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Thursday, November 29, 2007 at 10:40 AM






Verbeek rejects Korea plea

SEOUL - Pim Verbeek has rejected an appeal by the Korea Football Association to remain as national team coach following the third place finish at last month's AFC Asian Cup.

Verbeek, who served as an assistant coach at the last two FIFA World Cups with his compatriots Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat, resigned after leading an injury hit Korea to a 6-5 penalty shootout victory over Japan on Saturday to secure a place in the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar following a goalless draw in Palembang.

Verbeek refused to discuss his future plans but admitted he would be taking a long break over the next five month's before returning to coaching.

The 51-year-old has already been linked to the Australia job along with Iraq coach Jorvan Vieira, with Advocaat stalling over a decision and Leo Beenhakker concentrating on Poland's Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

"The KFA have recently accepted his request," said a KFA spokesman. "The KFA asked him to reconsider his decision, but Pim said that it is his final decision and that he would not change his mind.

"The first decision by Pim was made after the last game and the final decision from the KFA to accept it was made on Tuesday."

Korea were without English Premier League trio Park Ji-Sung, Lee Young-Pyo and Seol Ki-Hyun, but finished second in Group D behind Saudi Arabia before beating Iran 4-2 on penalties in their quarter final tie.

Verbeek's side failed to repeat the feat against eventual champions Iraq in their semi-final meeting in Kuala Lumpur after crashing out 4-3 on penalties following another goalless draw.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007 at 11:59 PM






Iraq 1-0 Saudi Arabia: Captain seals Cup victory

JAKARTA, July 29 (Reuters) - Iraq completed one of sport's great fairytales by beating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the Asian Cup final on Sunday to provide a rare moment for celebration in their war-torn homeland.

The Saudis had been bidding to become the first four-times winners of the tournament but Iraq, riding a wave of global sentiment, upset the hot-favourites for a rare slice of sporting glory.

Iraqi captain Younis Khalef scored the winner in the 71st minute when he climbed above the defence at the far post and headed a perfectly-weighted corner from Hawar Mulla Mohammed into the Saudi net.

When the final whistle sounded, the Iraq players collapsed to the ground in a mixture of shock and an unbridled emotion, kissing the turf and embracing each other after their country's finest sporting moment.

Saudi Arabia were outplayed by an Iraqi team riding high on a wave of national support.

The Iraqis created a string of chances, only to be denied by sloppy finishing and extraordinary saves from Saudi goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem.

Saudi Arabia had been the best attacking team in the tournament, scoring 12 goals on their way to the final, but could not find a way past the Iraqis, who had the best defence in the competition, conceding just two goals in six matches.

Few people had given Iraq any chance of winning the tournament after a haphazard preparation brought about by the war at home and facing opponents who were appearing in their sixth final in 23 years.

Iraq were forced to train and play their qualifiers in neutral countries and their coach, Brazilian coach Jorvan Vieira, who said he planned to quit after the match, only had two months to mould a team that included Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish players.

None of the Iraqi players have been untouched by the war and although they have tried to mask their grief, there were constant reminders of the sectarian violence at home.

At least three players in the squad have lost relatives in the past two months and all the players wore black armbands during the final in memory of the 50 people killed by suicide bombers after Wednesday's semi-final win over South Korea.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was at the Gelora Bung National Stadium for the final, said Iraq's achievement had inspired millions and was proof of sport's unique power to unite people in the most desperate circumstances.

Source : Soccernet
Monday, July 30, 2007 at 1:01 AM







AFC Asian Cup: Final

IRAQ : 1 ( Younis Khalef (71) )


STADIUM : Gelora Bung Karno Stadium


Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 10:25 PM






Qatar to host 2011 AFC Asian Cup

JAKARTA – The Asian Football Confederation announced on Sunday that the next edition of the AFC Asian Cup in 2011 will be hosted by Qatar.

AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam confirmed that the event would be played in the Gulf state following the organisation’s executive committee meeting in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the venue for this year’s Asian Cup final.

Qatar were the sole bidders for the event following the withdrawal of a bid by India and the Iran Football Federation’s failure to submit the official bidding documents.

However, the AFC said that they were impressed by the high quality of the Qatari bid and are confident of the country’s ability to host the Asian continent’s biggest international football tournament.

“Because of the high standards and criteria we are applying for any tournament, it is not possible for every country to host the AFC Asian Cup,” said Hammam.

“From tournament to tournament, the standards will continue to go higher and higher and it is up to the host country to ensure that all the measures are in place to host a successful event.

“We need to organise our tournaments in the best environment, we have to ensure that the teams have the best facilities available and that there is good access for fans to come and watch the games.

“These are the sorts of things that a host country must provide.”

The AFC president admitted that Australia had also been interested in applying to host the 2011 event.

“Australia were very interested in submitting a bid but due to the rotation of the event, it was decided that the candidates for the 2011 competition would be restricted to the South and Central and West Asian regions,” he said.

Hammam also suggested that the event is likely to take place in January due to concerns about the weather in the Middle East during the summer months.

“Immediately after this meeting, we will have to establish an organising committee for the 2011 tournament to decide on these matters but the indication is that it should be played in January,” he said.

“On the FIFA calendar, the confederations can host their events in January or July, but as July is the hot season in the Middle East, the tournament cannot be played then.”

It is the second time that Qatar has been selected to stage the tournament following its hosting of the 1988 tournament.

As a Qatari himself, Hammam was naturally delighted with the decision.

“Qatar is my home and maybe this will give me a reason to spend more of my time there,” he said.

“Hopefully it will be a successful tournament.”
at 10:20 PM






Saudi Arabia - likely starters

Yasser Al Mosailem, 23, goalkeeper
Despite conceding five goals in as many matches, Al Mosailem has emerged as a successor to former number one custodians Mabrouk Zaid and Mohammed Khoja, playing in all of Saudi Arabia's matches in their run to the final.

Osama Hawsawi, 23, defender
The tall central defender has been hailed by coach Helio Dos Anjos for his presence in the heart of the Saudi Arabia defence and, despite playing every minute of his team’s campaign thus far, has yet to pick up a booking.

Waleed Jahdali, 25, defender
Having replaced former AFC Player of the Year Hamad Al Montashari, 25-year-old Jahdali has become a key member of the Saudi defence, appearing in every minute of his team’s first four matches before being replaced by Redha Tukar late on against Japan.

Kamil Al Mousa, 24, defender
Kamil Al Mousa filled in the vacant spot at left back following an injury to former skipper Hussain Abdulghani and has appeared in all five of Saudi Arabia's matches in their run to the final.

Ahmed Al Bahri, 26, defender
The 26-year-old Al Nasr defender has also been a dangerman in attack for the Saudis with his pin-point crosses helping to set up two of Saudi Arabia's goals in the tournament against Indonesia and Japan.

Saud Khariri, 27, midfielder
Viewed as one of the best midfielders in Saudi Arabia after helping Al Ittihad to back-to-back AFC Champions League titles, Khariri has had an impressive tournament despite playing only two complete matches so far.

Khaled Aziz, 26, midfielder
The 26-year-old Al Hilal midfielder missed the 4-0 win against Bahrain through suspension after receiving two yellow cards in his team’s first two matches but has been an influential figure in the wins against Uzbekistan and Japan during the knockout stage.

Taisir Al Jassam, 23, midfielder
Filling in for the suspended Khaled Aziz against Bahrain, Al Jassam seized his opportunity, scoring two of Saudi Arabia's four goals to receive the man of the match award. The Al Ahli midfielder went on to start against Uzbekistan and Japan in place of Ahmed Al Mousa.

Abdulrahman Al Qahtani, 24, midfielder
Considered by many as the heir apparent to former playmakers Nawaf Al Temyat and Mohammed Al Shalhoub, Al Qahtani has been his side’s set-piece specialist, creating several scoring chances for his teammates and finding the net himself against Bahrain.

Malek Maaz, 25, striker
Malek Maaz was the hero of the semi-final win against Japan, scoring two goals and earning the match MVP award. The Al Ahli striker failed to score in the first four matches of the tournament but helped to set up a few with his pace and quick reaction.

Yasser Al Qahtani, 25, striker
Having been named Saudi team captain before the tournament, the "Sniper" has been in prolific form so far, bagging four of his side's 12 goals, winning two match MVP awards and forming an excellent partnership up front with Malek Maaz.
at 1:43 PM






Iraq - likely starters

Noor Sabri, 23, Goalkeeper
The young goalkeeper had had an impressive campaign, allowing only two goals, and took Iraq to their first ever AFC Asian Cup final by saving Yeom Ki-hun’s spot-kick in the penalty shootout victory against Korea Republic in the semi-finals.

Jasim Mohamed, 28, Defender
The bald-headed defender has been an ever-present in Jorvan Vieira's squad throughout the competition and despite his strong and physical presence on the Iraqi backline has yet to receive a booking in any of Iraq’s five matches.

Basem Abbas, 25, Defender
The Lebanon-based defender has made the left-back position his own during the tournament and while he has been steady at the back, he has shown an eye for going forward. He has also caused problems for opponents with his never-say-die attitude.

Haidar Abdul Amer, 25, Defender
Playing in his second AFC Asian Cup, the Al Faisaly defender missed the goalless draw against Oman after taking a knock early in the tournament but has appeared in all of Iraq’s other games.

Ali Hussein Rehema, 22, Defender
The right-back has been in impressive form in this year's tournament attracting interest from Qatar league side Al Wakra. He has played in all five of Iraq's matches and proved a threat in attack with his quick runs and pin-point crosses.

Mahdi Karim, 23, Midfielder
A talented player who first joined the national team in 2001 when he was just 17 years old, Karim has become a key player for Cypriot club Apollon Limassol and started in all of Iraq's five matches in the AFC Asian Cup.

Haitham Kadhim, 24, Midfielder
A commanding presence in midfield, Kadhim missed the match against Oman after receiving two yellow cards against Thailand and Australia. He returned to face Vietnam in the quarter-finals match but also missed the semi-final against Korea.

Nashat Akram, 23, Midfielder
Aged just 23, Nashat Akram has already established his place in the Iraq national team with more than 50 caps for his country. The free-kick specialist scored Iraq's opening goal against Australia and has also created two of Younis Mahmoud's three goals in the tournament.

Karrar Jassim, 20, Midfielder
The young midfielder, who plies his trade for Qatar league side Al Wakra, has had an impressive campaign since replacing the injured Salih Sadir in Iraq’s last two matches. The speedy and tricky player was on target against Australia after coming on as a substitute.

Hawar Mulla Mohammed, 24, Midfielder
Playing just behind main striker Younis Mahmoud, Hawar Mohammed’s work rate and skill with the ball has caused problems for opposition defences throughout the Asian Cup. The 24-year-old has started all of Iraq's matches and was on target against Australia.

Younis Mahmoud, 24, Forward
The Iraq skipper has had a successful campaign, scoring half of his side's six goals including a crucial equaliser against Thailand in the opening game and a brace against Vietnam in the quarter-finals. An excellent free-kick taker, Mahmoud is also a dominant figure in aerial challenges.
at 1:40 PM






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After you drop it there a simple double click run...
Verbeek rejects Korea plea
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Qatar to host 2011 AFC Asian Cup
Saudi Arabia - likely starters
Iraq - likely starters
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Organising Committee meets for final time

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