Asian Cup Diary - Day 8: Feeling 'jiggered'
After watching the United Arab Emirates beat Bahrain, then spectate as Iran snatched three points against Qatar at Stadium Australia the night before in what was a rather ordinary match – heck, had it not been for those fanatical crowds, it would’ve been dire – we were on the verge of collapsing. Physically and mentally that is.
But is that really such a bad thing? Contrary to what those sleep experts will tell you, it really isn’t. In fact, it’s therapeutic and beneficial as we wait another three or so years before another edition of World Cup.
Besides, it’s the Asian Cup, one of very few premier football events that don’t require us football lovers to wake up in the early hours of the morning. The sleep deprived exhaustion just feels right. And while going to work has been a struggle, things could be worse, right?
Well, erm, yes, and it seems day eight was more memorable due to off-field issues than on-field action.
Unluckiest Socceroo ever?
If you’re Chris Herd. The Aston Villa defender has unfortunately been ruled out for the rest of the Asian Cup due to an Achilles injury.
"It's disappointing for the team and especially for Chris that he is unable to continue in the tournament.
"It has been determined it is in Chris' best interests that he returns to Aston Villa for rehabilitation to ensure he can get back on the pitch."
Surely, Herd has got to be one of the unluckiest Socceroos. And having struggled for game time at Villa as well, things aren’t looking that great for the 25-year-old defender.
Meanwhile, reports recently circulated that Mexico-born coach Javier Aguirre’s position as head coach of Japan is in jeopardy. And no, it’s not performance related.
The 56-year-old has been accused of partaking in a match-fixing scandal which will see him take to the stand at court next month.
His previously open, relaxed attitude towards the media would have you believe that there was no way in the world a man of such stature would match-fix in order to save his Real Zaragoza side from La Liga relegation. And while The Diary is no mentalist, his failure to adamantly address the issues, instead saying that he would ‘only talk about football’ seems to suggest something fishy is going on.
Regardless of the court proceedings, it seems his time in Asia may be short lived, and his tenure could come to a premature end come the completion of the Asian Cup.
Just on Japan, it seems their care-free attitude in approaching the group stages isn’t winning them any fans. Their successive 1-0 win over Iraq suggests they should have more to offer.
Meanwhile, the feel-good story of the Asian Cup has come to an abrupt end, with Palestine officially out of the tournament.
While they managed to notch up their first ever competition goal, a consolation goal at best, their failure to compete will undoubtedly divide fans on whether the Asian Cup should be extended to allow more nations to compete.
At this rate, though, The Diary stands by its stance that 16 nations is enough, for now.