Socceroos draw Thailand, Oman and Iraq

The Socceroos will play their pool matches in Thailand at Asia's biggest football tournament - the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. The tournament draw was held tonight in Kuala Lumpur with Australia being drawn in Group A alongside Iraq, Oman and co-hosts Thailand.

The Socceroos will play their pool matches in Thailand at Asia's biggest football tournament - the finals of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.

The tournament draw was held tonight in Kuala Lumpur with Australia (FIFA ranking 39) being drawn in Group A alongside Iraq (83), Oman (72) and co-hosts Thailand (137).

Australia will play their first match against Oman on Sunday 8 July 2007 and then will take on Iraq on Friday 13 July 2007 and Thailand on Monday 16 July. All those matches will be played in Bangkok.

National coach Graham Arnold who attended the draw said that the Socceroos would face some dangerous opposition.

"Historically the host nations of the Asian Cups have done well so Thailand will be looking to continue that record," said Arnold.

"Iraq recently made the final of the Asian Games and they showed us when we played them last year in Sydney how dangerous they can be. We had to come from behind and it was only a late goal by Ahmed Elrich that got us over the line 2-1."

"Oman are a bit of an unknown quantity. We have never played them before and they have had some solid results recently which shows they can beat anyone on their day."

"It's going to be warm and we will need to ensure we do the appropriate preparation work for the tournament."

The winner of Group A will play the runner-up of Group B while the runner-up of Group A will play the winner of Group B in the quarter finals. Australia will face either Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Qatar or Japan in the quarter finals should they finish in the top two of their group.

All eyes were on Asia's newest entrants who were the first team to qualify for the tournament finishing ahead of Bahrain and Kuwait in their qualifying group and it was Qantas Socceroo and Sydney FC's David Carney who drew the ball out the bowl that put Australia into Group A.

The tournament, which is being co-hosted by Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, commences on 7 July and the final will be held on 29 July in Jakarta.

FOX SPORTS will show all of Australia-s matches at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup LIVE and exclusive.

THE GROUPS

Group A - Thailand, Iraq, Oman, Australia Group B - Vietnam, UAE, Qatar, Japan Group C - Malaysia, China, Uzbekistan, Iran Group D - Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Korea Republic

AUSTRALIA'S GROUP MATCHES

Australia v Oman - Sunday 8 July 2007 in Bangkok Australia v Iraq - Friday 13 July 2007 in Bangkok Australia v Thailand - Monday 16 July 2007 in Bangkok

HISTORY OF THE AFC ASIAN CUP

From its humble beginnings in 1956, the AFC Asian Cup has developed into the continent-s premier football tournament, bringing together the top national teams from the length and breadth of Asia to compete for one of international football-s most sought-after prizes every four years.

The tournament had it roots in the formation of the Asian Football Confederation in Manila in 1954. The 12 founder members of the AFC sought to shape the development of the game in Asia and one of the keys to achieving that aim was the organisation of a regional competition for the continent's international teams.

Just two years later, the first ever Asian Cup was staged in Hong Kong with seven of the 12 affiliated national associations vying for the title of Asia's best football team.

Over half a century later, the Asian Cup has grown to encompass teams from throughout the continent and has become the barometer by which the continually changing balance of power in Asian football is measured.

From the dominance of Korea Republic in the early years of the competition, the Asian Cup became the providence of the mighty Iranians who won three consecutive tournaments from 1968 to 1976.

During the 1980s, the Gulf states asserted themselves with Kuwait becoming the first Arab side to win the competition in 1980 before Saudi Arabia claimed three of the next four championships, reaching the final five times in a row.

Japan's Asian Cup victories in 1992, 2000 and 2004 signalled a shift in power back to East Asia at the turn of the Millennium although the highly competitive nature of the most recent tournament in China is a clear indication that competition remains keen among the sides looking to be crowned Asia-s top national team.

The tournament has traditionally been held in Olympic years but this year changes to a one-off three year cycle in order to avoid the European Championship and the Olympic Games in the future. The next tournament is due to be held in 2011.

Featured News