Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Asian Cup predictions

I must admit I'm not usually one for predictions though I hold my hand up and admit I called the Champions League Final right! But with me on my happy hols soon I may not have a chance to get my tips down on paper so here goes.

Group A

Arab teams confuse me. All the players play for a club called Al- something or over, most are called Muhammed and they have one other thing in common. I know absolutely nothing about them football wise. Group A in Thailand sees host the hosts joined by Iraq, Oman and Australia in their first outing in this tournament. Thailand may be a bit of a spent force in ASEAN these days but their home crowd should count for somthing. Shouldn't it? Australia? If they can overcome their cockiness they might stand a chance but a worry is their weakness of bigging themselves for everything sportswise with little knowledge of their opponents. Let their football do the talking and we might see something worth remembering. Iraq and Oman? Hmm, let's see. Sod it. Ippy dippy dation, my operation, how many people at the station? It is not you! Oh man, it's Oman!

Group B

This group is being hosted by the Vietnamese and sees another couple of Arab teams, Qatar and UAE being joined by Japan. I've never liked teams whose names you can abbreviate, not since WBA beat Arsenal one year when we were going for the Championship. Qatar sounds like something that comes from deep in within one's throat. Based on this in depth analysis I forsee Japan being joined by ... Vietnam. Surely one of the hosts must qualify? If you think I'm being pretty rough on the Arab teams I'm not. I just cringe at the thought of Knock Out games between them being played in cavernous empty stadium. Sorry but Mohammed Usama Bin Hussein of Al Aiwa lacks the magnetism of Nakamura of Celtic or Viduka of Newcastle and face painted Japanese chicks or bevvying Aussie hoons singing about swagmen make for great entertainment.

Group C

Ha! This group is being held in Malaysia but they have as much chance of winning the Asian Cup as Perseman Manokwari have of winning the Asian Champions League. With a pathetic showing at some dreggy Australian club sides and seeing the headlines hogged by the PM and Manchester bloody United you have to feel some sympathy for the players and both their fans. I see them doing a Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest and getting nul point, a line I regret to say I've used elsewhere on this site. Iran, China and Uzbekistan make up the group and it's a question of who will join the Iranians. China aren't what they used to be while Uzbekistan bottled a game in Indonesia. Still, it is the Asian Cup and where would Asia be without all those 'stans filling the map so Uzbekistan for me.

Group D

Two more Arab countries join hosts Indonesia and South Korea in this group. Indonesia have had a lousy preparation for this cup and a recent 2-2 draw with club side PSS Sleman saw coach Ivan Kolev try out two formations, one either side of half time which begs a couple of questions. What is it with international coaches and dicking round with formations? And does he know his ideal starting XI? One reason I don't like international football is coaches inane ability to put square pegs in round holes. What the hell? Ismed Sofyan is blinding at Wing Back, let's put him up front in a three but hey? Let's not use the flanks...Who was the vegetable who put Keith Curle, a central defender of limited ability and full of the grace of an oil tanker doing a 3 point turn at full back? Can you imagine Richard Branson hiring a HR expert and putting him, or her, in charge of accounting? But as ever I digress whenever I have nothing decent to say. South Korea will go through joined by Indonesia. Not that I think the hosts will, I would just love to see a successful Cup have a knock on effect domestically.

So that gives us the following in the Q/F's.

Australia, Oman
Vietnam, Japan
Iran, Uzbekistan
Indonesia, South Korea

The Semi Finalists will come from Australia, Japan, Iran and South Korea.

As for the winner? I'll wait till I see a few more games before sticking my neck out if you don't mind.

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