Oman draws Japan in tough Asian Cup group

Lucy Bush
May 7, 2018

The official draw for the group-stage took place on Friday.

Hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain are the other three teams in the group.

"This is the second time the UAE has staged this competition and the fact that the competition has now doubled in size demonstrates how far Asian football has progressed in 22 years". India had finished runners-up to Israel in 1964.

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Palestine will be an unknown quantity, having never played Australia since they were admitted as a national team by Federation Internationale de Football Association in 1998. We played against Thailand in six-seven years ago and it was a 2-2 draw. "Once we see these five teams play, we will know how far we are", Chhetri said at the sidelines of a KIA motors initiative in New Delhi to select two kids as official match ball carriers for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation. It also reached the Asian Cup in 2011 and 2015. "We played the UAE in 2015 and in the [recent] qualifiers and I look at their team and, on paper, there's so much talent, particularly going forward".

Chhetri, on Sunday, said that India have to first improve within the continent and only then they can start looking at the whole wide world. Just when the India name came out, I felt really good. He's going to develop at a faster rate than I or others did.

"Many have not seen Bahrain and Thailand play". But also in the experience they have with the coach they've brought in, and that they're playing at home.

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Asian Cup titleholder Australia faces Syria, a team the Socceroos defeated in a World Cup playoff in October, as well as Palestine and Jordan.

Meanwhile, defending champions Australia were handed an intriguing draw. Chhetri said that the difference between the two teams is that the 2011 squad was a settled side and this time, they have a young and dynamic side. We've played two of those opponents recently.

"We got some hard ones and some interesting ones". I believe on our day we can beat anybody.

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"This is a challenge that we won't shy away from", said Australia's assistant coach Ante Milicic. The team is now lagging behind relatively uncompetitive Asian teams compared to its best FIFA Ranking of 37th in 2004. We know whichever team we face, it's going to be hard.

Other reports by Info About Network

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