Football: 2015 Asian Cup final to be played in Sydney

SYDNEY (AFP) - Sydney's Olympic stadium will host the final of the 2015 Asian Cup, officials announced on Wednesday, with Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle the other cities hosting matches.

The region's premier football tournament will take place from Jan 9 to 31, and will feature 32 games with Japan defending the title they won in Qatar in 2011.

"We are pleased to have now locked in five top-class venues for the competition and finalised the match schedule," Australian organising committee chief executive Michael Brown said. "This will allow the detailed planning for the event to progress on schedule to ensure Asian Cup Australia 2015 is a world-class event."

While Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra will each host six group games and a quarter-final, Newcastle nabbed one of the two semi-finals alongside Sydney.

Newcastle's Hunter Stadium, a two-hour drive north of Sydney which has a capacity of 33,000, will also be home to the third-place play-off as well as four group matches.

The tournament will open at Melbourne's Rectangular Stadium, home to the city's two A-League clubs which holds 30,000 people, and will conclude at the 84,000-capacity Stadium Australia, the main venue for the 2000 Olympics.

Defending champions Japan, 2011 runners-up Australia and third-placed South Korea all qualify automatically, along with AFC Challenge Cup champions North Korea.

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