Stadium Australia went wild today as the gold and green Socceroos won their first ever ASIAN CUP victory to add to the recent club success of Western Sydney Wanderers winning the Asian Club title in 2014.
With a crowd of 76,000 including about 6,000 South Koreans dressed in red, it was a terrific atmosphere for sports crazy Australia. The Koreans, coached by former 'Gladbach and Real Madrid star Uli Stielike, had beaten the hosts in the opening round 1-0, but with many team changes this was a new ball game. Massimo Luongo, who plays third tier football for Swindon Town, opened the score for the hosts almost on half-time.
With two minutes of a three minute added time in the second half and the fans and players waiting for the trophy ceremony, Son Heung-min equalized for the Red Devils,from a pass from captain Ki-Sung-yueng. Both teams had already used their permitted three substitutes, and went into extra-time with no changes. James Troisi put The Socceroos ahead again at the end of the first quarter hour and held on for the second 15 minutes for victory, which was well deserved.
Stielike has had a world wide career coaching Switzeland, Ivory Coast, Germany assistant,and a number of Middle Eastern clubs. Opposing him was Australian career man Ange Postecoglou. Although born in Athens he moved to Melbourne at the age of five and all his coaching has been in Australia. He played for and later coached South Melbourne,winning 4 national titles, twice as a player and twice as their coach.
Western Sydney Wanderers, a recent sensation, winning the Australian title in their first ever season, then defeating Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal 1-0 on aggregate, which gave them entry to the FIFA Club World Championships in Morocco.
Star player and top goalscorer for The 'Roos is Tim Cahill, formerly with Everton and Millwall and now at 35 at the end of a glorious career with New York Red Bulls, but was substituted early.
The Aussies joined AFC Asian Football Federation in 2006 for better competition after totally dominating OFC Oceania for many years. There is a lot of resentment. The day before the final there were calls from many of the Gulf States to kick out Australia after 9 years. AFC President Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa told a newspaper that many West Asian associations were angry. AFC has 4 guaranteed FIFA World Cup automatic entries plus a fifth chance via an intercontinental play-off. South Korea and Japan and now Australia dominate Asia.
Asian Cup 2015 has been a financial success and Australia is one of the top 5 Tv and sponsorship markets. I have suggested for some time that FIFA should readjust the federations. North African associations should join with West Asian Arab states to form a new federation, with one guaranteed place at the FIFA World Cup. This would give more chance for Central Asian Associations and the new Asian Confederation having 3 1/2 World Cup places.SEEMS FAIR TO ME !