2015 AFC Asian Cup Preview: Defending Champions Japan, Jordan headline Group D

Santino Honasan on Jan 09, 2015 01:30 PM
2015 AFC Asian Cup Preview: Defending Champions Japan, Jorda
(Photo Courtesy of www.afcasiancup.com) Defending Champions Japan will be gunning for their fifth Asian Cup title in this year's tournament.

The final stop on our 2015 AFC Asian Cup preview takes us to this tournament’s Group D, composed of Japan, Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine.

 

JAPAN

Four-time champs the Samurai Blue of Japan are heading into the 2015 Asian Cup Tournament with a title defense in their sights. The 2011 Asian Cup champions are coming off a stint in the 2014 World Cup, and will be looking to use their world-stage experience as momentum for this year. Currently the second FIFA-ranked Asian country at 54th, the boys in Blue will be relying on the services of Keisuke Honda and current leading goal scorer Shinji Okasaki.

Asian Cup Appearances/Finishes

-          1988: Group Stage

-          1992: Champions

-          1996: Quarterfinals

-          2000: Champions

-          2004: Champions

-          2007: Fourth Place

-          2011: Champions

 

JORDAN

The Jordanian Al-Nashama will be making only their third trip to the AFC Asian Cup, following their second-place finish in Group A of the Qualifiers. The 81st ranked FIFA team has been on a slide as of late as they are winless in their last 10 matches, but striker Ahmad Hayel will be looking to give his squad their first win since March of 2014.

Asian Cup Appearances/Finishes

-          2004: Quarterfinals

-          2011: Quarterfinals

 

IRAQ

After claiming the Asian Cup title in 2007, the Lions of Mesopotamia will be fighting hard to get back to the top in 2015. Led again by veteran captain and leading goal scorer Younis Mahmoud, Iraq qualified for this year’s tournament thanks to their runners-up finish in Group C of the Qualifiers. Currently ranked at 115th in the world, they will be gunning for their second Asian Cup title in eight tournament entries. 

Asian Cup Appearances/Finishes

-          1972: Group Stage

-          1976: Fourth Place

-          1996: Quarterfinals

-          2000: Quarterfinals

-          2004: Quarterfinals

-          2007: Champions

-          2011: Quarterfinals

 

PALESTINE

The Strivers of Palestine will be making their AFC Asian Cup debut this year after defeating the Philippines in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup Finals. Ranked at 113th in the world, the Asian Cup newcomers will be looking to make an impact behind Challenge Cup hero and current leading scorer Ashraf Nu’man.

Asian Cup Appearances/Finishes

-          2015: Debut

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