The Socceroos quest for AFC Asian Cup glory on home soil in January begins with a tricky group phase against Kuwait, Oman and Korea Republic.
We take a look at the danger-men who could hurt the Aussies in our Asian Cup group.
Name: Heung-Min Son
Club: Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
A club-mate of Socceroo winger Robbie Kruse, Son possesses loads of pace and is equally devastating with both feet. It means he can play anywhere along the front line and has the ability to get in behind defences with his speed and clever runs. Son, who has also played for Hamburg in the Bundesliga, has scored 34 goals in 113 appearances in the German competition. His strike-rate at international level is also pretty good, scoring seven times for the senior national team in 32 caps.
Other players to watch: Sung-Yong Ki (Swansea City), Gyo-Won Han (Jeonbuk Motors), Chung-Yong Lee (Bolton Wanderers)
Name: Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali
Club: Fanja (Oman)
Position: StrikerA real x-factor in Paul Le Guen’s side, Al Muqbali (commonly known as Abdul Aziz Humaid Mubarak) should have the Socceroos defence on high-alert as Oman’s leading attacker. Al Muqbali scored against Australia in the 2-2 draw in Sydney in a World Cup qualifier in 2013 and has amassed 10 goals in 33 internationals. Not only good with his feet, Al Muqbali is also a threat in the air.
Other players to watch: Ali Al Habsi (Brighton), Hussain Al Hadhri (Al Raed), Ali Al Jabri (Al Nadha)
Name: Bader Al-Mutawa
Club: Al Qadsia (Kuwait)
Position: Attacking midfielder
The most decorated of the Kuwaiti squad, Al-Mutawa is one of the survivors from Kuwait’s shock 1-0 win over the Socceroos in Canberra back in 2009. He is considered a legend at his club side Al Qadsia due to his phenomenal strike-rate in front of goal and was voted as Asia’s second-best player in 2006. Al-Mutawa, who wears jersey number 17 for both club and country, has scored 46 times from 141 internationals and will have to play a leading role if Jorvan Vieira’s side is to go far in January’s tournament.
Other players to watch: Abdulaziz Mashaan (Al Qadsia), Fahad Al Enezi (Al Kuwait), Yousef Al Sulaiman (Mazma)
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.
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