The showcase of football that we’ve seen in Australia this past month, has been a taste of the possibility of Asian Football. In Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle and Brisbane; Asia has put on a world-class performance fit to match the excitement and intensity of an encounter between World Cup favourites.
Just look at the likes of the United Arab Emirates and their young-gun Omar Abdulrahman (easily an Asian James Rodriguez) who surprised all the commentators kicking the reigning champions, Japan out of the tournament. A upbeat Uzbekistan who took up the challenge to send Saudi Arabia home and progress into the knockout stage, pushing Korea to the edge in the Quarter-Finals. The birth of a new continental superpower in China and their improving competitiveness on the pitch in Asia.
Asia has put on a show that has truly put them back on the map as a growing football superpower.
Tonight, we celebrate the two finalists. Australia & South Korea.
The killer-head of Tim Cahill has once again been a shining light in this tournament, whilst the Socceroo’s future has also been given a chance to shine. Robbie Kruse, Matthew Leckie, Massimo Luongo and Tomi Juric have asserted themselves as important pieces of Australia’s national team.
South Korea off the back of an embarrassing World Cup, returned upbeat and remain un-defeated coming into tonights final. A new national star in Son Heung-min emerged with two goals to propel them into the final and chance to end their 55-year Asian Cup drought.
Australia or Korea. Saudi or Uzbek. Chinese, Iranian, Japanese, Iraqi, Iranian, Kuwaiti, Omani, Qatari, Emirati, Jordanian, Palestinian and even North Korea.
Tonight we celebrate FOOTBALL.
Words by Jacob Arnott.
The TURF has been given EXCLUSIVE access behind the scenes at tonights Asian Cup Final in conjunction with Nike Football. A gallery and words will be live tonight.