As an Australian, today is a tough day.
But full credit must go to Japan. They came into the tournament as clear favourites and, despite a slow start, they showed why they were deserving of that accolade.
Australia will be left to rue their numerous missed chances, none better than Harry Kewell’s one-on-one with Eiji Kawashima.
What this loss does for Australia, though, is elevate the AFC Asian Cup to a higher level amongst the general public.
For the most part, Asian Football is still neglected and disrespected in Australia. Our arrogance had us thinking we’d waltz into the 2007 AFC Asian Cup and walk away with the trophy without getting out of third gear.
We were quickly shown up by Oman, Iraq and Japan.
This time around Australia was more humble and respectful, and it showed on the pitch with results falling our way.
However we have yet again come up short.
All this does is show the general public that the AFC Asian Cup is no Mickey Mouse competition that is easy to win. This is a serious, continental competition that is very tough to win.
I have a feeling that respect for the tournament and Asian Football will grow, by how much still remains to be seen, but it will grow nonetheless.
And with Australia hosting the 2015 AFC Asian Cup that can only be a good thing.