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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Asian Cup Team of the Tournament

Ahead of Saturday's decider between host nation Australia and the undefeated South Koreans, ESPN FC asked all of its writers covering the tournament to select their best XI of 2015 Asian Cup stars.

Goalkeeper: Kim Jin-hyeon (South Korea)
The 27-year-old shot-stopper, who plays his club football in Japan with Cerezo Osaka, has been in fantastic form since replacing Kim Seung-gyu after the opening match against Oman, which Korea Republic won 1-0. Kim Jin-hyeon has amassed an impressive four consecutive clean sheets and is yet to concede a goal in the tournament, earning the praise of national team boss Uli Stielike: "He is one of the main reasons behind our success, which is founded on a solid defensive base." -- Alan Mtashar

Left-back: Dhurgham Ismael Dawood (Iraq)
The 20-year-old left-back has contributed as much in attack as he has in defence, helping push Iraq into the semifinals. In perpetual motion down the sideline, Ismail's work ethic and combination with fellow starlet Ali Adnan has put him on the radar of scouts right across Asia. The Al-Shorta man also provided one of the highlights of the tournament, as he showed mettle beyond his years to step up and convert a penalty in the 116th minute against rivals Iran in a quarterfinal for the ages. -- Rob Brooks

Centre-back: Mohanad Al Enezi Salem (United Arab Emirates)
Composed and confident throughout the group stages, Mohanad Al Enezi picked up man of the match for his heroic performance against Japan. Alongside Al-Ain teammate Mohamed Ahmed, Al Enezi marshalled a defence that withstood 35 shots, 55 crosses and 19 corners, only breached by Gaku Shibasaki's excellent equaliser. Salem also kept Australia's Tim Cahill quiet in the semifinal -- with this level of performance it's remarkable the 29-year-old's international career hadn't blossomed sooner. -- Richard Parkin

Centre-back: Trent Sainsbury (Australia)
The former Central Coast Mariner centre-half was earmarked by Socceroos' manager Ange Postecoglou as the man to build his defence around from the first day he took the job. A strong, smart, ball-playing defender, Sainsbury is also a threat at set pieces -- as he showed in the semifinal. As the stakes have gotten higher in the tournament, the 23-year-old has gotten better. -- Francis Leach

Right-back: Cha Du-ri (South Korea)
The German-born defender turns 35 later this year, but ran down the right flank as if he were 25. Was first noticed by Guus Hiddink almost a decade and a half ago, he provided an important attacking outlet for the disciplined Korean side. Has an enviable work rate and can provide quality crossing to go with his energy out wide. -- Jason Dasey

Son Heung-min has set the Asian Cup alight with some impressive performances.

Midfield: Son Heung-min (South Korea)
With Park Ji-sung now retired, the mantle of Asia's biggest star is up for grabs. Son Heung-min's excellent performances for Bayer Leverkusen, for a struggling Korean side at the 2014 World Cup and now Down Under have moved the 22-year-old to front of the queue as heir apparent. A flu bug may have curtailed his play at the start of the tournament, but since the group stage he has been irrepressible. Marvellous on the counter and with a deadly finish to boot, Saturday's final looms as a chance for Son to grab the limelight on the world stage. -- Mike Wise

Midfield: Massimo Luongo (Australia)
Ange Postecoglou has rotated his squad on a regular basis during the Asian Cup, but one mainstay has been Massimo Luongo. The English-based midfielder has enjoyed a breakout tournament, justifying the confidence placed in him by his manager. The 22-year-old has played a part in five out of the 12 goals scored by Australia -- the leading goal scorers in the tournament. The vision, passing and ability to create goals that Australia's new poster boy have demonstrated during the competition means that Swindon Town may struggle to retain his services past next summer. -- Alan Mtashar

Midfield: Ki Sung-yueng (South Korea)
The greatest feature of South Korea's run to the Asian Cup final has, of course, been their defence. Whilst credit is due to the back four for this, the Swansea midfielder has worked ever so hard to screen his back line throughout the tournament. More than mere graft, though, Ki has dictated the tempo and direction of South Korea's attack from the middle of the park. With a pass completion rate of over 65 percent, he has become the heartbeat of the Taeguk Warriors, controlling the rhythm and movement of all those around him. -- Rob Brooks

Attacking midfield: Omar Abdulrahman (United Arab Emirates)
Clearly the most gifted player in the tournament, Omar is surely West Asia's answer to Ronaldinho with all his style and tricks. Was a delight to watch in every match and even produced one of his best displays of the tournament as the United Arab Emirates were beaten by Australia in the semifinal. His understanding with UAE front men Ali Mabkhout and Ahmed Khalil was uncanny. -- Jason Dasey

Tim Cahill and Omar Abdulrahman have both shone for their respective nations at the 2015 Asian Cup.

Forward: Tim Cahill (Australia)
Is there any more to say about the talismanic Australian veteran? A rare talent that changes the course of games by sheer will and outstanding skills. Has been doing it for a decade and continued to do it at the Asian Cup. -- Francis Leach

Forward: Ali Mabkhout (United Arab Emirates)
Started the tournament with two goals against Qatar and was a threat in every match he played. Also scored in the first minute against Bahrain and, crucially, in the winning quarterfinal against Japan when he caught the Samurai Blue defence napping. Powerful, direct and skillful, he is everything a striker needs to be at international level. -- Jason Dasey

Manager: Mahdi Ali (United Arab Emirates)
Pre-tournament, many had Iran and Qatar pencilled in to get through a highly competitive Group C, but a group stage 4-1 demolition of Qatar put Mahdi Ali's UAE right in the box seat. UAE cleverly exploited space behind Qatar's fullbacks, and Ali's attacking philosophy very nearly drew dividends as well against Iran, where the freedom afforded Omar Abdulrahman saw the UAE No. 10 produce one of the performances of the tournament.

The best was yet to come. In the quarterfinal, Mahdi completely overhauled his tactics and a much more defensive UAE prevented Japan from dominating the centre of the park, forcing them to instead to cross from wider, less dangerous areas. While the UAE couldn't match the feat against Australia, but the shock win over the defending champions was certainly the upset of the tournament. -- Richard Parkin

Substitutes: Ignatiy Nesterov (UZB), Kim Young-gwon (KOR), Kim Jin-su (KOR), Keisuke Honda (JPN), Wu Lei (CHN), Sardar Azmoun (IRN), Robbie Kruse (AUS)


John Duerden -- @JohnnyDuerden
GK: Maty Ryan
DF: Cha Du-ri, Matthew Spiranovic, Anzur Ismailov, Dhurgham Ismael Dawood
MF: Omar Abdulrahman, Ki Sung-yueng, Son Heung-min
FW: Robbie Kruse, Sardar Azmoun, Ali Mabkhout
Manager: Uli Stielike

Francis Leach -- @SaintFrankly
GK: Kim Jin-hyeon
DF: Ivan Franjic, Trent Sainsbury, Kim Young-gwon, Dhurgham Ismael Dawood
MF: Robbie Kruse, Ki Sung-yueng, Omar Abdulrahman
FW: Tim Cahill, Ali Mabkhout, Lee Jeong-hyeop

Jason Dasey -- @JasonDasey
GK: Wang Dalei
DF: Yuto Nagatomo, Trent Sainsbury, Kim Young-gwon, Cha Du-ri
MF: Ki Sung-yueng, Andranik Teymourian, Omar Abdulrahman
FW: Sardar Azmoun, Tim Cahill, Ali Mabkhout
Manager: Ange Postecoglou

Mike Wise -- @wisey_9
GK: Kim Jin Hyeon
DF: Kim Jin-su, Dhurgham Ismael, Mohanad Al Enezi Salem
MF: Ki Sung-yueng, Omar Abdulrahman, Massimo Luongo, Wu Lei
FW: Tim Cahill, Ahmed Khalil, Son Heung Min
Manager: Mahdi Ali

Alan Mtashar -- @AlanMtashar
GK: Kim Jin Hyeon
DF: Dhurgham Ismael, Kwak Tae-hwi, Morteza Pouraliganji, Cha Du-ri
MF: Keisuke Honda, Omar Abdulrahman, Massimo Luongo, Yaser Kasim
FW: Tim Cahill, Ali Mabkhout
Manager: Ange Postecoglou

Rob Brooks -- @RobNJBrooks
GK: Ignatiy Nesterov
DF: Dhurgham Ismael, Trent Sainsbury, Mohanad Al Enezi Salem, Cha Du-ri
MF: Makoto Hasebe, Ki Sung-yueng, Omar Abdulrahman
FW: Son Hueng-min, Tim Cahill, Ali Mabkhout
Manager: Ange Postecoglou

Richard Parkin -- @rrjparkin
GK: Maty Ryan
DF: Kim Jin-su, Mohanad Al Enezi Salem, Trent Sainsbury, Gotoku Sakai
MF: Andranik Teymourian, Omar Abdulrahman, Massimo Luongo
FW: Son Hueng-min, Sardar Azmoun, Ahmed Khalil
Manager: Mahdi Ali

James Dampney -- @jamesdampney23
GK: Eiji Kawashima
DF: Dhurgham Ismael, Kim Young-gwon, Maya Yoshida
MF: Omar Abdulrahman, Massimo Luongo, Wu Lei, Son Hueng-min
FW: Tim Cahill, Younus Mahmood, Ali Mabkhout
Manager: Uli Stielike

Valerio Veo -- @ValerioVeo
GK: Ignatiy Nesterov
DF: Dhurgham Ismael, Kim Jin-su, Trent Sainsbury, Vitaliy Denisov
MF: Keisuke Honda, Ki Sung-yueng, Sardor Rashidov
FW: Robbie Kruse, Tim Cahill, Hamza Al-Dardour
Manager: Mahdi Ali

Kelvin Leong -- @Kelvinleong29
GK: Wang Dalei
DF: Cha Du-ri, Trent Sainsbury, Yuto Nagatomo, Mohanad Al Enezi Salem
MF: Keisuke HondaOmar Abdulrahman, Ashkan Dejagah
FW: Tim Cahill, Sun Ke, Sardor Rashidov
Manager: Mahdi Ali


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