The group stage of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup is over and there wasn’t a single draw at all. There have been 24 definitive results in 24 matches, which is quite remarkable.
The knockouts have a lot to live up to and there are some tasty fixtures to look forward to.
In total there are eight more matches left in the AFC Asian Cup so say hello to the business end of the tournament.
Programming note: For viewers in the United States, the tournament is being shown exclusively on One World Sports and DishWorld. Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to One World Sports, you can access the channel via online streaming service DishWorld for $10/month. Sign up for DishWorld via their website.
SOUTH KOREA vs UZBEKISTAN:
Thursday, 2:30am ET; live on One World Sports and DishWorld
This is probably the hardest game to call out of all four of the quarterfinals. Uzbekistan have been consistently inconsistent scraping past North Korea, losing surprisingly to China before dispatching Saudi Arabia.
As for South Korea their record reads played three won three but that doesn’t tell the tale of their nervy performances in their first two matches before pulling off a surprise result against the hosts Australia. That’s South Korea in a nutshell; they may be unconvincing but still possess the pedigree to get a result when it matters.
Uzbekistani coach Mirjalol Qosimov has promised a win against the Taeguk Warriors which is a rather bold statement to make. That said if Uzbekistan are to make the step up to be considered one of Asia’s leading football nations then they need to beat the region’s big teams. A little bit of positivity is not a bad thing. After their 3-1 victory against Saudi Arabia it’ll be interesting to see if Qosimov keeps his faith with the side that clinched qualification for the knockout stages or recall two time AFC Asian footballer of the year Server Djeparov. Expect Sardor Rashidov to retain his place after his brace against the Saudis.
Uli Stielike’s side haven’t set the Asian Cup alight but they could sneak into the semifinals somewhat under the radar. Prior to the tournament expectations were low and that may have been to South Korea’s advantage. Their best player by far has been Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and he will be key if his are to dictate the tempo of the match. He has been at the heart of everything good that the South Korean’s have produced dictating the flow of the game for his side.