Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Iraq top guns in Asia

With Japan, Iran and Australia the firm favourites to lift the Asian Cup, it was Iraq who shone through and reached gold. The tournament was co-hosted by Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia with Vietnam the only co-hosts to reach the second round enjoying a 2-0 win over the UAE along the way. Indonesia started with a 2-1 victory against Bahrain, but were narrowly beaten and eliminated by South Korea and Saudi Arabia who both finished among the top 3 in Asia. South Korea had suffered a 2-1 shock defeat at the hands of Bahrain, but ended up finishing 3rd having had to rely on penalty shoot-outs to decide all their matches after the group stage. Having drawn 1-1 with eventual champions Iraq and beaten Oman 2-0, Thailand were 10 minutes away from the next round, but Australia who after a shock 3-1 defeat to Iraq were in need of goals, ended their dreams with 3 late goals in a 4-0 hammering of their hosts. China were the biggest name not to reach the second round, losing their final group match 3-0 to Uzbekistan. Reigning champions Japan lost a thrilling semi-final 3-2 to Saudi Arabia who were beaten 1-0 by Iraq in the final of the 2007 Asian Cup. Iraq are now the top ranked team in Asia. Reports from all the matches can be read at: http://footballreporter.co.uk/asia2007

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