2015 AFC Asian Cup Final

The 2015 AFC Asian Cup Final was a football match which took place on 31 January 2015 at Stadium Australia in Sydney, Australia, to determine the winner of 2015 AFC Asian Cup. It was played between South Korea and host nation Australia. Australia won the match 2–1 in extra time. Australia, being the winner of the cup final, gained entry in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which was hosted by Russia.

2015 AFC Asian Cup Final
2015 Asian Cup Final.jpg
The 2015 final in Stadium Australia
Event2015 AFC Asian Cup
After extra time
Date31 January 2015
VenueStadium Australia, Sydney
Man of the MatchTrent Sainsbury (Australia)
RefereeAlireza Faghani (Iran)
WeatherPartly cloudy
22 °C (72 °F)
63% humidity[1][2]

Before the match, South Korea had reached the AFC Asian Cup final three times (1972, 1980 and 1988), finishing runners-up in all attempts since a knockout system was introduced. However, prior to such a system, South Korea had won the tournament twice (1956 and 1960). Australia had reached one final (2011) since moving to the Asian Football Confederation from the Oceania Football Confederation in 2006.


Prior to the tournament, the two finalists had previously met each other 26 times, with South Korea winning nine games and Australia ten.[3] The two sides first met on 14 November 1967 in the final of the 1967 Quoc Khanh Cup, held in South Vietnam. Australia won the match 3–2 and secured the nation's first honour in international football.[4] The last meeting between the two teams, a 0–0 draw, took place on 20 July 2013, at the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup in South Korea. Australia, who began the 2015 Asian Cup as one of the favourites,[5] was ranked 100 in the FIFA World Rankings and tenth among AFC teams, while South Korea was ranked 69 overall, and third among AFC teams.

South Korea entered the 2015 Asian Cup as two-time Asian champions, having won the first two instalments of the tournament. However, the 2015 final was South Korea's first appearance in the final in 26 years and only their third appearance in the final since a knockout system was introduced. South Korea was first crowned champions of Asia in the inaugural 1956 edition of the Asian Cup, held in Hong Kong. There, the competition was formatted as a round-robin tournament between four teams with no final, and South Korea won the tournament after just three matches. South Korea successfully defended their title in 1960 on home soil. It was not until 1972 that South Korea would get the chance to contest the Asian title again, in the tournament's first ever final after the change to a knockout format. South Korea lost the match against Iran 2–1 in extra time. South Korea again failed to win the final match in 1980, when they lost 3–0 against host nation Kuwait. In 1988, South Korea contested the final against Saudi Arabia in Qatar. After remaining scoreless at the end of extra time, the match was decided in a penalty shoot-out, with the Saudis taking home the title through a 4–3 win.

The 2015 final was Australia's second consecutive time contesting an Asian Cup final out of only three appearances since moving to the Asian Football Confederation from the Oceania Football Confederation in 2006. In 2011, Australia lost to Japan 1–0 in extra time.

Stadium Australia in Sydney hosted the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Final

Stadium Australia was announced as the venue of the 2015 final on 27 March 2013, along with the announcement of the five stadiums used in the tournament.[6] The venue was chosen in preference to Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, which was instead selected to host the opening match of the tournament between Australia and Kuwait. The stadium chosen for the final had the largest capacity of those used in the tournament, with a capacity crowd of 84,000. It was first opened in 1999, and was built to host the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The venue has played host to a number of Sydney's major sporting events, and it was used for seven matches in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, including four group matches, a quarter-final and semi-final match, as well as the final.[7]

Route to the finalEdit

Australia's opening match against Kuwait at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

Both South Korea and Australia were drawn into Group A of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, along with lower ranked sides Oman and Kuwait. After winning all three group matches, South Korea finished first in the group. Host nation Australia finished second in the group to progress to the knockout stage of the tournament.

South Korea's first match against Oman was played at Canberra Stadium. A single goal by Cho Young-cheol in the 46th minute during injury time was enough for the South Korean's to take all three points.[8] South Korea played their second match against Kuwait in Canberra. A goal by Nam Tae-hee saw the game end 1–0.[9] In their final group match South Korea played Australia at a sold out Brisbane Stadium. The match would decide the final standings of the group, with South Korea needing a win to finish top in the group. A goal from striker Lee Jung-hyup in the 33rd minute gave South Korea their third 0–1 win in the tournament.[10] South Korea progressed to the quarter-final stage to face Group B runner-up Uzbekistan. After a goalless 90 minutes, the match was taken into extra time, where Son Heung-min found the net twice to end the game 2–0.[11] In the semi-finals, South Korea took on Iraq in Stadium Australia. Goals by Lee Jung-hyup and Kim Young-gwon ended the match 2–0, with South Korea progressing to the 2015 final.[12]

Australia's Asian Cup run started in the opening match of the tournament against Kuwait. Hussain Fadhel's eighth-minute header had briefly dampened spirits at a sold out Melbourne Rectangular Stadium only for Massimo Luongo to set up Tim Cahill on the 33rd minute to equalise with his 37th international goal. After Luongo headed home his first for Australia at the end of the first half, a penalty from captain Mile Jedinak on the 62nd minute and a late strike from James Troisi secured all three points for Australia.[13] In their second match, Australia played Oman in Sydney. Goals from Matt McKay, Robbie Kruse, Tomi Juric, and a penalty scored by Mark Milligan gave Australia a 0–4 win.[14] After failing to secure any points from their final group match against South Korea, Australia next faced Group B winners China PR in the quarter-finals in Brisbane Stadium. Cahill opened the scoring shortly after the half-time break before doubling the lead midway through the second-half, ensuring Australia reached the last four.[15] In the semi-finals, Australia faced United Arab Emirates in Newcastle Stadium. A 2–0 result with goals from Trent Sainsbury and Jason Davidson sent Australia into their second consecutive Asian Cup final.[16]

South Korea Round Australia
Opponent Result Group stage Opponent Result
  Oman 1–0 Match 1   Kuwait 4–1
  Kuwait 1–0 Match 2   Oman 4–0
  Australia 1–0 Match 3   South Korea 0–1
Group A winner
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
  South Korea 3 3 0 0 3 0 +3 9
  Australia 3 2 0 1 8 2 +6 6
  Oman 3 1 0 2 1 5 −4 3
  Kuwait 3 0 0 3 1 6 −5 0
Final standings Group A runner-up
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
  South Korea 3 3 0 0 3 0 +3 9
  Australia 3 2 0 1 8 2 +6 6
  Oman 3 1 0 2 1 5 −4 3
  Kuwait 3 0 0 3 1 6 −5 0
Opponent Result Knockout stage Opponent Result
  Uzbekistan 2–0 (a.e.t.) Quarter-finals   China PR 2–0
  Iraq 2–0 Semi-finals   United Arab Emirates 2–0


Havana Brown performed at the closing ceremony

Individual match tickets for the final were sold directly by the AFC via its website from 3 June 2014.[17] The final was also included the Sydney "Venue Pack", which gave access to every match of the tournament played in Sydney. 76,000 seats were made available for the final clash, with roughly 7,000 seats kept by the AFC to accommodate media and other parties.[18] Prices varied from $39 to $150.[19] 66,000 tickets had been sold for the final prior to Australia's semi-final match in 2.7 minutes, with more than 10,000 additional tickets sold within 1.4 minutes of the win for Australia.[18]

Iranian Alireza Faghani was named as the referee of the final, together with fellow countrymen Reza Sokhandan and Mohammad Reza Abolfazli as the assistant referees. The trio had officiated in four 2015 Asian Cup matches, including group matches between Saudi Arabia and China PR, Kuwait and South Korea and Iraq and Japan, and the quarter-final match between Japan and United Arab Emirates. Faghani had previously taken charge of a number of international matches, with the most notable being the 2009 AFC President's Cup Final, 2010 AFC Challenge Cup Final and the 2014 AFC Champions League Final first leg match.

The closing ceremony of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup took place at the Stadium Australia, before the final match of the tournament. As with the opening ceremony of the tournament, the closing ceremony featured a performance by Australian DJ, singer and dancer Havana Brown.[20]



Stielike made one change to the line-up that saw off Iraq in the semi-finals, calling up Jang Hyun-soo to partner Ki Sung-yueng in the middle to allow Park Joo-ho to sit in front of Kim Jin-su on the left, while Ivan Franjic was passed fit for an unchanged Australian side. The game opened at a frantic pace and, by the end of the half, Australia had taken the lead against the run of play after South Korea had spurned several opportunities to put themselves on the scoreboard. It was Son Heung-min who caused the greatest threat to the home side's goal, volleying just wide in the 37th minute after impressive work down the left from Park Joo-ho and Kim Jin-su while, less than a minute later, the South Korean was denied what looked a certain goal by Luongo's outstretched foot. Tim Cahill had earlier forced Kim Jin-hyeon into action in the South Korean goal, the keeper diving to his left to push the Australian's effort around the post after holding off the challenge of Kwak Tae-hwi, who had sent his own header just wide mere seconds later at the other end.[21]

But with barely a minute left in the half, Luongo struck to put Australia in front. Trent Sainsbury's ball into the feet of Luongo allowed him to turn and beat Ki Sung-yueng before hitting a low, unstoppable right-foot effort beyond Kim Jin-hyeon. The South Koreans were forced to push for the equaliser as the second half wore on, and a disciplined Australian defence kept them at bay until, a minute into stoppage time, Son Heung-min latched on to Ki Sung-yueng's pass to fire beyond Mat Ryan and send the game into extra-time. But Troisi put the Australians back in front in the 105th minute when he was first to react after Kim Jin-hyeon pushed Tomi Juric's centre towards James Troisi back into play, and the midfielder fired the ball high into the net to seal the win and see Australia crowned champions of Asia.[22]


South Korea  1–2 (a.e.t.)  Australia
Attendance: 76,385
South Korea
GK 23 Kim Jin-hyeon
RB 22 Cha Du-ri
CB 5 Kwak Tae-hwi
CB 19 Kim Young-gwon
LB 3 Kim Jin-su
CM 20 Jang Hyun-soo
CM 16 Ki Sung-yueng (c)
LW 6 Park Joo-ho   71'
AM 10 Nam Tae-hee   64'
RW 7 Son Heung-min
CF 18 Lee Jung-hyup   88'
GK 1 Jung Sung-ryong
GK 21 Kim Seung-gyu
DF 2 Kim Chang-soo
DF 4 Kim Ju-young   88'
MF 8 Kim Min-woo
MF 12 Han Kyo-won
MF 13 Koo Ja-cheol (injured)
MF 14 Han Kook-young   71'
MF 15 Lee Myung-joo
MF 17 Lee Chung-yong (injured)
FW 9 Cho Young-cheol
FW 11 Lee Keun-ho   64'
  Uli Stielike
GK 1 Mathew Ryan
RB 2 Ivan Franjic   6'   75'
CB 20 Trent Sainsbury
CB 6 Matthew Spiranovic    59'
LB 3 Jason Davidson   41'
CM 5 Mark Milligan
CM 15 Mile Jedinak (c)   66'
CM 21 Massimo Luongo
RW 10 Robbie Kruse   68'    71'
LW 7 Mathew Leckie
CF 4 Tim Cahill   64'
GK 12 Mitchell Langerak
GK 18 Eugene Galekovic
DF 8 Chris Herd (injured)
DF 13 Aziz Behich
DF 22 Alex Wilkinson
MF 11 Tommy Oar
MF 14 James Troisi   71'
MF 17 Matt McKay   75'
MF 19 Terry Antonis
MF 23 Mark Bresciano
FW 9 Tomi Juric   64'
FW 16 Nathan Burns
Ange Postecoglou

Man of the Match:
Trent Sainsbury (Australia)[23]

Assistant referees:
Reza Sokhandan (Iran)
Mohammad Reza Abolfazli (Iran)
Fourth official:
Fahad Al-Mirdasi (Saudi Arabia)
Fifth official:
Abdulla Al Shalwai (Saudi Arabia)

Match rules:[24]

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra time if necessary.
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level.
  • Twelve named substitutes.
  • Maximum of three substitutions.


Notable guests and television viewersEdit

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was invited to attend but did not due to vote counting for the 2015 Queensland state election taking place at the same time.[25] Abbott had already attended the opening match of the tournament between Australia and Kuwait in Melbourne.[26] Other invited guests present for the final include FIFA President Sepp Blatter, AFC President Salman Al-Khalifa and Chairman of Football Federation Australia Frank Lowy. Blatter and Al-Khalifa delivered the trophy to the champions in the awards ceremony, amidst boos from the crowd.[27]

The match was broadcast live in Australia by the ABC and Fox Sports. The ABC's coverage of the match averaged 1.8 million viewers nationally for the entire match, with a total reach of 5.3 million Australians overall. The ABC' peak audience was 3 million viewers watching at 22:27 AEDT, in the final minute of extra time. The game also averaged 416,000 for Fox Sports' coverage.[28]


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  16. ^ "Asian Cup: Australia beats UAE 2–0 to reach final as Trent Sainsbury and Jason Davidson goals set up South Korea re-match". abc.net.au. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Publicity blitz set to boost Asian Cup attendances". theworldgame.sbs.com.au. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Socceroos' Asian Cup final with South Korea heading for a sell-out". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Asian Cup ticket prices revealed". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  20. ^ "Sexy pop star Havana Brown has big plans to start 2015 with a huge bang". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  21. ^ "Asian Cup final: Australia 2-1 South Korea (aet) – as it happened". The Guardian. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  22. ^ "Australia beats South Korea in extra time to win its first Asian Cup". USA Today. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  23. ^ Larkin, Steve (31 January 2015). "Australia down South Korea, win Asian Cup". Yahoo! Australia. Australian Associated Press. Archived from the original on 1 February 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Wins, losses but no draws as Asian Cup hits record". FIFA.
  25. ^ "Tony Abbott says he will not resign in wake of LNP's Queensland rout; result described as 'catastrophic' by federal MPs". abc.net.au. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Live Asian Cup 2015: Australia v Kuwait". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  27. ^ "Australia rising in Asia, on and off the field". yahoo.com. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  28. ^ "Socceroos score for ABC and Foxtel". Retrieved 2 February 2015.

External linksEdit