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Postecoglou Calls For Unity One Year Out From Australia's Biggest Football Event

Nikkie Beltran

SOCCEROOS coach Ange Postecoglou has called for Australians to come together one year ahead of Australia’s biggest ever football event and Asia’s premier international football competition, the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

Stadium Australia is the major venue for the 32-match festival of football, playing host to the Asian Cup final, semi-final, quarter final and four Group matches over a three-week period.

The competition begins on Friday 9 January 2015 in Melbourne and the first match at Stadium Australia will be on Saturday 10 January.

In recognition of the one-year-to-go mark, Postecoglou attended an event in Melbourne’s Federation Square and urged Australians to unite behind the Socceroos as well as the nation’s efforts to deliver a world-class event.

“The Socceroos are the people’s team, and the Asian Cup is the people’s tournament,” he said.

“This is a chance for Australia to shine on and off the field. We are one of the most multicultural nations on earth, and for the first time we are hosting the top 16 teams in the world’s biggest region.”

This call-to-arms comes during an exciting time in Australian football, with the Socceroos in preparation for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil after qualifying in a nail-biting clash against Iraq at Stadium Australia on 18 June 2013.

Socceroos captain Lucas Neill recognises the significance of hosting the Asian Cup competition on home soil.

“The prospect of playing in such a massive tournament, in our own backyard, in front of our families and friends, is a tremendous driving force,” Neill said.

Twelve nations have already qualified for the Asian Cup – Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with recent qualifiers Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

A further four spots are at stake, one in the AFC Challenge Cup and a further three via the qualifiers which will culminate next March prior to the draw.

# Due to an agreement with the AFC Asian Cup organising committee, all stadiums will be referred to by their generic names, so Stadium Australia will regularly become Stadium Australia. Stadium Australia is operated by the Stadium Australia Group.

For more information on the Asian Cup, click here to visit their new website.

The Asian Cup is just one of the upcoming major events at Stadium Australia featuring world-class football.

The 2014 highlight will be a visit from Italian giants Juventus, who will take on the A-League All Stars on Saturday 10 August. This exciting event is expected to mirror the record crowds and atmosphere of the 2013 Manchester United exhibition game at Australia’s home ground. For more information click here.

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