Sunday, February 6, 2011

AFC Asian Cup 2011 Australia vs Japan

Congratulations Japan... and Commiserations Australia
I know that this post is a little late - but alas, a quick trip this week has kept me busy and away from the computer. As you may or may not be aware, the Asian Cup was recently concluded in Qatar, involving both Australia and Japan in the final. Well the first thing I should say is that I have yet to watch the Final between Australia and Japan (or should that be Japan and Australia?)... Unfortunately the AFC Asian Cup was NOT on free-to-air television, so our family missed out on all of the action. Still I've included a link to the highlights below... and it looks like it was a pretty gripping game.

Actually for those not familiar with Australian "Socceroos"... we only recently re-appeared in the world cup in 2006 after a 32 year absence (from 1974), and have been slowly rising up the rankings since then. However, in recent years it's been the same core team of Harry Kewell (mid-fielder/striker), Tim Cahill (mid-fielder) and Mark Schwarzer (goalie) that have really been the keys to many games... the next generation has yet to fully establish itself. The Japanese "Samurai Blue" have a similar list of set players like Yasuhito Endō (mid-fielder), Daisuke Matsui (mid-fielder), Keisuke Honda (mid-fielder), and Eiji Kawashima (goalie). Actually Japan had a tough entry into the final, defeating Korea on penalties after a 2-2 draw after extra-time.

The game ended in the 109th minute (last minutes of extra time) when Japan scored a great goal by Tadanari Lee. It was good that the game did not go to penalties, and a good demonstration that a team needs someone that can really strike the ball to win. A game well played Japan, and Australia.

Soccer (or more properly, football) is one thing that is always a point of contention for our family. Ever since the 2006 World Cup when Australia beat Japan 3-1 in the group round. It was a cold night that night in Adelaide (at around 3am), I can tell you. Since then, soccer has been the battleground-of-choice between our two countries. And I think that Australia playing Japan in the Asian Cup Final was a good reflection of their respective quality. Actually, there are not that many sports where Australia and Japan are equally competitive so football is always a good opportunity for both of us to get excited.

At the end of the day, I always feel somewhat happy that no matter the outcome, I can feel like we both sort of won. At least that's how I console myself now.

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