What you need to know about Kuwait

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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