Saturday, September 03, 2011


World Cup Qualifiers Match Day 1

China v Singapore 2-1 (Duric) 17,000

The Lions took the lead in Kunming through the oh so reliable Aleksander Duric on 33' and hopes were high they could secure a famous victory. But substitute Zheng Zhi equalised with a penalty just two minutes after coming on to set up a nail biting climax and four minutes later Yu Hai gave the Chinese a slender lead. In the other group game Jordan beat Iraq 2-0. (stats)

Australia v Thailand 2-1 (Teerasil) 24,540

Yet again the South East Asian team took the lead on foreign soil. Yet again they were unable to hold on. And yet again a flurry of late bookings leaves them vulnerable in the future. With Sarayuth on the bench the Thais took the early on 15' with Teerasil Dangda but Josh Kennedy equalised just shy of the hour mark and Alex Brosque made it 2-1, breaking Thai hearts, with four minutes on the clock. (match report) (stats)

Iran v Indonesia 3-0 75,800

Kunming and Brisbane are relative football backwaters. The Azadi Stadium in Tehran isn't. Indonesia opened their World Cup campaign in Iran in front of one of the wildest crowds in the world and they never got going. Despite the talk of hitting Iran on the break the team lacked any meaningful pace beyond M Ilham and he was withdrawn on the hour, making way for Irfan Bachdim. Iran of course will still have to come to Jakarta but Indonesia's fans can make their own noise thank you very much. But will it be enough? (stats)

Away to three of the biggest names in Asian football, this was never going to be an easy opening day for teams from the region. If there is one lesson to be learned it is that the football world isn't limited to the borders of ASEAN. If FAs are serious about seeing their national team do well on the world stage they need to be arranging games against the best in Asia and not just looking after themselves and their families on fully expensed jollies.

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