Qualifying for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 begins

The road to AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 begins today with 10 qualifying matches being held across Asia.

The road to AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 begins today with 10 qualifying matches being held across Asia.

Highlights of Match Day 1 include West Asian heavyweights Iran and Lebanon playing in Tehran and three-time continental champions Saudi Arabia hosting China.

The round of matches is the first of six that will be played during the next 13 months to determine the qualifiers for AFC Asian Cup which is being held for the first time in Australia in January 2015. Australia, Japan, South Korean and DPR Korea have already qualified for the event.

AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Local Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown said preparations were well underway for what will be the largest football event ever held in Australia.

“There is now less than two years until Asia-s biggest sporting event kicks off in our backyard,” Mr Brown said.

"Our aim is to make AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 a world-class event that celebrates Asia's rich football culture and leaves an enduring legacy for the game in Australia.

“The Local Organising Committee has been working hard on that and in the coming months we will be making some exciting announcements about the match schedule and venues for the tournament.”

Mr Brown said the Local Organising Committee was also working with Australian governments to use the Asian Cup to strengthen Australia-s cultural, social and economic ties with countries across Asia.

“The AFC Asian Cup 2015 is expected to reach a television audience of 2.5 billion and bring 45,000 international visitors to Australia,” Mr Brown said.

“We are working closely with Federal and State governments to use the event to build relationships with business and community leaders from across Asia and to promote Australian tourism, trade and other interests in key markets across the continent.”

Matches in the 16-nation tournament will be played across five stadiums in Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria.

The AFC Asian Cup 2015 is being jointly-funded by the Australian Government and the Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victorian Governments.

AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 qualifying matches round 1:

Date Match Venue Wednesday February 6, 2013 Jordan v Singapore, Amman International Stadium, Amman Oman v Syria, Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat IR Iran v Lebanon, Azadi Stadium, Tehran Thailand v Kuwait, Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok Iraq v Indonesia, Al Ahli Stadium, Dubai Saudi Arabia v China PR, Prince Mohammed Bin Fahad Stadium, Dammam Qatar v Malaysia, Al-Sadd Stadium, Doha Yemen v Bahrain, Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah Uzbekistan v Hong Kong, Pakhtakor Central Stadium, Tashkent Vietnam v UAE, My Dinh Stadium, Hanoi