The 2015 AFC Asian Cup has written itself in the history books. How so? Well after this weekend’s results, the tournament has seen 20 straight games with a winner. That’s right there have been no draws in this tournament thus far. No major football tournament — be it the World Cup, European Championships, African Cup of Nations, Copa América — have seen this number of consecutive results.
The record was previously held by the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay which saw 18 consecutive games yield definitive result.
So what do we know after the weekend’s matches? Well two quarterfinals have been decided already. The hosts, Australia, will take on the in-form China whilst Uzbekistan face South Korea.
How did we arrive here?
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Australia 0 – 1 South Korea
Well who saw this result coming? The Socceroos in their previous two matches helped themselves to eight goals whilst only conceding the one. South Korea, on the other hand, scraped to two 1-0 victories and barely looked impressive in either of their Asian Cup outings.
Soccer, being the game that it is, saw fit to throw the form book out of the window and delivered perhaps the most surprising result of the tournament so far. South Korea managed to sneak a 1-0 victory.
The result doesn’t fatally wound Australia’s chances at the Asian Cup. If anything, it’s a timely reminder that nothing can be taken for granted. Ange Postecoglou gambled by leaving first choice attacking trio Tim Cahill, Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie on the bench and though it failed to pay off, he did learn a lot about his team. He would have been pleased with the fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude of his side but if this match demonstrated anything, it is that a lapse in concentration can prove costly. Australia now face a winnable if tricky encounter with China. No doubt Postecoglou and company will work to ensure that they don’t suffer a repeat when they face the Chinese in Brisbane.
As for Uli Stielike, this is his side’s third one-nil victory in a row. The winner itself, which came in the 33rd minute, was a cleverly crafted goal. Ki Sung-yueng slipped a clever ball through to Lee Keun-ho behind the Australian right flank, taking out three players in the process. Ho took advantage of Nathan Burns’ lapse in concentration to play the ball across the face of goal, which was diverted in by Lee Jeong-hyeop with the merest of touches.