The stand out performance of this Asian Confederation Cup is not by a player. It is by Iraq's coach Jorvan Vieira.
Australia need a coach who knows about Asia and its challenges. It needs a coach who knows the Socceroos weaknesses and how to select players who can meet the climatic conditions. Vieira has proved he has all of this.
This 54 year old Brazilian's CV includes playing in Brazil and Portugal, as well as coaching in Brazil, Portugal, Qatar, Oman, Morocco (on the coaching staff of Morocco's second round World Cup achievement the furthest an African side has got), Kuwait, Egypt, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and now Iraq. He coached leading teams and under 20 and full national squads.
Hired in April for the Iraq job, he inherited a group of players scattered across the Middle East. Worse, most have had close friends and, or family die recently. Two lost family to the Iraq conflict just before this cup.
Iraq's on field performance has been the best in the countries football history. While the team has used its anguish as a motivator, particularly in the almost unplayable hot and humid conditions, it is the cool headed Jorvan Vieira who has made the difference. Iraq have made the finals by doing enough - 1-1 (Thai), 3-1 (Aust), 0-0 (Oman), 2-0 (Viet), 0-0 (4-3 penalties Korea). They stole Australia's lunch box and set up an easy game against Vietnam and then broke the Koreans.
While they have had stand out players, it has been the tactics that have won the day. Iraq play a physical but fair game - very similar to Australia and Uzbekistan (who were robbed by poor officiating in their 1-2 loss to Saudi Arabia). Some ACC refs have made Iraq's job difficult - preferring soft and sneaky to tough and fair. Vieira has been able to both get the best out of his players and block other teams' stars. Unlike the more favoured Saudis - who have been strong in attack and very weak in defence, Iraq have been solid across the park.
Australia needs Jorvan Vieira more than it needs Graham Arnold or Dick Advocaat.
Let's show Asia respect and that we are a country that learns its lessons.