Tournament Profile: AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015

As we celebrate a century of Socceroos memories in the lead-up to September's series against New Zealand, each week we'll be looking back at a major tournament the team have played in over the years. 

We'll be working back in time, covering 11 tournaments that are all significant parts of our story: the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 2015 AFC Asian Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2006 FIFA World Cup, 1997 Confederations Cup, 1992 Olympics, 1988 Gold Cup, 1974 FIFA World Cup, 1967 Friendly Nations Tournament and the 1956 Olympics. 

Our second edition covers the Socceroos' home-soil triumph at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. 

Read on to re-live the tournament in detail, and keep an eye on the Socceroos' social media channels for more special content, and a chance to share your memories of these matches. 

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Our location 

Announced in 2011, Australia was chosen for the right to host the 2015 tournament after being the sole bidder. Matches were played across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.

It was a three-week, 32-match festival of football that kicked off with the opening ceremony and first Socceroos match in Melbourne on January 9 and ended with the final in Sydney on January 31.

As host, Australia automatically qualified for what was its third Asian Cup since joining the confederation in 2006.

The Asian Cup trophy is modelled in front of the Sydney Opera House.

Our coach 

Ange Postecoglou took over the Socceroos' job from Holger Osieck in October 2013.

He entered the job with a strong reputation, built off the success gained in the National Soccer League and the A-League through a possession-based philosophy that had delivered many titles. 

While Postecoglou's first task was to steer the side through a 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign which ultimately ended in three straight defeats against Chile, the Netherlands and Spain, his subsequent goal was to rejuvenate the national team.

Despite elimination in the group stage of the World Cup, significant changes had been made to the Socceroos squad and the evolution of his playing group continued in the build-up to the Asian Cup on home soil. 

In the sixth months leading up to the tournament, the Socceroos won only one match as Postecoglou tried to implement his style with character-building matches played in difficult conditions in the Middle East, Japan and Europe. 

But in the 2015 Asian Cup, the process that saw the former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory coach rejuvenate the Socceroos after the majority of the country’s Golden Generation had retired bared its fruits. 

Ange Postecoglou

Our squad

Postecoglou's 23-man squad featured a strong local flavour, with no less than seven A-League representatives, while there were 16 members of the Socceroos squad that went to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. 

Seven members of the Socceroos squad that were runners-up at the AFC Asian Cup 2011 Qatar also featured. 

The two real surprises were the inclusions of  Aston Villa's Chris Herd and West Brom's Jason Davidson. Both hadn't been playing first-team football with respective clubs, but had been chosen to compete for the fullback positions with Ivan Franjic and Aziz Behich.

Jason Davidson celebrates his semi-final goal at the 2015 Asian Cup.

Socceroos (Club at time of 2014 squad announcement) 

Goalkeepers: Mitch Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mathew Ryan (Club Brugge) and Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United)

Defenders: Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Ivan Franjic (Torpedo Moscow), Jason Davidson (West Brom) and Chris Herd (Aston Villa)

Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Terry Antonis (Sydney FC), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), James Troisi (Zulte Waregem) and Marco Bresciano (Al-Gharafa)

Attackers: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Tomi Juric (Western Sydney Wanderers), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht), Nathan Burns (Wellington Phoenix) and Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt)

Our opponents

Seeded in pot one alongside Iran, Uzbekistan and Japan, the Socceroos were drawn in Group A against  Kuwait, Oman and Korea Republic. 

While Postecoglou would have liked to avoid Korea Republic, it was not the hardest possible outcome as the Socceroos avoided a match-up with Iraq from pot three and North Korea from pot four but Kuwait and Oman would still provide stern tests for the hosts.

After Australia secured wins over Kuwait and Oman in the group stage, the Green and Gold booked a spot against China in the quarter-finals. 

The semi-finals saw the Socceroos come up against the United Arab Emirates in Newcastle and the final was a rematch against Korea Republic at Stadium Australia in Sydney. 

Massimo Luongo takes on the South Korean defence in Brisbane.

Our results

The tournament itself turned out to be one of the Socceroos' greatest ever achievements on home soil. 

Australia received their first test on January 9 as the hosts kicked off the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Finals in Melbourne in their Group A opener against Kuwait.

Despite going behind to a surprise Hussain Ali goal, the Green and Gold rallied to win 4-1 with Tim Cahill equalising before Massimo Luongo put the hosts 2-1 ahead just before the break.

The second half saw Mile Jedinak convert a penalty, before  James Troisi put the icing on the cake in the final moments.

Massimo Luongo

Four days later, a 4-0 victory over Oman at Stadium Australia not only sent a signal of intent to the rest of the competition, but it also sealed a place in the knockout rounds with one group game remaining.

Matt McKay, Robbie Kruse and Mark Milligan all found the net in the first half before a goal for substitute Tomi Juric midway through the second completed the rout.

The result meant Australia only needed a draw from the final group game with Korea Republic on Saturday night to top the group.

Tomi Juric scored the fourth and final goal in the big win over Oman.

With a place in the quarter-finals secured, Postecoglou took the opportunity to change his line-up for the final group stage match against the Koreans in Brisbane. 

The Socceroos bossed possession (67 per cent to 33 per cent) and had numerous chances but lost 1-0 as they could not find a reply to Lee Jeong-Hyeop’s 32nd-minute goal.

The 1-0 defeat relegated Australia to second place in Group A and a quarter-final match-up against China in Brisbane on Thursday night.

The quarter-finals saw the Socceroos blow China away in a devastating 16-minute spell with superstar striker Tim Cahill scoring twice - including a candidate for goal of the tournament - to win their Asian Cup quarter-final 2-0 at Brisbane Stadium.

Cahill's heroics set up a semi-final with the United Arab Emirates, who had eliminated holders Japan in a penalty shoot-out in their last eight encounter.

Five days later, the Socceroos book their spot in the 2015 Asian Cup final after a devastating early onslaught ensured a 2-0 victory in the semi-final at a rain-soaked Newcastle Stadium.

Defenders Trent Sainsbury and Jason Davidson both bagged their first international goals as the hosts scored twice in the first 14 minutes and by the final whistle, the Green and Gold were on their way to a second successive AFC Asian Cup final.

Jason Davidson celebrates his semi-final goal at the 2015 Asian Cup.

Familiar foes lay in wait in the final with Korea Republic saw off Iraq in the semi-finals to advance to the decider at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.

Korea approached the game in formidable nick. They had not conceded a goal throughout the tournament, while ex-Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and Tottenham Hotspur live-wire Son Heung-min had been two of the competition’s standout players.

Luongo, who was one of the Socceroos' best performers of the tournament, gave the Green and Gold the lead on the stroke of half-time with an emphatic powerful dipping effort from outside the box but, Son levelled with seconds remaining to take the final into extra-time.

It was the ultimate test of character that Australia managed to lift themselves once more following the hammer blow of Son Heung-min’s strike.

Tomi Juric showed great strength to hold off and dribble past a clutch of defenders on the byline and after Kim Jin-hyeon parried the striker's shot back into the danger zone,  James Troisi was on hand to slam the ball into the roof of the net and crown Australia champions of Asia for the first time.