The last quarterfinal fixture of the 2019 Asian Cup on Thursday will see Australia, who are currently the defending champions, take on the United Arab Emirates, who is playing host for the Asian Cup this year.
Despite advancing to the quarterfinals, the Socceroos haven’t displayed any skills or abilities to showcase that they are indeed the defending champions at the moment. And facing the UAE – who will definitely receive backup on home soil thanks to their fans – the Socceroos need to make sure that they are ready for business when this match gets underway.
On the other hand, the UAE will need to freely express themselves without being affected by the desire for revenge or the weight of expectations being the host country. As we head into the heavyweight match, let’s take a closer look and the key facts and stats surrounding this important game.
The host country of two of the last three Asian Cup campaigns hasn’t managed to appear in the semi-finals, with the Socceroos being the exception in 2015 when they managed to win the tournament at the end. However, there’s not one ASEAN country during the 2007 campaign, or Qatar during the 2011 campaign that managed to make it to the semi-finals while playing on home soil.
Australia Attempts to Right a Wrong
For some reason, reigning champions don’t seem to perform all too well during the following edition of the Asian Cup campaign of late, with both Japan in 2015 and Iraq in 2011 stumbling when they reached the quarterfinal stage. The last time this occurred was in 2007 when Japan advanced to the quarterfinal stage after winning the tournament four years before that. With a win over Syria, the Socceroos can finally eliminate that trend as they managed to get a spot in the semi-finals this year.
A Thrilling Match Awaits
The match between Australia – who are considered a persistent attacking team – and the UAE, will undoubtedly be a high-scoring game if you look at the UAE’s propensity to both concede and score freely. The UAE will head into this game having conceded and scored in four of the last five Asian Cup matches, with the exception of their 2-0 victory over India. Even in the game against India, the UAE was extremely fortunate not to concede as the Indian side had far more chances in the match.
Australia Needs To Rectify Their Attack
Even though they are the defending champions at the moment, the Socceroos have fired several blanks in two of their last four matches in the Asian Cup so far. Jamie Maclaren, who is Australia’s first choice when it comes to playing forward, seriously needs to pick up his game, especially due to the fact that Tom Rogic will not be in the squad against the UAE as he is currently suspended. However, the return of Mathew Leckie will be a good sign for the Australian head coach before the match gets underway.