Asian Cup crowds a disappointment for Degenek

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From 40,000 to 4,000...

After being stuck on the bench at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Milos Degenek is savouring the chance to get on the pitch at the Asian Cup.

Held in the United Arab Emirates, the weather is warmer and the crowds far smaller than what the Socceroos defender witnessed six months ago.

Each of Australia's World cup group games boasted crowds in excess of 40,000 but began their Asian Cup defence in front of just 4,935 at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain against Jordan.

While the tournament started with 33,878 watching on as UAE and Bahrain drew 1-1, no other game is yet to attract more than 10,000 fans with China's clash against Kyrgyzstan drawing in the lowest figure so far at 1,839.

For Degenek, who's played Champions League football against Liverpool and PSG this season for Red Star Belgrade, the small turnouts to date in the UAE have been somewhat disappointing.  

"So far it's been nice, the only thing that could obviously be a little bit better is the crowd, is the support," Degenek said.

"But I believe most games here and around Dubai have been getting a good attendance so that's interesting.

"I think the tournament is organised quite well and so far all the pitches, training pitches and hotel have been really good so where just looking forward to playing as much games as we can here."

Degenek started at centre-back against Jordan and though falling to a 1-0 defeat, the defender is savouring the experience and remains confident the Socceroos can reclaim their silverware. 

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"It's massive for me, I was at the World Cup with boys, didn't get to play, but I was there and part of the family," he said

"And to now obviously be at the Asian Cup and to get game time is something you can only dream of. 

"Looking forward to lifting the trophy in the end which would be the most amazing thing that could happen."

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