A controversial cancelled friendly with UAE and a new coach in Nabil Maaloul means Kuwait go into their Asian Cup opener with the Socceroos as a bit of an unknown.Maaloul is said to be a somewhat defensive coach, according to Qatari journalists in Australia for the Asian Cup. In the Qatari Stars League, they watched Maaloul coach Al Jaish - one of the stronger sides with Maaloul employing a more expansive game. However they felt with Kuwait, Maaloul will revert to his natural defensive mindset against the Socceroos to sit back and play for a draw. Maaloul was involved in a heated argument last Saturday when Kuwait was scheduled to play a final warm-up match against the UAE - cancelled minutes before kick-off after a row about recording the match. Maaloul wanted to film the game to help with preparations but the UAE said that would break a previous agreement.
"Our coach was in Qatar, and Qatar and the UAE are in the same group - they think our coach will give Qatar the video," defender Khaled Ebrahim explained. Kuwait facts:
* Coach: Nabil Maaloul *Captain: Bader Al Mutawa
* Ranked #125 in the world.
* Won maiden Asian Cup in 1980 (as host nation)
* Runners up four years earlier
* Bidding for first quarter-final appearance since 2000
* Record against Australia: four wins, one draw, one loss
* Other Group A matches: Korea Republic in Canberra 12 Jan; Oman in Newcastle 17 Jan.
* Beaten 5-0 by Oman in Gulf Cup in November, resulting in departure of Brazilian coach Jorvan Vieira and the appointment of Tunisian Nabil Maaloul
* Other results at Gulf Cup: Beat Iraq 1-0; Drew 2-2 with UAE; Drew 1-1 with Iraq (last match)
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