Asian Cup football kicks off on July 17

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The Asian Cup football championship will begin in China on July 17.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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New Delhi:

With the memories of Euro Cup soccer in Portugal still very much alive in the hearts of the fans, the continent now prepares itself to witness the tussle between the regional superpowers for the Asian Cup football championship, which begins in China on July 17. Billed as Asia's biggest soccer event, the Asian Cup would be played at four different venues -- Jinan, Chengdu, Chongqing and Beijing -- with the Communist nation all geared up to register its maiden triumph in the championship. The Chinese have improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years under Dutch coach Arie Hann and even the Asian soccer officials believe that a good showing by the hosts would help in the development of the sport in the continent. "In my opinion China is capable to do well during the Asian Cup finals. A good performance from them will augur well for the future of Asian football. I hope they will do well and win the tournament," AFC secretary Dato Peter Velappan said in a release today. But the Chinese, hosting the tournament for the first time, would have to play out of their skins if they have to fulfill their dream of becoming continental champions as holders Japan, World Cup semifinalist South Korea and a few West Asian countries are all capable of lifting the Trophy. (PTI)

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