Australia’s three largest cities — Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane — will host matches at Asian Cup matches, as well as the national capital of Canberra and the industrial city of Newcastle.
Here’s a look at the five venues for the Jan. 9-31 tournament (group in parentheses; groups listed at end):
Stadium Australia, capacity 83,500. Matches (7): Jan. 10 — Uzbekistan vs. North Korea (B); Jan. 13 — Oman vs. Australia (A); Jan. 15 — Qatar vs. Iran (C); Jan. 19 — Qatar vs. Bahrain (C); Jan. 23 — Quarterfinal, 1D vs. 2C; Jan. 26 — Semifinal, winner match 25 vs. winner match 27; Jan. 31 — Final, semifinal winners.
Sydney is Australia’s largest city and its Harbour Bridge and Opera House help make it the country’s biggest tourist attraction. The stadium in western Sydney, site of the 2000 Summer Olympic opening and closing ceremonies and athletic events, annually hosts the National Rugby League grand final and major rugby union tests.
Rectangular Stadium, capacity 30,000. Matches (7): Jan. 9 — Australia vs. Kuwait (A); Jan. 11 — Iran vs. Bahrain (C); Jan. 14 — North Korea vs. Saudi Arabia (B): Jan. 16 — Palestine vs. Jordan (D); Jan. 18 — Uzbekistan vs. Saudi Arabia (B); Jan. 20 — Japan vs. Jordan (D); Jan. 22 — Quarterfinal, 1A vs. 2B.
Melbourne, capital of Victoria state, is Australia’s second-largest city and its most sports-centric, with Australian Rules football matches attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators each season. The stadium is the newest venue in the tournament, opened in 2010, and is situated directly across from the Melbourne Park sports precinct and close to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Brisbane Stadium, capacity 52,500. Matches (7): Jan. 10 — Saudi Arabia vs. China (B); Jan. 12 — Jordan vs. Iraq (D); Jan. 14 — China vs. Uzbekistan (B); Jan. 16 — Iraq vs. Japan (D); Jan. 17 — Australia vs. South Korea (A); Jan. 19 — Iran vs. United Arab Emirates (C); Jan. 22 — Quarterfinal 1B vs. 2A.
Brisbane, capital of Queensland state, is the northernmost venue in the tournament, about an hour’s flying time from Sydney and two hours from Melbourne. The stadium is home to the popular Brisbane Broncos, six-time champions of the National Rugby League.
Canberra Stadium, capacity 25,000. Matches (7): Jan. 10 — South Korea vs. Oman (A); Jan. 11 — United Arab Emirates vs. Qatar (C); Jan. 13 — Kuwait vs. South Korea (A); Jan. 15 — Bahrain vs. United Arab Emirates (C); Jan. 18 — China vs. North Korea (B); Jan. 20 — Iraq vs. Palestine (D); Jan. 23 — Quarterfinal 1C vs. 2D.
Canberra is Australia’s “new” capital city, established in 1911 and designed by American architect Walter Burley Griffin. The lake which now bears his name is a focal point of the city’s Parliament and downtown area and is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the stadium.
Newcastle Stadium, capacity 33,000. Matches (4): Jan. 12 — Japan vs. Palestine (D); Jan. 17 — Oman vs. Kuwait (A); Jan. 27 — Semifinal, winner match 26 vs. winner match 28; Jan. 30 — 3rd Place, semifinal losers.
Newcastle is located about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Sydney and can be easily reached by train or car in about two hours. The city has a population of about 550,000 and has two professional teams — A-League football’s Jets and the National Rugby League’s Knights.
Group A — Australia, South Korea, Oman, Kuwait.
Group B — Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea.
Group C — Iran, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain.
Group D — Japan, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine.