent in the competition last summer.

“It will be difficult but we have a good team, I think,” he said after appearing for a FIFA World XI during Hong Kong’s Reunification Cup on Sunday.

“But it will be difficult because of Australia but also Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea will challenge. It will be hard.

“However, the team hasn’t changed, we’ve just added some new players, but they are very experienced and that’s good for them because it means they know what they’re doing.

“Nine or 10 of the players in the starting team are the same as last year, they haven’t changed but they have more experience and that will help them.”

Daei ended his international career last year after the nation’s campaign in Germany but continued to play throughout the just-completed Iran Pro League season for Saipa.

It was to be a successful season for Daei, who worked as player coach with the Tehran-based club, steering them to the title with a final day win.
“It was great for me, in my first season as a coach to become a champion,” he said.

“It’s great for me but it’s just the start of my work. I have big ideas and plans for the team and I want to put those into action.”

Daei’s immediate success has seen him linked with higher profile jobs in Iran, with Persepolis – who he played for early in his career – seen as one destination, while he has also been touted as a future national team coach.

But for now Daei is focusing on his job at Saipa and leading the club into next year’s AFC Champions League.

“We want to play well in the Asian Champions League,” said Daei, who was in the Bayern Munich squad that reached the final of the 1999 European Champions League and who represented Saba Battery in the 2005 ACL.

“There’s still a big gap between Asian and European club football but it is closing and I think it’s better this year than it was last year and I hope that will continue in Asia.”

Despite his success and the lure of more illustrious positions, Daei remains committed to the Saipa cause.

“I didn’t speak to anybody and I don’t think about Persepolis,” he said of the speculation in the Iranian press. “I have a contract with Saipa and I would like to stay with Saipa.

“As for the national team, I can’t say now but in the future anything can happen. I’ve learned so many things that have helped me as a coach and I can use my experience and do a lot to improve Iranian football.”
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Sun Jul 08, 2007 10:52 am

Group D

South Korea VS Saudi Arabia

South Korea

Park tips Korea to shine
KUALA LUMPUR – Korea Republic international Park Ji-sung believes that the Taeguk Warriors can still sparkle at the AFC Asian Cup 2007 despite the absence of four key players due to injury.

However the winger, who has been ruled out of the AFC Asian Cup after undergoing knee surgery in April, has tipped newcomers Australia as the team to beat when the tournament kicks off this weekend.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the AFC, the Manchester United player expressed his disappointment at missing out on this summer’s football extravaganza.

“I was looking forward to playing in this prestigious football event but, unfortunately, I am unable to take part in it due to my injury. Nevertheless, I hope that all Asian football fans enjoy a festival of Asian football this month,” he said.

Korea are one of the favourites to lift the title in Jakarta on July 29 but their hopes of securing the first AFC Asian Cup victory since 1960 have been hit hard by a spate of injuries that will sideline Park, forward Seol Ki-hyeon, full back Lee Young-pyo and defensive midfielder Kim Nam-il.

“It will be tough for the Korean team because they will be missing a number of experienced players. However, Korea should still have a strong enough side to compete in the Asian Cup because of the country’s young talented players,” said Park.

“I am sure that the tournament will give the team a chance to move forward with these young players.”

Park though believes that Australia are the favourites to win the 16-team tournament and has welcomed the addition of the Socceroos to the Asian football family.

“I think it could be Australia because they qualified for the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup last year and the experience of their players in Europe makes them one of the best teams at the Asian Cup.

“I believe that their participation will help Asian football to improve and rapidly move to a higher level in world football.

“It provides a great foundation to make Asian football stronger and gives fans more of a chance to watch a better quality of football in Asia.”



South Korea Finish Cup Prep In Confidence

South Korea wrapped up their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup with a 2-1 win over Uzbekistan, courtesy of a first-half Cho Jae-jin brace.
Two goals in the opening 20 minutes from the striker staked his claim for a place in the starting XI next Wednesday when the two-time champions meet Saudi Arabia in their first game of Group D.

Uzbekistan battled back in a scrappy second half and scored through a Server Djeparov penalty.

After defeating Iraq 3-0 last Friday, Pim Verbeek's men carried on where they left off by taking the lead after just five minutes at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

The goal was well-worked as, from 30 yards out, Choi Sung-kuk's delightful through ball played with the outside of his right foot fell into the path of Cho Jae-jin.

Just outside the box, the Shimizu S-Pulse striker hit the ball first time, lashing it into the bottom left corner past Ignatiy Nesterov.

Cho then doubled the hosts' advantage 14 minutes later with another simple but perfectly crafted goal.

Yeom Ki-hoon was given time to cross on the left and his deep looping ball picked out the head of Cho just outside the six yard box, with the striker heading down and into the net for the 10th goal of his international career.

Kim Jung-woo almost made it three after 34 minutes but his header was gathered on the line by Nesterov. The keeper was in action again four minutes before the break, beating away a shot on the turn from Yeom.

Below-par in the first half, the Central Asians improved after the restart and got back into the game on the hour.

Alexander Geynrikh was brought down by Son Dae-ho and captain Djeparov made no mistake with the resultant penalty.

Uzbekistan face Iran in their Asian Cup opener on July 11 in Kuala Lumpur before taking on Malaysia and China.

Verbeek said: "We played well in the first half, scored good goals, were well-organised. I was very pleased. In the second half we lost a little control."

"It is useless now to talk about a starting XI for next Wednesday against Saudi Arabia. We have 23 excellent players and that is good for me and good for Korea Republic. There will be 11 players on the field who can beat the Saudis.

"The Saudis will be tough with strong and skilful players and I am not thinking beyond that game at the moment.

"South Korea are one of the strongest teams in Asia but we tried our best," said Uzbek coach Rauf Inileev after the game.

"Tonight was a good test for us but things will be different at the AFC Asian Cup."
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association


Saudi Arabia

Saudi star duo left out
Jul 6, 2007
PA Sport

Hamad Al Montashari will miss this year's AFC Asian Cup [WSG]

JAKARTA – Former AFC Player of the Year Hamad Al Montashari and 2006 AFC Player of the Year nominee Mohammed Al Shalhoub have been left out of Saudi Arabia's 23-man squad for the AFC Asian Cup.

The news comes as a big surprise as the pair were expected to play a big role for the three-time champions at this year’s tournament in South East Asia but will now find themselves instead watching from the sidelines along with striker Saleh Bashir and defender Saheb Al Abdullah after being left out by coach Helio Dos Anjos.

Al Montashari had been due to serve a one-match suspension for the Saudis’ opening match against Korea Republic, while Al Shalhoub appears to have suffered a new injury after appearing in two warm-up matches during the past week.

Saudi Arabia will kick off their Group D campaign against the Koreans in Jakarta next Wednesday before taking on co-hosts Indonesia on July 14 and 2004 semi-finalists Bahrain four days later.

Saudi Arabia squad for Asian Cup:
Assaf Al Garni (Al Wahda), Waleed Abdullah (Al Shabab), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli); Ahmed Al Bahri (Al Nasr), Ibrahim Hazzazi (Al Ahli), Kamil Al Mousa (Al Wahda), Majed Al Amri (Al Ittifaq), Osama Hawsawi (Al Wahda), Redha Tukar (Al Ittihad), Walid Abdrabh Jahdali (Al Ahli); Abdoh Autef (Al Shabab), Abdulrahman Al Qahtani (Al Ittifaq), Ahmed Al Mousa (Al Wahda), Ahmed Darwesh (Al Ahli), Khaled Aziz (Al Hilal), Omar Al Ghamdi (Al Hilal), Saud Khariri (Al Ittihad), Taisir Al Jassam (Al Ahli), Talal Al Khaibrai (Al Wahda); Malek Maaz (Al Ahli), Nassir Al Shamrani (Al Wahda), Saad Al Harthi (Al Nasr), Yasser Al Qahtani (Al Hilal).





Saudi Arabia Draw With North Korea
Group A - Thailand And Iraq Draw
Dakhan Hails Uae Coach
Japan Win Warm-Up
Preview - 'Roos Vs Oman
Uae Braced For Vietnam
Staff Writer
Jul 5 2007 06:56
Get more on: saudiarabia | northkorea | asiancup
Saudi Arabia rounded off their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup by playing out a 1-1 draw with 10-man North Korea in an international friendly in Singapore on Wednesday.
Malek Maaz headed the Middle Eastern side ahead at the Jurong West Stadium just after the hour, but despite having Jong Su-hyuk sent off soon afterwards, North Korea got back on level terms through Pak Nam-chol seven minutes from time.

It was the second consecutive draw for the Saudis, who were also held 1-1 by Oman in a friendly at the same venue last Sunday.

The three-time Asian Cup winners wrapped up their warm-up schedule in the island republic with two wins and two draws following a 2-0 victory against United Arab Emirates and 2-1 success over hosts Singapore in earlier matches.

After a low-key opening half in which neither side managed a shot on goal, the Saudis increased their intensity after the interval with Mohammed Al Shalhoub firing over the crossbar after a surging run through midfield.

Newly-appointed Saudi skipper Yasser Al Qahtani, who returned from injury after sitting out his team's three previous matches, was a lively figure and went close to breaking the deadlock after 53 minutes when he worked himself an opening on the right channel before dragging an effort wide.

The well organised North Korean defence proved difficult to break down, but the Saudis finally took the lead on 63 minutes when Abdulrahman Al Qahtani swung over a corner that was met by Malek Maaz, whose towering header cleared the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Ri Myong-il and the head of a defender on the goalline.

North Korea's hope of a comeback suffered a blow after 68 minutes when midfielder Jong Su-hyuk was sent off after picking up his second yellow card, but the feisty east Asian side continued to battle and nearly got back on level terms in the 77th minute when Jang Myong-il headed over.

Saad Al Harthi nearly settled the match on 80 minutes when he was sent clear by Maaz, only to see his effort brilliantly turned aside by Ri.

North Korea took full advantage of that let-off by grabbing the equaliser three minutes later when a hard low ball from the left flank eluded a host of players in the middle but sat up nicely for the late-arriving Pak Nam-chol who blasted home at the far post.

Following the conclusion of their warm-up games in the island republic, Saudi Arabia will head down to Jakarta where they will kick off their Asian Cup campaign with a heavyweight Group D clash against South Korea on July 11.
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:03 am

Group D

Indonesia: 'We're Not As Bad As You Think'

Qatar Vs Japan Nightlead - The Action
Qatar Hold Japan To Draw
Preview - Malaysia Vs China
Cahill Pleased To Repeat History
Vietnam Target Top Eight
Staff Writer
Jul 10 2007 07:42
Get more on: indonesia | bahrain | asiancup
Indonesia coach Ivan Kolev has warned opponents that his team should not be underestimated as they prepare to kick off their Asian Cup campaign against Bahrain on Tuesday.
Despite co-hosting the tournament, the Indonesians are considered outsiders in Group D, which also features 2002 World Cup semi-finalists South Korea and three-time Asian champions Saudi Arabia.

But Kolev stressed it was the quality of the individual players that brought him back to the team's helm for a second stint as coach and insists they should not be discounted.

"Basically, the Indonesia national team is not as bad as people think," said Kolev, who guided the team at the previous edition of the competition in China in 2004.

"They have players who have skills and talents as good those of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or South Korea.

"We have individual skills and we will try to unite them into one team and these skills are one of the reasons that made me accept the job to be Indonesia coach.

"I have my own way of coaching and telling the players that they have abilities and skills equal in quality with the other teams in the group."

Indonesia and Bahrain met at the last Asian Cup, in China in 2004, with the latter running out 3-0 winners.

Now under Czech coach Milan Macala, who took over less than two months ago after being sacked by Oman, the Bahrainis go into the game looking to build on the success of three years ago, when they finished fourth overall. Basically, the Indonesia national team is not as bad as people think.

Macala, however, is wary of the co-hosts after seeing Thailand and Vietnam pick up a draw and a win over Iraq and the United Arab Emirates respectively on the tournament's opening two days.

"Vietnam's win against the UAE is not good news for us," said the former Kuwait and Saudi Arabia coach.

"Our match against Indonesia will be our first match in the tournament. They will have big support behind them and I'm sure that the stadium will be completely full.

"After only three matches, we saw that there are no weak teams in the tournament and all the teams are good which means that the tournament will be nice.

"We all saw how Australia, the favourites, celebrated their draw against Oman who had three clear chances to win. We also saw how UAE had good chances to win against Vietnam but they lost.

"The co-hosts of the tournament proved that they will not be here to make up the numbers. Indonesia want to beat us - they have a lot of pressure on them and will take this game very seriously."
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association




Asian Cup Group D Preview: Indonesia - Bahrain
What: Asian Cup Group D Opening Game
When: July 10, 10:20 (GMT)
Where: Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta


zoom - galleria Group D gets underway on Tuesday as co-hosts Indonesia try to move towards the quarter-finals against Bahrain at the cavernous Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

One of the biggest stadiums around, if the arena is anywhere close to its 100,000 capacity then the West Asians could be in for a shock as Indonesian fans are known for their passion.

For both teams, the match is crucial as they look to take points before taking on the two Asian powerhouses that make up the group – South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Indonesia

Very much the outsiders, Indonesia will have been encouraged by the performances of fellow south-east Asian co-hosts Thailand and Vietnam and are confident of picking up points against the 2004 semi-finalists.

Preparation was pretty good results wise for the south-east Asians with victories against Hong Kong, Jamaica and Liberia. The big setback was the broken ankle picked up by Boaz Salossa in the Hong Kong game.

Bahrain

It will be tough for the West Asians to repeat their semi-final heroics of 2004 but if they are to do so, a good result in front of a hostile crowd is necessary.

Milan Macala is one of the Asia’s best-known and best coaches but will demand an improvement to the performance which saw his team crash to a 5-3 friendly defeat at the hands of Vietnam last week.

Recent History

It won’t please the local fans to be reminded that the last meeting between the two teams was at the same stage of the 2004 version. Then, Bahrain triumphed 3-1 in Beijing.

Team News

Indonesia have a full squad to choose from while Bahrain have lost midfielder Mohammed Salmeen to an ankle injury.

Key Player

Bambang Pamungkas has been scoring goals in the build-up and needs to do so again in Jakarta while Ala’a Hubail was on target the last time the two met and is a good bet to do so again.





Salmeen ruled out of Asian CupJul 9, 2007
PA Sport


JAKARTA - Bahrain coach Milan Macala has confirmed that key midfielder Mohammed Salmeen will miss this year's AFC Asian Cup due to an ankle injury.

Salmeen suffered the injury while playing for Al Arabi in the Qatar league and while he is on the road to recovery, it was felt that he needed more time to regain his fitness, much to the disappointment of the Czech coach.

"It's really a pity that we will miss him in the tournament as he needs nearly six months to recover," said Macala who turned 64 five days ago.

"Salmeen has a lot of experience that we need but we can't do anything now. He is at the moment with the team in Jakarta but he cannot play.”

But while Bahrain will not have the services of Salmeen, they have received some positive news with the Nigerian-born duo of Jaycee John Akwani and Abdulla Fatadi cleared to play for them in the tournament.

"Both Jaycee and Abdulla are players for the future. They have great talent and skills but what they lack is international experience and we have to be patient to get the best out of them," Macala said.

The veteran coach is hoping that his previous Asian Cup experience will prove useful to the team at this year's tournament.

"It is my fourth Asian Cup competition," he said at the end of the team’s official training session at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Sunday.

“My first Asian Cup was in 1996 with Kuwait and we lost to Iran on penalties. The Asian Cup is an excellent event and I hope that the experience I had will be good for the team.

"The tournament is very important for us as it will help us a lot. Even if we don't have good results it will be good for us to prepare the team for the World Cup qualifiers which will start after the tournament.

"We came here with a good team but the problem is that our preparations were not ideal. Just like in Oman's case, Bahrain have a lot of players who play abroad so it was hard to prepare the team and group them together. There were some players who joined the team on June 25 as they were still playing in Kuwait Emir's Cup.

"I just hope that the players will be prepared and everyone knows their responsibilities," he concluded.

Bahrain will begin their Asian Cup against co-hosts Indonesia in Jakarta on Tuesday before taking on Korea Republic on July 15 and Saudi Arabia three days later.
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:56 am

Indonesia

Indonesia Surprise Bahrain

China Punish Malaysia
Viduka Confident Of Improvement
UAE Looking To Recover From Defeat
Preview - Iran Vs Uzbekistan
Qatar Confident After Japan Draw
Staff Writer
Jul 11 2007 10:30
Get more on: indonesia | bahrain | asiancup
Tournament co-hosts Indonesia pulled off a surprise 2-1 win over Bahrain on Tuesday evening as the shocks continued at the AFC Asian Cup.
Bambang Pamungkas scored the winner for the home side in the 62nd minute after Budi Sudarsono had seen his 14th-minute opener cancelled out by Sayed Mahmoud Jalal 18 minutes from half-time.

Bahrain looked well short of the form that saw them finish in fourth place at the 2004 event in China and after just 14 minutes Indonesia took the lead following a perfectly played through ball by Firman Utina.

The Persima Tangerang midfielder scooped the ball over the Bahrain defence and Budi evaded the offside trap to leave himself one-on-one with Abdulrahman Abdulkarim, who he rounded after controlling the ball on his chest before sliding his shot home.

Budi's goal caused pandemonium in the stands, sparking flare-waving celebrations on the packed upper tier of the famous old stadium as the home fans dared to dream that they could start with a win.

But, after offering little in the way of a goal-scoring threat throughout the half, the Bahrainis pulled level three minutes before the half hour mark.

Mahmoud Abdulrahman dispossessed Mahyadi Panggabean on the left side of the Indonesian half before playing the ball through to Abdullah Omar and, although his shot was blocked at the near post, Sayed Mahmood Jalal was on hand to slot home the rebound.

Indonesia came close to reclaiming their advantage three minutes before the end of the half, however, when the quick thinking of Elie Aiboy almost punished Bahrain, the Arema Malang midfielder stealing the ball off Fawzi Ayesh before firing off a shot that Abdulkarim parried to safety.

Seventeen minutes after the restart, though, the Indonesians were back in front as Bambang finished off a fine move.

Elie, who tormented the Bahrain defence throughout the game, sped down the left before cutting the ball inside to Budi, who laid the ball off to Firman and he fired off a shot that was pushed onto the post by Abdulkarim.

But as the ball bounced back into the middle of the penalty area, Bambang seared in to finish emphatically.

As the clock ticked down the fans inside the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium cranked up the volume, although Rashed Al Dosari almost spoiled the party 12 minutes from time when his looping effort from inside the penalty area hit the crossbar.
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:28 am

Group C

China -- Malaysia

Zhu not resting on laurels

KUALA LUMPUR - China head coach Zhu Guanghu has refused to get carried away with his side’s impressive 5-1 defeat of co-hosts Malaysia on Tuesday night, preferring instead to insist that there is still a long way to go if they are to triumph at the AFC Asian Cup 2007.

Despite two goals apiece from Han Peng and Wang Dong, as well as Shao Jiayi’s solitary strike, being enough to give the east Asian giants a comfortable start to their Group C campaign, the former Shenzen Jianlibao boss insisted that there was still room for improvement.

“As I have said before, the Malaysia team is a good team and they have made progress recently but my team played with very good discipline tonight and they developed a great control of their rhythm,” Zhu said.

“However, this victory was only the first match for us, we still have two group matches left to play. The final game of the group stage will be the most important one.

“Although we won 5-1, the most important thing for me was in fact the goal scored by Malaysia, it was a problem and I will find out why we conceded it and we will try and do a better job in the next match.

“I am though satisfied with the spirit my team showed by going on to score a fifth goal,” he added.

With Iran, who start their Asian Cup on Wednesday against Uzbekistan, next up for the Group C hopefuls on July 15, Zhu continued to err on the side of caution by highlighting the formidable threat posed by many of Team Melli’s much vaunted superstars.

“The Iranian side are always amongst the best in Asia and a side who has played many times in the World Cup,” the 57-year-old revealed.

“They are still a strong team with many key players, so there is no doubt that the match will be a tough one.”

After seeing humid conditions affecting some of the more fancied outfits at the latest edition of Asia’s premier competition, Zhu was also keen to point out that China’s opening success was testimony to the hard work the Asian Cup 2004 losing finalists had put in before heading to Malaysia.

“The biggest plus point from the game is that my team played with a great rhythm especially considering the weather conditions.

“This showed that we were well prepared thanks to our training sessions in both Hong Kong and our national team training centre. Our team is not at a very good fitness level.”
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:20 am

Group C

China -- Malaysia

Han on a high after double strike

KUALA LUMPUR – Striker Han Peng was on a high on Tuesday after netting a brace to help China to a 5-1 thumping of co-hosts Malaysian in their opening match at the AFC Asian Cup 2007.

The 1.84-metre tall Shandong Luneng player cruelly exposed the lack of height in the Malaysian defence to head home the opening goal in the 15th minute and tapped home his second 10 minutes after the break as the 2004 runners-up ran riot at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

Han was unable to complete his hat-trick as he was replaced by Dong Fangzhou 18 minutes from time but the 28-year-old was still delighted with his performance.

“I was very excited after scoring the two goals but I’ve had a chance to calm down now,” said the lanky Han.

“We have a target here of at least the semi-finals and after tonight’s result, we are very confident of achieving that.”

Han’s teammate, Sun Xiang, echoed the happy mood in the camp of the China team, who entered the Asian Cup under heavy pressure from fans and media following indifferent results in their build-up to the tournament.

“It’s a very good result for us because Malaysia have a good team and they had the advantage of playing at home,” said the defender, who spent six months on loan at PSV Eindhoven this year.

“We came into this match with a good strategy and we played well, but we never expected that we would get such a big win.”

The Chinese side cruelly exposed Malaysia’s lack of height in defence and speed on the flanks and the home side were only able to stem the tide after the introduction of big central defender K.Nanthakumar and striker Indra Putra Mahayuddin in the second half.

With the Malaysians already trailing 4-0, the game was already lost but Indra Putra did bring some smiles to the Malaysian fans with an exquisite low drive that brought his side’s only goal in the 73rd minute.

“There is no doubt that this China team are a very strong side but we made too many mistakes and didn’t concentrate properly tonight,” said Indra Putra, who only recently returned to national team duty after six months out following ankle surgery.

“We have to stay focussed and must maintain our concentration when we are defending. Our main problem was that we didn’t stop their crosses from coming in and as a result, they had many chances to score.

The 26-year-old hopes that he will be given a longer outing against Uzbekistan on Saturday after proving his match fitness against the Chinese.

“I am feeling better now after my injury and I’m probably about 90% now. If I am given the chance, I feel that I can now play a full game.”


Iran -- Uzbekistan

Substitute Kazemian hands Iran winning start

KUALA LUMPUR – Substitute Javad Kazemian scored 13 minutes from time as Group C favourites Iran came from a goal down to beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in their opening match of the AFC Asian Cup at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Wednesday.

The Uzbeks went in front through a Rahman Rezaei own goal after 15 minutes but Iran battled back after the break, levelling the score through Seyed Jalal Hosseini’s 55th minute header before Kazemian sprinted clear to net the late winner.

The victory put the Iranians level on points with group leaders China, who hammered co-hosts Malaysia 5-1 on Tuesday.

Uzbekistan created the first chance of the match in the fifth minute as Timur Kapadze stole between two defenders to reach a Vitaliy Denisov cross, only to put his header straight at Iran goalkeeper Hassan Roudbarian.

Iran manufactured an opening of their own two minutes later when Ali Karimi’s defence-splitting pass released Vahid Hashemian on the right side of the area, the Hannover 96 striker firing in a shot that was well stopped by Uzbek goalkeeper Pavel Bugalo.

Bugalo was called into action again two minutes later he rushed off his line to gather the ball at the feet of Hashemian as the Iranian forward cut into the area from the right flank.

Both sides were still settling into their stride when Uzbekistan took the lead following a calamitous error by Rezaei.

Chasing a hopeful long ball lofted forward by Denisov, the Livorno defender appeared to have the beating of Ulugbek Bakaev as he headed the ball back towards goal from the edge of the box.

But Roudbarian had strayed off his line and the ball looped over a helpless goalkeeper to hand Uzbekistan the lead.

The central Asian side nearly extended their lead eight minutes later when a free-kick from the right by skipper Server Djeparov found Kapadze, whose unchallenged header went agonisingly wide of Roudbarian’s right post.

Two minutes before the break, a cross from the left by Hashemian found an unmarked Rassoul Khatibi, who headed wide from inside the area.

Kazemian came on at the break for Khatibi and the right winger’s introduction helped to spur the Iranians to life as they levelled the score 10 minutes into the second half.

Iran skipper Mehdi Mahdavikia swung in a corner from the left and Hosseini rose majestically above the Uzbek defence to meet the ball with a downward header that just crept in at the far post.

Iran turned up the heat and went close to taking the lead five minutes after the hour mark when an excellent run and cut back by Kazemian was hacked clear by Aleksey Nikolaev just before reaching a lurking Javad Nekounam.

Nekounam would get another chance three minutes later as Kazemian made another fine run down the right flank and crossed for the Osasuna midfielder, who headed straight at Bugalo.

For all of Iran’s pressure, it was the Uzbek’s who nearly went back in front with 18 minutes remaining as Djeparov lofted the ball over the Iranian defence to Kapadze, who saw his effort stopped by the feet of the onrushing Roudbarian.

Iran netted the winning goal five minutes later as Teymourian’s fine defence-splitting through ball released Kazemian, who drilled a low shot past the advancing Bugalo from just inside the area.

The game heated up in the closing minutes and Iran coach Amir Ghalanoei was sent-off from the bench with six minutes remaining by Kuwaiti referee Saad Kameel Al Fadhli after throwing a water bottle at the fourth official.
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PostSubject: Re: News of Group A B C D   Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:07 am

Indonesia Vs Saudi Arabia
Preview - Indonesia Vs Saudi Arabia
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Staff Writer
Jul 14 2007 08:16
Get more on: indonesia | saudiaabia | asiancup
Indonesia coach Ivan Kolev has warned his players to expect an all-out assault when they take on Saudi Arabia in Asian Cup Group D at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Saturday evening.

The tournament co-hosts opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over Bahrain earlier in the week, but the Bulgarian coach is expecting a more exacting challenge against the three-time champions.

"The second game with the Saudis will be tougher than the first game," said Kolev. "The first reason is that they know how we play and the second is because they lost points in their first game [1-1 draw against South Korea].

"They have to grab the full points against us, so for the Indonesia team it will be a tough game."

Indonesia have injury doubts over captain Ponaryo Astaman and fellow midfielder Mahyadi Panggabean, who were both replaced in the first half of the Bahrain game. A decision on their availability will be made before the match.

"No matter who plays tomorrow, they will have to play to the maximum of their ability," said Kolev, who celebrates his 50th birthday on Saturday.

"Some of the defenders made mistakes against Bahrain and I also noticed that the Saudis have very good strikers so I have told the players to be careful in the next game, especially the defenders."

With a sell-out crowd expected at Jakarta's historic old stadium, Saudi coach Helio Anjos has told his team to feed off the energy from the home fans rather than being intimidated by them.

"When I talk with the players, I always tell them not to be affected by the crowd," said the Brazilian.

"I always ask the players to play as if they were artists. The most important thing for any artist is the crowd because it motivates them to give their best.

"Since I come from a Latin country, I know what it is like to have full crowds at the stadium. I believe that it will not have a negative effect and the fans will give the team a push to give their best in the game."

Despite his team's 1-1 draw against South Korea in what was Anjos' first competitive match with Saudi Arabia, the former Sao Caetano coach is already under pressure from pundits back in the Middle East.

But after spending just 35 days with the team, Anjos is not concerned about the criticism.

"It is normal for any coach who coaches the team for only one month to have flaws in his team," he said. "However, I will try my best to fix things and put things right.

"We have had less rest than the Indonesians but I hope that we will be able to make the team as ready as we can.

"We are preoccupied with this thing and all the technical and medical staff are checking the fitness and conditions of each player."
Copyright (c) 2007 Press Association
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