The Asian Cup begins July 7th in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Harry Kewell says that the Australian football will have achieved nothing in the past two years unless the Socceroos win the Asian Cup. They are playing their first Asian Cup after being admitted to the Asia zone in 2006. If all goes according to the odds, the finals should be between Australia and Japan.
Graham Arnold's boys are in Group A and face Iraq, hosts Thailand, and Oman. So they should have a relatively easy time getting to the next stage. Most of the big names are back including Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill, Mark Viduka, Marco Bresciano, Vince Grella, John Aloisi, and Mark Schwarzer. In form striker Archie Thompson has also been included riding his fantastic season for the Melbourne Victory. He is just one of three Socceroos playing for the domestic Hyundai league. The rest play their trade in the European leagues with six playing for the Premiership. Some of the young talent that the Socceroos are looking to build their team around are defender Luke Wilkshire, midfielder Carl Valeri, and forward Nicky Carle and Brett Holman.
Their biggest concern apart from Japan being their prime challengers for the Asian Cup title, appears to be the heat and humidity of SE Asia.