Glitzy evening for Asian Cup draw

The Sydney Opera House will this evening host one of Asian football’s night of nights, the Final Draw for the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

The Sydney Opera House will this evening host one of Asian football-s night of nights, the Final Draw for the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

The cream of Asian football talent will descend on Australia next January for Asia-s biggest single-sport event and the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia.

The draw will determine what route their national teams will need to take to reach the final at Sydney-s Stadium Australia on Saturday 31 January 2015.

In terms of mouth-watering match ups in the knock-out stages, the aficionado will be looking to those nations qualified for this year-s FIFA World Cup in Brazil: Australia, Iran, Japan and Korea Republic. Jordan and Uzbekistan were the next two closest to qualifying and should pose problems for their opponents.

For the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 group draw, Korea Republic will be the team the top four seeds will want to avoid. The Koreans were pushed into Pot two, a result of the decision to base the seedings on current FIFA world rankings and to install hosts Australia as the first team in Pot one.

Combine the Koreans with a mercurial team like Iraq and you could be looking at a ‘group of death-.

Australia and Japan will look to write another chapter in their recent rivalry. The Australians came out on top in the group stage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, thanks to Tim Cahill. The Blue Samurai turned the tables at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, knocking the Socceroos out on penalties in the quarter finals. Four years later they repeated the dose, this time in the final, with Tadanari Lee scoring the winner in the second period of extra time.

The opening match of the tournament will feature host nation Australia and be played in Melbourne on Friday, January 9.

AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 - FINAL DRAW Date: Wednesday, 26 March 2014 Where: Sydney Opera House Who: Each of the 15 qualifying nation coaches Key Timings: 6:20pm Cup arrives at Sydney Opera House 6:25pm Cup handed to Brett Emerson on Sydney Opera House steps 7:00pm Final Draw commences 8:00pm Final Draw concludes

How does the draw work? Fifteen nations have already qualified for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015. Qualifications are a result of automatic qualifications, qualifying group winners and runners up and the winner of the AFC Challenge Cup 2012.

The last spot will go to the winner of the AFC Challenge Cup 2014, played in the Maldives in May. As competition host, Australia automatically qualify as the top ranked team. The final qualifying team will be allocated the 16th and final ranking.

Rankings have been calculated from the FIFA Rankings released on Thursday, March 13. As a result of above rankings, team are allocated a ‘pot- for the final draw. Pots are as per the following: Pot 1 Australia, Iran, Japan, Uzbekistan

Pot 2 Korea Republic, UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia

Pot 3 Oman, China PR, Qatar, Iraq

Pot 4 Bahrain, Kuwait, Korea DPR, country TBC (AFC Challenge Cup winner)

Groups: The draw will begin with Pot 4, with the first ball drawn to be positioned in A4, followed by the second ball into position B4, the third ball drawn placed in position C4 and subsequently, the final ball is placed in D4. The same process will then occur for Pot 3 and Pot 2. Australia as the host will be automatically positioned as A1 from the final Pot. The other three teams from Pot 1 will be randomly drawn to fill the number one position in each group.

Group A A1 (Asutralia) A2 A3 A4

Group B B1 B2 B3 B4

Group C C1 C2 C3 C4

Group D D1 D2 D3 D4

Asian Cup History Japan is the most successful nation in Asian Cup history with four titles, including three of the last four played. This success all comes from only seven appearances. The next most successful nations are Saudi Arabia and Iran with three wins a piece, the latter taking three in a row in a period of dominance between 1968 and 1976.

Australia will be hoping to become the sixth nation to win on home soil in this competition. The last was Japan in 1992.

City match breakdown The AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015, a 23-day festival of football played across five cities, will commence when the Socceroos kick off at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Friday, 9 January 2015.

The tournament will conclude at Sydney-s Stadium Australia, with the final set for Saturday 31 January 2015.

Sydney - 4 pool matches, 1 quarter final, 1 semi final, final Newcastle - 2 pool matches, 1 semi final, 3rd/4th play-off Melbourne - 6 pool matches, 1 quarter final Canberra - 6 pool matches, 1 quarter final Brisbane - 6 pool matches, 1 quarter final