Sydney: After almost ruling himself out of the Asian Cup by hurting himself playing foot volleyball, Japan`s Shinji Kagawa has turned to tennis for inspiration. As holders Japan prepared to take on Jordan in Melbourne, the Dortmund midfielder said the Blue Samurai would drew power from tennis superstar Kei Nishikori, playing at the Australian Open venue literally just across the road. "To see him competing at the very highest level in the world gives us a lot of strength. Hopefully we will both come away victorious," Kagawa said.
Iranian fans take flight
Iran`s fanatical supporters have got one over tournament organisers by smuggling live birds into a stadium. Two doves painted in Iran`s colours -- green, white and red -- were released from the crowd before their game with Qatar in Sydney, bringing a huge cheer from the crowd as they flapped across the stadium. One mystery is how the fans got the doves past security, given that all bags are checked by security guards. Another is the fate of the birds, which have not been seen since.
Qatar made an early exit from the Asian Cup but at least the Gulf state can take pride in its performance at the Men`s World Handball Championships, currently ongoing in Doha. Hosts Qatar are already into the last 16, in large part due to Cuban import Rafael Capote`s 12 goals in the shock Group A win over Slovenia. The event is one of a number hosted by Qatar, culminating in the football World Cup in 2022. Qatar won the Gulf Cup in November but they endured a torrid time in Australia, losing all three games to finish bottom of Group C.