Asian Cup 2011:'s Top Ten Players To Watch At The Asian Cup

From Tim Cahill to Bader Al Mutwa, brings you the names that will light up Qatar 2011...
The Asian Cup is upon us and what better way to celebrate Asian football's showpiece event than by bringing you the big names that are set to entertain in Qatar in a couple of days time.

There's representation from across the continent, east and west, perhaps highlighting the diversity that makes Asian football so unique.

Of course, these aren't the only stars on show and quite a few big names - and lesser knowns - can feel aggrieved to have missed out. They'll simply have to prove us wrong by dominating headlines for all the right reasons during the tournament itself.

Without further ado - and in no particular order - here's's Ten Players to Watch...

Yasser Al Qahtani
Country: Saudi Arabia
Position: Striker

Lives up to his nickname “The Sniper” with a combination of intelligent movement and uncompromising finishing that has made him one of the continent’s most prolific marksmen. Al-Qahtani scores consistently for both club and country on the biggest stage; he led his country to the final of the Asian Cup in 2007, ending as the tournament’s top goal scorer.

Tim Cahill
Country: Australia
Position: Attacking Midfielder

A man who needs no introduction to regular watchers of the English Premier League, Tim Cahill is Australia’s attacking spearhead and the man to whom the Socceroos turn when goals are needed. Quite simply, he has provided their X-Factor ever since capturing hearts and minds with that famous double against Japan at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Server Djeparov
Country: Uzbekistan
Position: Attacking Midfielder

There’s something unorthodox, even awkward about Server Djeparov’s movement at times. The Uzbekistan talisman is one of those players who looks ungainly for the most part of a match, shuffling about the pitch without – and with – the ball, giving the impression that he’s a little out of place on a football pitch. But don’t let that or his out-of-date mullet fool you.
Keisuke Honda
Country: Japan
Position: Attacking Midfielder

The absence of Shinji Kagawa from this list will no doubt be a point of contention for all readers out there but Keisuke Honda gets the nod as the Japanese representative by virtue of the fact that he is a proven performer for the Samurai Blue. While Kagawa is a bright, bright prospect, the slightly more mature Honda has already led Japan at a major international tournament.
Park Ji-Sung
Country: South Korea
Position: Attacking Midfielder, Winger

The man who rose to prominence under miracle worker Guus Hiddink at the 2002 World Cup, since then Park Ji Sung has developed into one of world football’s most recognisable faces and undoubtedly his continent’s highest profile footballer. His career domestically has seen him to collect English Premier League and UEFA Champions League winners medals.
Younis Mahmoud
Country: Iraq
Position: Striker

The man who famously inspired a war torn country to a historic victory three years ago, Younis Mahmoud has already conquered Asia at 27 years of age and will lead Iraq in the defence of their Asian Cup crown in January. Prolific at club level, the combined sum of his goals for Al Gharafa, Al Khor and Al Wahda pales in comparison to the importance of that famous header against Saudi Arabia on July 29, 2007.
Javad Nekounam
Country: Iran
Position: Defensive Midfielder

Javad Nekounam is a rare breed of the modern Iranian footballer, plying his trade in one of the world’s best leagues at a time where European stars are a commodity for Team Meli. In fact, he’s one of only two such players in his country’s Asian Cup squad, the only other his Osasuna teammate Masoud Shojaei. Has forged a successful career for himself in Spain.
Bader Al Mutwa
Country: Kuwait
Position: Support Striker

Once a prodigy of Gulf football, Bader Al Mutwa hasn’t quite lived up to the hype that surrounded him during his teenage years, after making his international debut at the tender age of 18. Having failed to complete a move to Europe he has continued on with club side Al-Qadisiya, for whom he has been prolific, helping them to a league title in 2009 and into the AFC Cup final this season.
Sebastian Soria
Country: Qatar
Position: Striker

Uruguay born Soria attracts attention due to his nationalization, perhaps detracting from the fact that he's one of Asia's most dangerous strikers on his day. He'll need to do two things during the tournament in his adopted home: prove the doubters wrong after a slump in form for the national team and reproduce the form that saw him net three times at the last Asian Cup.
Jong Tae-Se
Country: North Korea
Position: Striker

Famously broke down into tears during the playing of his country's national anthem at the 2010 World Cup. Tae-Se is a talented striker who established himself as a J-League star before securing a move to Germany, where he has started his European career brightly. Thankfully for North Korea, was given clearance by his club to spearhead their attack in Qatar.

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