Asian Cup: 100 days to go

Today is a special day for the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 with the “100 days to go” milestone marking the first day of October.

A gala luncheon in Sydney will be attended by football dignitaries including FFA Chairman Frank Lowy, Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou and Asian Cup Local Organising Committee CEO Michael Brown.

Asian Cup local football ambassadors including Socceroos greats Brett Emerton, former AFC Asian Cup winner and recently recalled Iraqi national team player Ali Abbas of Sydney FC, and a host of football media luminaries will attend the lunch.

The 16 finalists will take part in a 23-day festival of football in five cities which the Socceroos will kick off against Kuwait on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.

The Asian Cup trophy itself, meanwhile, has started its global tour in China, the launching pad for a journey that will take it around Asia before arriving in Australia on December 2.

In Kuala Lumpur, headquarters of the AFC, representatives of the 16 Asian Cup finalists will be attending a meeting finalising details of the biggest football tournament ever held in Australia.

“One hundred sleeps to go. We are now literally counting the days until the biggest football tournament Australia has ever staged,” said Michael Brown, CEO of the Local Organising Committee.

“With more than half a million expected to watch the action live, and hundreds of millions more watching on TV around the world, this will be a summer never to forget.

“We have never had anything like it before. The whole country will be buzzing with anticipation at seeing the best Asia has to offer, and whether the Socceroos can lift the trophy for the first time after showing such promise at the World Cup or whether Japan can go back to back and claim a fifth title.”

The AFC Asian Cup is Asia’s biggest football competition and was established in 1956.

The 16 nations to qualify for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 are Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Palestine.

Fox Sports will broadcast the AFC Asian Cup throughout Australia.

The Socceroos will be looking to win their first AFC Asian Cup when Asia’s biggest football tournament heads to Australia in January 2015.

32 matches over 23 days will be played in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle with the Socceroos kicking off the tournament against Kuwait in Melbourne on January 9.

Socceroos tickets start from $49 for adults and $24.50 for children.

All other group matches start from just $15 for adults and $5 for children.