A week before hosting the opening ceremony and first game of the Asian Cup 2015 on 9 January, Melbourne has had two days of 39° and 38°C(102° and 101°F) temperatures with an overnight minimum of 27°C. Adelaide, to the west of Melbourne, experienced 44° and 37°C (111° and 99°F). These temperatures are similar to the highly controversial averages expected for 2022 World Cup host Qatar. However, given the variability on the southeastern seaboard, individual games could be much cooler. A pleasant 22°C (72°F) is forecast for kick-off day.
The soaring temperatures brought severe bushfires to the states of Victoria and South Australia.
The Asian Football Confederation has 47 members. There are 16 teams remaining in the Cup: Australia, Bahrain, China PR, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Korea R, Korea DPR, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Uzbekistan.
Hong Kong, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen were eliminated in the last round of qualifiers.
Australia has dual entry — as host country and as the runner-up from 2011.
— AFC Asian Cup (@afcasiancup) January 2, 2015
Hot weather should suit the ten Middle Eastern teams although they have come from winter conditions, as have many of the Socceroos team who play in Europe.
If you don’t know who the Socceroos or the Red Warriors are, there is plenty of time to learn all the nicknames of the teams.
You can follow the official Twitter hashtag at #AC2015 and the AFC’s Instagram account. Most of the teams have their own Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. So does the mascot, wombat Nutmeg @nutmeg, seen here with a well-known sports fan:
— Nutmeg (@nutmeg_2015) December 13, 2014
Inevitably, politics has already joined the fray after Australia voted against Palestine at the United Nations security council:
Utterly embarrassing. On the eve of Australia hosting Palestine in 2015 Asian Cup, Australia voted against Palestinian statehood in the .
— Athas Zafiris (@ArtSapphire) December 31, 2014
Given the state of international relations in Asia at present, we can expect more off-field tussles in the month to come.