SYDNEY (dpa) – Asian Cup historically struggles to attract fans to games when the host nation is not involved, but the 2015 competition in Australia has captured the imagination of the public.
Organisers were delighted Tuesday as they announced the match between Japan and Jordan, at the conclusion of the group stage, was the fourth sell-out of the tournament. It follows on from Australia’s games with Kuwait and South Korea, and China vs North Korea.
Australia’s match with Oman, played in the Stadium Australia in Sydney, also attracted a 50,000-plus crowd.
“The support that Australians and visitors from across Asia have given this tournament has been phenomenal,” local organising committee chief Michael Brown said.
“It is not only the numbers that they have turned out in, it is the colour, noise and passion they have bought to stadiums around Australia that has certainly been a highlight of this Asian Cup.”
Australia has large immigrant populations from several of the countries involved with the Iran supporters in particular being noted for the fanatical backing they offer their team.
The players have responded superbly, winning all three games so far, and praising their fans at every opportunity.
“I also want to pay a special tribute to all of the Iranian fans who have supported the Iranian national team here in Australia,” defender Khosro Heydari said. “When we play in Australia it feels like we’re playing at home.”