We asked four Soccerphile writers for their picks for the 2011 Asian Cup, which kicks off today.
First Seoul-based K-League cognoscente John Duerden: It’s an open competition but I have a feeling for Saudi Arabia.
This is a team that could either do terribly or go all the way. For a change, the coach stayed after failing to qualify for the World Cup and there is an unusual sense of stability around the team, something that has been lacking for years. Also do well in West Asia and have reached six of the last seven finals. Hardly ever mentioned as favourites but they are ready to slip in under the radar.
Just like Iran, who are also dangerous, Togel Online missing out on the World Cup has focused minds, given the team 18 months to prepare for this and a thirst to prove their worth.
Australian soccer expert Marc Fox: Just like four years ago I think it will be pretty open … even predicting the winners of the groups is a tough call. But I think South Korea might prove strong enough this time if they can find enough goals.
UK-based Premiership pundit Andy Greeves: On the back of their strong performance at last summer’s World Cup, I’m tipping Japan to win the 2011 Asian Cup.
Keisuke Honda was a revelation in South Africa and I can see him being a stand out performer once again at this tournament. I’m also a big fan of Yasuhito Endo in their midfield, who could do a job in any league around the world. Alberto Zaccheroni’s squad has a very nice blend of youth and experience and crucially in Shinji Okazaki, they have a proven goalscorer who can fire them to …