Three nations miss AFC's Asian Cup deadline

The head of the Asian Football Confederation has reportedly criticised North Korea (DPRK) after the country failed to register in time for the qualifying competition for the 2007 Asian Cup. "Either they want to take part in the Asian Cup or they don't," Mohamed Bin Hammam told Reuters. "It was a difficult decision (to expell North Korea) but Asian countries must place greater importance on the big tournaments."

Former Soviet republics Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan were also left out after applying late for the Asian Cup qualifiers, which begin in February. Among the teams taking part in the qualifiers are Asian newcomers Australia.

The 2007 Asian Cup is being jointly hosted by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The event was brought forward from 2008 to avoid time conflicts with Euro 2008 and the 2008 Olympic Games. The 2011 Asian Cup will be held in South Asia.