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Asian Cup fever gets under way with fan launch in Canberra

The Socceroos may have dropped out of the world's top 100 for the first time, but it didn't stop Canberra fans getting immersed in Asian Cup fever at the opening of the Fan Park tour in Canberra on Friday. 

Deputy chief minister Andrew Barr was on hand to launch the event, which will run until Thursday, with former Socceroo John Kosmina to make an appearance next week. 

AFC Asian Cup mascot Nutmeg, Canberra United player Grace Gill, front from left, Trinity Christian School year 7 student ...
AFC Asian Cup mascot Nutmeg, Canberra United player Grace Gill, front from left, Trinity Christian School year 7 student Ben Carling, year 6 student Tim Noack and year 4 student Mali Vanderstoep at the Join the Team photo booth at the AFC Asian Cup Football Fan Park at Garema Place. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Fans can have their photos taken interactively with their favourite national team, have their faces digitally painted in their team's colours, score the winning goal in the virtual penalty shootout and produce their best goal celebrations in the Score and Roar studio.

Canberra Stadium will host seven games, beginning with the Korea Republic-Oman pool clash on January 10, and concluding with a quarter final on January 23. 

Trinity Christian School  year 5 student Chris Hess, year 6 student Sarah- Jane Douglas and year 4 student Phillipa ...
Trinity Christian School year 5 student Chris Hess, year 6 student Sarah- Jane Douglas and year 4 student Phillipa Lendrum celebrate a goal in the Score and Roar that superimposes video of a person into footage of an Australian goal celebrations at the AFC Asian Cup Football Fan Park at Garema Place. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The Socceroos will be under heavy pressure to perform after dropping to an all-time low of 102 in the latest FIBA rankings.

Australia, universally regarded as as Asian heavyweight beside defending champions Japan, are now the 10th-ranked team in Asia. 

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The fan park will be open from 12 to 3pm and 5 to 9pm daily from Friday until Thursday, before making its way to the other host cities of Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney. 

Meanwhile, nine open men's teams representing Asian countries will compete in a five-a-side soccer tournament at Hawker Football Centre on Saturday. 

Organised by Capital Football, the teams competing are China, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Palestine, South Korea, Qatar and United Arab Emirates with a mix of consular staff, local residents and students.

Each team will play three games, with the top two teams after the preliminary rounds progressing to the final.