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 By Alan Mtashar

Many factors favour South Korea in Asian Cup semi but don't write off Iraq

South Korea make final preparations ahead of their Asian Cup semi-final against Iraq in Sydney.

The 2015 AFC Asian Cup has come to life after Iraq and the United Arab Emirates' shock wins against their much-fancied quarterfinal opponents, Iran and Japan. The question now is: can the West Asian giant-killers keep the fairytale going in Australia?

Iraq face South Korea in the first of the semifinals in Sydney on Monday night.

With both teams having played 120 minutes in their respective quarterfinals, the Koreans will look to make their extra day's rest count.

"We have to play the fast ball,...

 By John Duerden

Iraq hold nerve in sudden death to defeat Iran in epic Asian Cup QF

UAE head coach Mahdi Ali and Javier Aguirre, head coach of Japan, address the press after the UAE stunned Japan on penalties, and knocked the reigning champions out of the Asian Cup, in Sydney after a thrilling 1-1 draw.

Canberra is a quiet kind of place, especially in January when the politicians are on holiday. It's pleasant, green, spacious, with plenty to do, but it is not a city that buzzes. The stadium is still quite a distance from where the action usually is.

But not on this balmy Friday evening when West Asian giants Iran and Iraq came together in a clash that would be too easy to describe as explosive. Shuddering would perhaps be better.

Let's just keep it simple. It was an epic. An instant...

Defending Asian Cup champions Japan knocked out by UAE in shootout

Penalty heartbreak for Japan after the United Arab Emirates' Ismail Ahmed sealed one of the biggest shocks in the tournament's history.

Reigning champions Japan were knocked out of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup by United Arab Emirates after Europe-based stars Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa missed spot kicks in a penalty shootout in Sydney on Friday night.

The UAE won 5-4 on penalties after the scores were level 1-1 after regulation and extra time.

United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates
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Japan dominated possession and chances in extra time but couldn't find the opening against a stubborn UAE defence.

Substitute Ismail Ahmed took the decisive penalty for UAE after Honda blasted...