Japan drawn with Jordan, Iraq for 2015 Asian Cup

Kyodo

Defending champions Japan will face Jordan, Iraq and a yet-to-be-confirmed opponent in the first round of the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia following the draw on Wednesday at Sydney Opera House.

In addition to 2007 champions Iraq and Jordan, Japan will also meet in Group D the winner of the AFC Challenge Cup 2014, to be played in the Maldives in May.

Japan needed a last-gasp equalizer from Maya Yoshida in their opening match of the 2011 tournament in a 1-1 draw against Jordan. But Alberto Zaccheroni’s men went on to lift the trophy for a record fourth time, Tadanari Lee’s dramatic extra-time volley securing a 1-0 win over Australia.

The top 15 teams in Asia were allocated their tournament assignments, with the final spot going to the AFC Challenge Cup winners.

Tournament host Australia will meet Kuwait, Oman, and South Korea in Group A. Group B brings together Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, China, and North Korea, while Group C features three-time champions Iran, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain.

The tournament will kick off on Jan. 9, with the final to be played at Stadium Australia on Jan. 31.