2015 AFC Asian Cup Preview: Australia, Korea Republic headline Group A

Santino Honasan on Jan 05, 2015 08:05 PM
2015 AFC Asian Cup Preview: Australia, Korea Republic headli
(Photo Courtesy of www.afcasiancup.com) Two-time AFC Asian Cup Champions Korea Republic headline this year's Group A

Before the 2015 AFC Asian Cup kicks off this coming January 9, let’s take a look at the 16 teams participating in the tournament, all competing for a spot in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

We begin with Group A, composed of host country Australia, Korea Republic (South Korea), Oman, and Kuwait.

 

AUSTRALIA 

The Australian Socceroos will be making their third appearance in the AFC Asian Cup tournament after qualifying as the tournament’s host country. Ange Postecoglou’s squad will be coming off from quite a lengthy layoff as their last competitive match was back in November of 2014 in a 2-1 loss against Japan in the 2014 Kirin Challenge Cup. Currently ranked as 100th in the world by FIFA (Tied with FYR Macedonia), the 2011 runners-up will be led by leading scorer Tim Cahill.

 

AFC Asian Cup Appearances/Finishes:

-          2007: Quarterfinals

-          2011: Runners-Up

 

KOREA REPUBLIC (SOUTH KOREA)

The Taeguk Warriors of South Korea can be considered as veterans of the AFC Asian Cup, and will be making their 13th appearance in the tournament. The former back-to-back champions will be looking to reach to top of the mountain once again, last hoisting the title in 1960. Led by 25 year old Koo Ja-Cheol, 69th-FIFA ranked South Korea will hope to move past their third place finish in 2011.

 

AFC Asian Cup Appearances/Finishes:

-          1956: Champions

-          1960: Champions

-          1964: Third Place

-          1972: Runners-Up

-          1980: Runners-Up

-          1984: Group Stage

-          1988: Runners-Up

-          1996: Quarterfinals

-          2000: Third Place

-          2004: Quarterfinals

-          2007: Third Place

-          2011: Third Place

 

OMAN

The Red Warriors of Oman will be making only their third trip to the AFC Asian Cup tournament after clinching a spot by finishing at the top of Group A during the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers held back in February of 2013. Currently ranked as 93rd in the world by FIFA, Oman will be looking to their defensive anchor Ali Al Habsi and leading scorer Amad Al-Hosni to lead them to the title this year.

 

AFC Asian Cup Appearances/Finishes:

-          2004: Group Stage

-          2007: Group Stage

 

KUWAIT 

Earning a spot in the 2015 tournament thanks to their finish as the runners-up in Group B of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, Kuwait’s Al-Azraq will be competing in the AFC Asian Cup for the tenth time. The 1980 tournament champions have failed to crack the semifinals in their last three outings, but will look to change that this year. Ranked as 124th by FIFA, Kuwait will be relying on the offensive prowess of veteran striker Bader Al Mutawa and 24-year old Yousef Nasser.

 

AFC Asian Cup Appearances/Finishes:

-          1972: Group Stage

-          1976: Runners-up

-          1980: Champions

-          1984: Third Place

-          1988: Group Stage

-          1996: Fourth Place

-          2000: Quarterfinals

-          2004: Group Stage

-          2011: Group Stage

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