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Gus Keri

A life-long Liverpool fan who resides in New York City and also supports the New York Red Bulls.


TANGENTS

Asian Cup Semifinals; the Established and the Newcomers – Part Two

Written by on January 24, 2011 | 27 Comments »
Posted in Asian Cup, Australia

Australia vs. Uzbekistan (Tuesday 11:25 am EST)

Australia moved to the AFC in 2006 and played in the two finals which have been held since then.

They have the best defense (1 goal in 4 matches) and the best goalkeeper of the tournament, but they managed to score only one goal against each of Jordan, Iraq and South Korea. This fact doesn’t speak highly of their offensive threat.

Watching Australia, I could not help thinking of pre-Klinsmann era’s Germany. The German coach, Holger Osieck, has instilled a German mentality to this team. Their physical strength and tactical awareness helped them get through some of the most difficult games.

Their mostly European based roster has more experience than any other team in the cup. Tim Cahill’s injuries in the last two matches may limit his contribution but Harry Kewell is playing some of his best soccer.

Goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, will equal the record with 87 caps for Australia, and barring injury or suspension he will break the record in this cup.

Uzbekistan is one of five former Soviet republics to join the Asian confederation in 1994 and the only one to qualify for the Asian cup finals. (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are still in the AFC but Kazakhstan left to UEFA in 2002). The Uzbeks have appeared in the finals every time since then.

Uzbekistan have displayed a very beautiful brand of soccer relying on midfield possession and a gradual build up. Their offensive power (8 goals in 4 matches, tied with South Korea) is second only to Japan and they have several players who are capable of putting the ball in the net. But their defense is questionable. They have allowed 4 goals against weaker opposition than faced Australia.

Among the semifinalists, Uzbekistan has the most domestic based players; a fact most likely to change at the end of this tournament with so many European scouts on hand. Bunyodkor’s Djeparov and Pakhtakor’s Ahmedov are strong candidates to move.

These teams have never met before in the Asian cup. Australia will try to break the Uzbek’s possession game and that may lead to a difficult game to watch. Although Uzbekistan is capable of an upset, I see Australia again grinding out a win and going through.

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27 responses to “Asian Cup Semifinals; the Established and the Newcomers – Part Two”

  1. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Gus,

    Thank you for the write up. You are a loyal and tireless servant to the redheadsd stepchildren of world footy. I noticed that over the weekend Liverpool also managed to get a win. Congratulations.

    Good news. The Copa Centroamericana is over. Mr. Moyes is still pondering when he’ll get his player back. As am I.

    Kazakhstan is in UEFA too? Does Borat know? And do the Asian countries have no respect for geography? If Kazakhstan is in Europe then I’m the Pope.

    TvN

  2. TVN or should it be Your Popeship it comes down to countries being given an option when the Soviet Union broke up.

  3. Gus Keri says:

    TVN:

    When the Soviet union broke up, All the 15 countries were given a choice to join either UEFA or AFC. Kazakhstan, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan which are in Asia, geographically, chose UEFA. The other 4 Asian countries join AFC.

    About writing for the “redheaded stepchildren of world footy”, I can tell you that there are audiences for that too. It’s peer pressure which prevents them form expressing themselves.

    By the way, it’s an interesting comment coming from a follower of copa centroamericana. LOL

  4. Gus Keri says:

    Sorry Bobby:

    I noticed your answer after I posted my comment

  5. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Gentlemen,

    Once all of these former Soviet Asian nations geographically (that is to say physically) move to Europe then I’m the Pope. That is the point. Whatever FIFA or UEFA allowed these Asian countries do on the dissolution of the Soviet Union does not make it right and will not make Asian countries European ones. Can we not respect geography? Kazakhstan, geographically, will never be in Europe. So too for Turkey (most of it is in Asian). Israel, on the other hand, is a another matter and simply for the sake of it’s safety should play in Europe. Other than that I wish we could have respected geography. It’s a simple concept gentlemen. Asian countries should play in Asian competitions, European countries should play in European competitions, etc. This should not be a difficult concept nor a controversial one. Let’s just look at a map. That is the resolution and the ultimate judge. What’s next? Tunisia in Europe? Or Jamaica in Asia? Keep it simple numpties.

    I never said I was closely following the Copa Centroamericana. Sarcasm Gus. That competition is also a red headed stepchild. And it’s importance is reflective of why someone such as the Spurs’ Palacios is not competing in it.

  6. Gus Keri says:

    My question to all your points is simple. Why not?

    Should all the Mexican clubs pulled out of the Libertadores and the Sudamericana cups?

    Should Australia go back and play in Oceana where there are only 11 coountries, all of them except New Zealand ranked below 150 in the wrold?

    In my mind it’s not a controversial issue.

    Geography is a good measure to help FIFA organize things but it and we shouldn’t become a slave to it.

    Europe would have loved to have all the former Soviet republics in Europe, so they will increase their voting power in FIFA.

  7. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Why not? Because of geography. Simple.

    Australia back to Oceania? Why not? It won’t bother me. But Australia playing in Asia could be an exception for competitive reasons … I suppose.

    Mexico does qualify through CONCACAF. The clubs, well for the sake of tradition keep it the same. The cat’s out of the bag on that one. The horse has left the barn. But if they were just starting out now then I would say no. Have those clubs go through the North American CL only.

  8. Theo van Nasregas says:

    And as for all the ex Soviet Union nations, they never should have been given the choice in the first place, in my very humble estimation, simply for the sake of geographical honesty. Nor should Turkey have ever been given the choice as most of it is in Asia and a nation cannot field two teams. All of these teams should be playing in Asia.

    I wonder what Borat would say?

  9. Gus Keri says:

    Borat didn’t mention it in his movies so far, I will check the coming one and let you know.

  10. Soccerlogical says:

    TVN – Are you by any chance Karl Pilkington?

  11. Theo van Nasregas says:

    No. Who is this Karl Pilkington? A relation of Borat?

  12. Soccerlogical says:

    No, he is a producer and podcast member of “The Ricky Gervais Show”.

    On an unrelated matter (so Bobby doesn’t get mad :)). Other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, can anyone name an equally or more skilled striker with such a high goal/game ratio who has never won a major individual award like FIFA Player of year, Ballon D’or, Onze d’Or, World Soccer Player of the Year, etc?

  13. David Villa and Gabriel Batistuta

    Next tier Hernan Crespo, David Trezeguet.

    Thierry Henry got the Onze but that is not that well known an award.

    Perhaps the greatest goalscorer of all time Gerd Mueller never got beyond European Player of the Year.

  14. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Agreed on Villa. And better for Barça too.

    What about Puskas or DeStefano?

  15. Gus Keri says:

    Would Fernando Torres’s 81 goals in 141 games for Liverpool match your criteria?

  16. Soccerlogical says:

    Seems like IbraCadabra is consistent and produces everywhere he goes (even Barca where unfortunately Pep didn’t think he was a good fit).

    I think his 1)skill, 2)fantasy and 3)consistency is even above that of a Villa, Batistuta, Henry, Torres etc. The only negative side may be his arrogance which seemed to affect his time at Barca.

    Just my opinion.

  17. Theo van Nasregas says:

    I agree that Ibra is arrogant and full of fantasy. Pep thought so too. He was the monkey wrench in the free flowing system. Totally slowed everything down. A donkey, skilled no doubt, but a donkey that was playing with a bunch of speedy hornets whizzing all around him.

    We are forgetting about Eto’o who is better than Ibra straight up. And better in the Barça system. The Catalans really got fleeced on that one. Pep’s biggest mistake. And why is Ibra always talking about Pep? Is Ibra a voyeur? The Swedish voyeur perhaps?

  18. Theo van Nasregas says:

    1) As a general rule of thumb, if a nation has ‘stan’ in it’s name then it should play in Asia. 2) If a nation changes it’s name to include ‘stan’ in it’s name, irrespective of it’s location and for whatever reason (but let’s say it’s because of it’s immigration policies, for example), then it should play in Asia.
    Therefore, Kazakhstan (along with Borat) would play in Asia for reason 1. Englandistan & Germanistan would play in Asia for reason 2. If a nation has individual(s) possessing the name ‘Stan’ within it’s geographic borders, this does not in and of itself, determine it’s regional affliation.

    TvN

  19. Gus Keri says:

    Australia – Uzbekistan: 2-0 (at the half)

    Plan excuted perfectly, so far, by the Aussies. Score early and defend the lead. And if you get one or two more goals, it’s a bonus.

  20. Gus Keri says:

    Australia – Uzbekistan: 6-0 (full time)

    What a collapse by the Uzbeks. Unexplainable. they are much better than what they showed today.

    It’s a final between the Barcelona of Asia and the Germany of Oceana.

    What an interesting headline if it happened:
    “Australia is the champions of Asia”.
    It reminds me of another headline:
    “The New York Red Bulls are the western conference champions”

  21. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Gus,

    So correct. Total diabolical disrepect for the purity of geography. An absolute disgrace.

    As for that 6-0, nice competition this Asian Cup. A semifinal of a ‘continental’ competition ending in an unconverted touchdown. Nice. Maybe Uzbekistan should be placed in Oceania with a score like that.

  22. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Gus,

    So who have you got to win the big game? And when is it?

  23. Gbenga says:

    Excellent write up Gus… I enjoyed that classic match between Iraq and Australia… Great game with both teams attacking each other at will. Iraq definitely showed a lot of flair and were unfortunate not to have scored with the number of chances they had before regulation and during extra time. Credit to Australia for holding firm and keeping things tight. Excellent tournament so far and a lot of good goals…

  24. Gus Keri says:

    GBENGA:

    I agree with you. That game (Australia vs Iraq) was one of the best and the tournament was very entertaining indeed. Looking forward to even better finale.

    TVN:

    The finale on Saturday 10 am EST. My pick is Australia

  25. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Gus,

    But if it is the Aussies then that headline of your’s will confuse millions. Just another reason to revert to the simplicity of geographically integrity.

    Congrats on that fortunate own goal victory over Fullham. You guys might just avoid the Segunda Division after all.

  26. Gus Keri says:

    TVN:

    The own goal was a just compensation for the totally legitimate disallowed gaol.

  27. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Agreed … begrudgingly. It was not disallowed due to a female lineman/person though right? I think the linesperson looked like a fella.

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