|Tourney Name:||AFC Asian Cup|
|Other Titles:||Malay: Piala Asia 2007 (Indonesian, Malaysian)|
Thai: เอเชียนคัพ 2007 (Thai)
Vietnamese: Cúp bóng đá châu Á 2007 (Vietnamese)
|Dates:||7 July – 29 July|
|Top Scorer:|| Younis Mahmoud|
The Asian Football Confederation's 2007 AFC Asian Cup finals were held from July 7 to July 29, 2007. For the first time in its history, the competition was co-hosted by four nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The tournament was won by first-time champions Iraq, who defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final. As the winner, Iraq represented the AFC at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The Asian Cup had previously been held every 4 years from 1956 onwards, the last cup being held in China PR in 2004. However, with the Summer Olympic Games and the European Football Championship also held in the same year as the Asian Cup (2004, 2008, 2012 etc.), the AFC decided to change their tradition and hold the tournament in 2007, and every four years henceforth from that date.
An estimated worldwide television audience of 650 million people tuned in to watch the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.
This was the first major AFC tournament in which Australia participated as a member.
The decision to have four host nations for this edition of the Asian Cup was proposed and presented to the executive committee by AFC president Mohammed Bin Hammam. However, he later regretted this decision and called it his "mistake", citing the financial and logistic difficulties in organising an event across four countries.
He said that "It is proving very difficult for [the executive committee as they] have to have four organising committees, four media centres and there are also financial considerations." He also revealed that "[He would] definitely [not do] it [again]," if he had the choice.
In June 2005, the Asian Football Confederation warned Thailand that it needed to improve its facilities before 2007, otherwise it would be dropped, possibly being replaced with Singapore. On August 12 of the same year, the AFC confirmed that Thailand would be a co-host of the 2007 Asian Cup. However in October 2006, Thailand was again warned to improve its facilities in 90 days.
|width=25%||Jakarta, Indonesia||width=25%||Palembang, Indonesia||width=25%||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||width=25%||Shah Alam, Malaysia|
|Gelora Bung Karno Stadium||Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium||National Stadium||Shah Alam Stadium|
|Capacity: 88,306||Capacity: 40,000||Capacity: 87,411||Capacity: 69,932|
|Bangkok, Thailand||Bangkok, Thailand||Hanoi, Vietnam||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam|
|Rajamangala Stadium||Suphachalasai Stadium||My Dinh National Stadium||Army Stadium|
|Capacity: 65,000||Capacity: 35,000||Capacity: 40,192||Capacity: 25,000|
See main article: 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualification.
The qualification round ran from February 22, 2006 to November 15, 2006. For the first time, the defending champions (Japan) needed to attend the qualification stage. Twenty-four teams attempted to qualify for 2007 AFC Asian Cup. They were divided into 4 teams for each group and determined the remaining last 12 places, as the four co-hosts - Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam - were already granted automatic qualification. Australia was the first non-host nation to qualify.
|Country||Qualified as||Date qualification was secured||Previous appearances in tournament|
|Co-hosts||7 August 2004||31996, 2000, 2004)(|
|Co-hosts||7 August 2004||21976, 1980)(|
|Co-hosts||7 August 2004||51972, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)(|
|Co-hosts||7 August 2004||21956*, 1960*)(|
For the first time, the seeds are based on the October 2006 FIFA World Rankings instead of the basis of the performance from the previous AFC Asian Cup competition. This was to ensure that the same number of strong teams do not meet in the early stage.
The four seeded teams were announced on December 19, 2006. The seeds comprised Pot 4 in the draw. Pot 1 consists of the teams from all co-hosts.
|width=20%||Pot 1||width=20%||Pot 2||width=20%||Pot 3||width=20%||Pot 4|
| || || || |
On December 19, 2006, the draw was held in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
The Official Match Ball for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup was launched by Nike on May 15, 2007, making it the first time ever that a ball had been launched specifically for any football competition in Asia. The Nike Mercurial Veloci AC features four blue stripes with gold trim with each host city's name inscribed, as well as the AFC Asian Cup logo.
The Asian Cup saw many upsets in the early stages of the tournament. In Group A, Oman held favourites Australia to a surprising draw. Oman took the lead and would have won save for an injury time goal from Tim Cahill. Next, hosts Vietnam shocked Gulf Champions UAE with a 2-0 victory. In the same group, Qatar held Japan to a shock 1-1 draw, which caused Japan coach Ivica Osim to fly into a rage in which he branded his players as 'amateurs' and reduced his interpreter to tears. In Group D, Indonesia continued the undefeated streak of the hosts by defeating Bahrain 2-1. Malaysia ended up as the only host country to drop their match, losing to China 5-1. Thailand recorded just its 2nd win in the Asian Cup finals (their other was in 1972 against Cambodia), and its first ever win in regulation, when they beat Oman 2-0 on July 12. Meanwhile, Australia was upset by a 3-1 defeat against Iraq the following day, leaving them floundering in the tournament despite high expectations.
In the quarterfinals, Iraq defeated Vietnam 2-0, South Korea (known as 'Korea Republic') beat Iran in a shootout 4-2, as did Japan over Australia 4-3 (this was the first time Australian 'keeper Mark Schwarzer had ever come out on the losing end of a penalty shoot-out), and Saudi Arabia won over Uzbekistan 2-1. Iraq upset South Korea in the semi-finals by winning 4-3 on penalties, resulting in thousands of Iraqis celebrating in the streets of Baghdad. Over 50 Iraqis were killed by terrorist bombs targeting these crowds. In the other semi-finals, Saudi Arabia topped defending champions Japan 3-2 to make an all-Arab affair for the final match.
Iraq went on to defeat Saudi Arabia 1-0 taking the Asian Cup title. Iraqi forward and captain Younis Mahmoud was given the title of Most Valuable Player. South Korea took third place narrowly beating Japan in penalties 6-5. It was the third consecutive match in the tournament that South Korea played 0-0 before a penalty shootout. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea, as the top three national teams in the tournament, all received automatic berths to the 2011 Asian Cup finals to be held in Qatar.
|colspan=2||Key to colours in group tables|
|Group winners and runners-up advance to the quarter-finals|
See main article: 2007 AFC Asian Cup Group B.
See main article: 2007 AFC Asian Cup Group D.
See main article: 2007 AFC Asian Cup Final.
|colspan=11||Eliminated in the Quarterfinals|
|colspan=11||Eliminated in the First Stage|