Trent Sainsbury was a towering presence at the heart of the Australian defense, but one shouldn’t forget his attacking contribution in the semi-final against the UAE. Sainsbury, who plays in the Eredivise for PEC Zwolle, scored a crucial goal in the semi-final in the opening minutes to set Australia on course for the final. The defender visibly grew in stature as the tournament progressed and will be a Socceroo lynchpin at the back for years to come.
Match of the Tournament:
Iraq versus Iran, no other game comes close.
120 dramatic minutes, six goals, a controversial red card, two teams that refused to be beaten, a Younis Mahmoud Panenka and so much more. It was breathless stuff and it summed up this edition of the AFC Asian Cup beautifully. Words really can’t do justice to the emotional rollercoaster that was Iraq against Iran.
2015 Asian Cup Legacy:
Asian football needed a reason to feel optimistic. Going into the tournament not a single Asian team featured in the top 50 of the FIFA rankings. What we got was a fiercely competitive and wonderfully entertaining competition that was embraced by the Australian public.
For the likes of Australia, South Korea, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates this was a positive tournament and they have the platform to build on.
The likes of Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia will have to lick their wounds and rebuild.
Overall though this was the morale boosting competition that Asian football needed.
The path to redemption is a long one but perhaps we’ve seen the first positive steps towards a better footballing future in Asia.
Programming note: For viewers in the United States, the tournament was shown exclusively on One World Sports and DishWorld. In addition to the Asian Cup, One World Sports has rights to Arsenal TV, Chelsea TV, Bayern Munich TV, New York Cosmos home and away games, and much more. 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.
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