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Few criticisms after successful 2015 Asian Cup group stage in Australia

So far, so good for hosts Australia as the Asian Cup enters the knock-out stage having already produced big crowds, feel-good stories and some decent football

When covering a major tournament, it is sometimes hard to see the bigger picture and get a sense of how it is all going. The travel, the checking into hotels, the press conferences and waiting for players takes time and takes away perspective. Contact with the outside world is often limited to organisers telling you how great everything is, players and coaches insisting how well they are doing and the media talking up the mildly encouraging into the totally excellent.

Yet there is a genuine feeling that at the end of the group stage, the 2015 Asian Cup is looking good. The average Australian may not yet be on tenterhooks awaiting the outcome of the next game and neither is the continent in general but ‘twas ever thus in a competition still raising its profile. Three or so years ago, one official said that awareness of the Asian Cup was at about 5% among the general Australian public. On Sunday, a crowd roughly equal to the same percentage of Canberra’s 380,000 population filled the city’s stadium to watch China take on North Korea. This is impressive stuff.

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