Australia has been placed alongside Bahrain, India and the Korea Republic in Group C of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 following last night’s draw at the Aspire Dome in Doha.
For the Asian Cup draw, the Socceroos were seeded in the second tier of teams for the tournament and were placed in the C3 position of the groups.FFA National
Technical Director Han Berger, who was in Doha for the draw, described the Socceroos draw as “interesting”.
“It’s an interesting group. But then, all groups are interesting. Nobody will have it easy at the Finals. Australia will have to deliver consistently to excel in the tournament,” said Berger.
“Korea Republic are one of the strongest sides in the continent and have been regularly featuring in the World Cup finals since 1986. They’ll be a strong opponent.
“Then there’s Bahrain. We played a few times against the Gulf nation during the 2010 Asian Zone World Cup qualification and it was never easy. They too will raise a strong challenge.
“India are newcomers. Frankly speaking, we don’t know much about them. But they’ve qualified for the tournament by winning the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup and that shows that they too are capable of playing at this level. We look forward to the finals in Qatar and want to better our record this time around,” concluded Berger.
The Aussies will face India in their opening match, followed by the Korea Republic with their final group match against Bahrain.
The Socceroos have played India at senior men’s international level on seven occasions and last played each other back in 1956 in a friendly match in Sydney following the Melbourne Olympic Games.
The Socceroos are undefeated against Bahrain having beaten the Gulf Nation twice during the recent 2010 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualification stage and twice during the AFC Asian Cup 2007 Qualifiers. The Socceroos have faced the Korea Republic in 23 fixtures including their most recent friendly match in Seoul last year where the hosts won 3-1. Host Nation Qatar will face Uzbekistan in the opening match of the tournament on the 7th January.
Meanwhile, Football Federation Australia (FFA) recently announced that the Australia will play an international friendly match against Denmark in South Africa on the 1st of June in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Socceroos Head Coach Pim Verbeek was pleased to confirm the final friendly match for his team’s 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign.
“Denmark is another World Cup qualified team that also plays a similar style to the opposition we will face in South Africa,” said Verbeek
“They are strong, physical and skilful which will benefit our preparation greatly.
“Denmark have also drawn a tough group with the Netherlands, Japan and Cameroon, so playing against us will also be very important to them.
“Morten Olsen (Denmark Head Coach) was a fantastic player and is a very experienced coach, so we expect to face a very well organised and structured team on the 1st of June” concluded Verbeek.
The Socceroos have played Denmark on one previous occasion in 2007 with Denmark defeating Australia 3-1 at Loftus Road in London.
The Socceroos are currently 19th in the FIFA Men’s Rankings with Denmark at 34th .
Australia has been drawn in Group D of the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Germany, Serbia and Ghana, whilst Denmark have been drawn in Group E with the Netherlands, Japan and Cameroon.
The match will be played at the Ruimsig Stadium, Roodepoort and will be broadcast Live and Exclusive by FOX SPORTS in Australia.