Palestine have made history by securing their first ever spot at the AFC Asian Cup after defeating the Philippines 1-0 in the final of the AFC Challenge Cup.
The Palestinians secured the 16th and final berth at Asia’s biggest football tournament through a second half free-kick from the tournament’s leading scorer, Ashraf Al Fawaghra, to slot into Group D of the 2015 competition to be held in Australia.
They will take on reigning champions Japan, along with 2007 winners Iraq and Jordan, when they head Down Under in January 2015.
Palestine completed an unbeaten Challenge Cup campaign in the Maldives without conceding a goal.
The AFC Asian Cup is Asia’s biggest football competition and was established in 1956.
The 16 nations to qualify for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 are Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Palestine.
The 16 finalists will take part in a 23-day festival of football in five cities which the Socceroos will kick off on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia onJanuary 31, 2015.
The tournament is being financially supported by the Australian Government and the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and ACT Governments.
Fox Sports will broadcast the AFC Asian Cup throughout Australia.
Individual tickets for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 go on sale to the general public on Monday.
For more information on AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 visit www.afcasiancup.com