2015 AFC Asian Cup: Quarterfinals set, begins January 22
Santino Honasan on Jan 22, 2015 08:02 AM
(Photo Courtesy of www.afcasiancup.com) Japan's Keisuke Honda will be looking to lead his Samurai Blue to a title defense
The 2015 AFC Asian Cup is all set for the quarterfinals stage as the eight best teams from the group stages have earned the right to move into the next round.
South Korea vs. Uzbekistan
In the first quarterfinals matchup, Group A Winners South Korea takes on Group B Runners-up Uzbekistan. The Match is set for January 22, Thursday at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium..
Two-time Asian Cup champs South Korea took another step closer to their third title by qualifying for the quarterfinals round. They swept the Group Stages, picking up wins over Oman, Kuwait, and host-nation Australia. It has been a balanced attack for South Korea so far, as three different players have managed to pull out the win for the Taeugeuk Warriors.
Uzbekistan came up as the runners-up in Group B after scoring wins over North Korea and Saudi Arabia, which was enough to secure a spot in the next round of action. The White Wolves are making their fourth straight quarterfinals appearance thanks to the offensive efforts of Sardor Rashidov who has already scored twice in three games.
China vs. Australia
In the next quarterfinals matchup, Group B Winners China face off against Group A Runners-up and host nation Australia. The match is set for January 22, Thursday at the Brisbane Stadium.
Finally making it past the group stage for the first time since the 2004 Asian Cup tournament, China’s Team Dragon now have their sights set on the 2015 Asian Cup trophy. They managed to get off on a hot start, winning all three of their group stage games to finish on top of Group B. Winger Sun Ke has been China’s main man so far, already scoring on three goals in the first three games of the tournament.
Host-nation Australia booked their third straight quarterfinals appearance following a 2-1 record in the group stages, good enough to advance as the Group A runners-up. The Socceroos were dominant in their wins in the group stages to say the least, scoring a 4-1 win over Kuwait in opening day, and then dominating Oman, 4-0. Their only stumble came in a 1-0 loss to eventual group winners South Korea. A balanced offensive attack has fueled the Aussies, already with eight different names scoring one goal each.
Iran vs. Iraq
Day two of the quarterfinals takes place on Friday, January 23, with Group C Winners Iran taking on Group D Runners-up Iraq at the Canberra Stadium.
A heavy favorite to go all the way in the 2015 Asian Cup tournament, highest FIFA-ranked Asian team Iran finished at the top of the Group C standings with wins over Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The three time Asian Cup champions will now look to get past the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004.
Finishing as runners-up in the tightly contested Group D, 2007 Asian Cup champs Iraq have advance to the quarterfinals for the sixth straight time. They began their 2015 Asian Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over Jordan, followed by a loss to eventual Group D winners Japan. The Iraqi squad secured their quarterfinals berth with a 2-0 win over Palestine.
Japan vs. United Arab Emirates
Closing out the quarterfinals on January 23 will be defending champions and Group D Winners Japan facing Group C runners-up United Arab Emirates.
Taking one step closer to completing their title defense, the Samurai Blue of Japan dominated Group D with wins over Palestine, Iraq, and Jordan. Former Player of the Tournament Keisuke Honda has led Japan’s bid so far, with three goals in three games.
The United Arab Emirates finished as runners-up in Group C, making the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996. Striker Ali Mabkhout led the Al-Abyad to wins over Qatar and Bahrain in the group stages, and now will look to lead the UAE into the semifinals.
Catch South Korea vs. Uzbekistan this Thursday, January 22, 10:30 pm on ABS-CBN Sports + Action 23!