Asian Cup 2019: 3 Reasons Why Australia will find it tough to defend the title
- Australia won the previous edition when it was held in their backyard. With the home advantage gone, can the Socceroos reclaim their throne?
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup will embark on 5th January with UAE battling out against Bahrain on the tournament opener. Australia, on the other hand, will kickstart their sojourn on the next day against Jordan.
Going by the latest FIFA rankings, Australia is the second-highest AFC ranked nation, only behind Iran.
However, the Caltex Socceroos can't afford to take their title defense lightly. Iran, Japan, and South Korea are some of the other heavyweights to clinch the coveted trophy and pipping them won't be an easy affair.
Without any further ado, here are three reasons why Australia will find it difficult to defend their title.
#1 No home advantage
It is no secret that home advantage plays a vital role in any team's preparations for a tournament. In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the hosts Russia had a fairy-tale run despite being ranked lower by knocking out Spain to reach the quarter-finals.
In the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, the current 41st-ranked team beat China and UAE 2-0 in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, with ease. In the final, 76,385 fans flocked the Stadium Australia in Sydney and supported the home side.
Son Heung-Min equalized Massimo Luongo's earlier goal in the 91st minute to take the game into extra time before James Troisi sent the fans in euphoria in the 105th minute.
It will be Australia's fourth Asian Cup campaign after shifting their ship from the Oceanian Confederation.
The climate and weather conditions of Australia are completely different to that of the Asian countries. They banked on it in 2015 and, it worked. However, the temperature and humidity of UAE can take a toll on the Australian players.