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11 December 2023

Asian Cup funkiest: Worm dance is the rave

Japan's Yasuhito Endo is thrown in the air by team mates as he celebrates his 150th cap for the national team after the Asian Cup Group D soccer match win over Iraq at the Brisbane Stadium in Brisbane January 16, 2015. (REUTERS)


China turned up for a training session in Canberra lacking the most crucial item for a kick-about -- a ball. In fact, the team arrived without any equipment, including bibs and cones, after their driver had gone to the wrong venue.

Alain Perrin's players made do, however, and treated assembled media to some entertaining warm-up routines, including a couple of decent attempts at the "worm dance".

The boogying stopped after about 10 minutes though when the equipment finally turned up and hacks trudged away none the wiser about how China might approach Sunday's game.

Drawing the sting

An oddity of this Asian Cup is that not one game has ended in a draw so far. Attacking football, helped by some slack defending, has meant that two-thirds of the way through the group stage, all 16 matches have been won and lost. It does however take some of the sting out of the final round of group games, with five of the eight quarter-finalists already through.

Just the ticket

Previous Asian Cups have been marked by swathes of empty seats but Australian fans have turned out in healthy numbers and the tournament despite competing against tennis and cricket and will witness its second full house on Saturday when the Socceroos face South Korea.

All tickets at the 52,500-capacity Brisbane Stadium have been snapped up for Australia's final Group A game, organisers said. More than 250,000 fans have come through the turnstiles so far.

Australia's opening game against Kuwait in Melbourne was a sellout, while 50,000 watched them trashed Oman in Sydney. Other games have also been well attended with some Japan's opening match against Palestine in Newcastle watched by more than 17,000.