It’s something of a shame that there wasn’t some sort of elaborate Asian Cup bracket, because looking at the quarterfinal matches it reads across the board as though it could’ve been drawn up on paper. Japan, Australia and South Korea were arguably the three favorites heading in, with shouts from Iran and Qatar, all three have to be favorites to make the semifinals, along with the Uzbek upstart (Jordan’s miracles may have run dry) and the insane training regime which has spawned a new Asian power.
Of course, maybe splitting the final prize 5,000 ways wouldn’t be all that wonderful.
Friday, 21 Jan 2011:
Uzbekistan vs. Jordan
Japan vs. Qatar
Saturday, 22 Jan 2011:
Semifinal fixtures (with corrections)
25 Jan 2011: Semifinal 1: Japan/Qatar winner vs. Iran/South Korea winner
25 Jan 2011: Semifinal 2: Uzbekistan/Jordan winner vs. Australia/Iraq winner
The Blue Samurai take their continued evolution and sweet nickname into the house that Qatar built, simply because it’s in Doha. Form team/better team versus the home team.
Earlier in the day it’s Uzbekistan and Jordan, arguably the two most surprisingly impressive teams of the groups; Jordan, in fact, was most stunningly so, but Uzbekistan seems as though it may have a little bit more. Cinderella looks as though she’ll lose her shoe here.
South Korea gets Iran, a quietly good football team, but not quite as good as South Korea, while Australia gets the defending champions, Iraq, looking for a second miracle.
A brave soul would pick something a great distance from Japan v. South Korea and Australia v. Uzbekistan; the smart mind wouldn’t.