Sport

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. 

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. 

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.

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