Friday, January 7, 2011

Asian Cup to kick off in Qatar

Football’s 2011 AFC Asian Cup will take place from January 7 to 29 in Qatar. There is special interest around the world after organizer Qatar was surprisingly named the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup last month.

16 of Asia’s best national soccer teams will be seen in action. Former German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel, who has played on all continents and knows Asian football well, has high expectations from host Qatar. "I think it will be a very well organized tournament," Pfannenstiel told Deutsche Welle. "Generally, the Arab world has developed in football and improved a lot over the last few years. I think it definitely will be a spectacular tournament of high quality."

The defending champions Iraq had surprised everyone by winning the 2007 Asian Cup finals 1-0 against Saudi Arabia in Jakarta. That tournament was co-hosted by four Southeast Asian nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, who this time will not be participating in the Asian Cup.

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