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Minnows rising to challenge at Asian Cup

Jordan's win over Australia is just one of several shock results at the start of the Asian Cup, a trend carrying over from last year's World Cup.

Minnows rising to challenge at Asian Cup

Jordan's win over Australia is just one of several shock results at the start of the Asian Cup, a trend carrying over from last year's World Cup.

MAT RYAN of Australia saves a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Playoff match between the Australian Socceroos and Syria at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
MAT RYAN of Australia saves a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Playoff match between the Australian Socceroos and Syria at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Jordan beating Australia, Palestine holding Syria, India thrashing Thailand and Philippines nearly denying South Korea.

The 2019 Asian Cup has had its fair share of shocks inside its first week.


Defending champions Australia being defeated in their tournament opener in Al Ain by world No.109 Jordan stands out as the biggest upset so far.

The Socceroos' next opponent, Palestine, also held Syria to 0-0 draw for their first Asian Cup point in their second tournament.

India, who hadn't won a match at the Asian Cup since 1964, thumped Thailand on Sunday - a result which led to the Thais sacking head coach Milovan Rajevac.

The Philippines, appearing in an Asian Cup for the first time, almost added to the list of shocks when they faced South Korea on Monday.

The Azkals nearly stole a point before Hwang Ui-jo's second-half strike got Paulo Bento's Korea off to a winning start.

Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan says the performances reflect a general trend of the gap between Asia's minnows and the big fish narrowing in recent times.

"When I look at the World Cup qualification, our match against Syria, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, played away and even at home, they were difficult matches. Close matches," Ryan said.

"It was my first experience of going through a qualifying campaign to get to a World Cup and if you compare from the Asian Cup to those games, yeah, the margin had minimised even more."

Ryan says the results should serve as a warning to fans and teams who think the expansion of the Asian Cup to 24 nations will dilute the quality on show.

"If you're not being respectful to the opposition then you're either allowing them to do what they want to do or you're getting complacent in your own right and not giving them the respect they deserve and they can punish you," Ryan said.

"It doesn't surprise me that the tournament is as close as it is."

AAP


AAP




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