ASIA CUP 2004
c'mmon Asian Inter fans, respect your continent
And dear friends from other continents, plz respect our continent
Asia Cup Draw
Well, the favourites are Japan, S.Korea and Saudi Arabia & I Don't expect any kinda Greece here in this tournament. This is Asia we are talking about. And it will tkae sometime for other Asian countries to overtake the current Asian giants : Japan, S.Korea, S.Arabia (not to forget Iran).
China, in my opinion will remain as underdog team, even though they are the host team.
BEIJING (Reuters) -- With several of their rivals battling injuries and erratic form, or lured by the prospect of Greek gold, the 2004 Asian Cup could turn into a red-letter affair for China.
The hosts, who play Bahrain in the opening game on Saturday, will start as slight favourites to win their first Asian Cup with South Korea and holders Japan struggling in the run-up.
From the Middle East, Saudi Arabia are anxious to erase four years of hurt while Iran have been lifted by their triumph at the West Asian championship last month.
However, neither team has impressed so far during the 2006 Asian World Cup qualifiers.
Japan, who beat the Saudis 1-0 in the 2000 Asian Cup final in Beirut, have been hit by a spate of injuries to key players.
Captain Hidetoshi Nakata, midfielder Junichi Inamoto and striker Tatsuhiko Kubo are unavailable to Japan coach Zico.
To add insult to injury, the Brazilian has been ordered to omit Europe-based pair Shinji Ono and Naohiro Takahara to allow them to play at the Athens Olympics next month.
Japan cannot afford any slip-ups in Group D alongside Oman, Thailand and three-times winners Iran. An early exit could cost Zico his job.
Thailand, meanwhile, are in disarray after coach Carlos Roberto Carvalho quit following a 4-1 home defeat by North Korea in a World Cup qualifier last month.
A war of words between Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the Thai players has hardly helped.
Following the trend set by Japan, South Korea left inspirational captain Yoo Sang-chul and Song Chong-gug out of their Asian Cup squad, selecting them for Olympic duty.
Worried that new coach Jo Bonfrere would have insufficient time to prepare for the Asian Cup, the Korea Football Association shifted its priorities to Athens.
The former Nigeria coach faces a difficult test when South Korea take on dangerous Jordan in their Group B opener in Jinan on July 19.
But South Korea, who reached the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup, should comfortably see off Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
With players such as Ahn Jung-hwan, Park Ji-sung and Seol Ki-Hyeon available to Bonfrere, South Korea could even win their first Asian Cup title since 1960 if the Dutchman can restore their fragile confidence.
China are brimming with self-belief after opening their 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign with three successive wins.
Even without injured Everton midfielder Li Tie, Dutch coach Arie Haan has a wealth of options with Sun Jihai, Li Weifeng and Hao Haidong providing a solid nucleus.
The physical Chinese should overpower Bahrain and cruise through Group A, also containing Indonesia and Qatar. Qatar's build-up has been plagued by controversy.
Midfielder Jafal Rashid received a nine-month ban for a doping violation while coach Philippe Troussier, who led Japan to the title four years ago, was thwarted by FIFA in his bid to recruit Brazilian players Ailton, Dede and Leandro.
Saudi Arabia have loftier goals. They have vowed to avenge their defeat by Japan in 2000 by taking the Asian Cup back to the Middle East and becoming the first team to win it four times.
The Gulf champions are drawn with Iraq and former Soviet republics Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in Group C.
Cash-strapped Iraq reached the Asian Cup finals despite having to play their qualifiers in neutral Jordan due to the political violence at home.
But their preparations suffered a huge blow last week when German coach Bernd Stange quit, claiming he feared for his life amid the deepening turmoil in Iraq.
A record 16 teams are taking part in the Asian Cup, which will provide Chinese authorities with an early test ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The tournament runs until August 7.
Indonesia beats Hong Kong's Kitchee Club 1-0
HONG KONG (AP) -- Bambang Pamungkas scored in the first half as Indonesia beat Hong Kong's Kitchee soccer club 1-0 Tuesday in a friendly match.
The Indonesians outplayed Kitchee and Pamungkas got his team's single goal when he blasted the ball high into the net in the 37th minute.
Indonesia used the match at Hong Kong Stadium as a warmup for the Asia Cup tournament that starts in China on Saturday. Indonesia is in the same group as China, Qatar, and Bahrain in the Asia Cup.
Indonesian coach Ivan Kolev of Bulgaria said he was pleased with the result, but added that his team should have "scored more goals."
Kitchee will play English soccer giant Newcastle United in an exhibition match in Hong Kong on Sunday. The English team is currently visiting Thailand.
Kitchee, a Hong Kong First Division club, beat Italian league champion AC Milan 2-1 in an exhibition match in Hong Kong in May.