No one can feel safe anymore. The same applies to Korea, which boasts the strongest member ever.
Korea, led by coach Jürgen Klinsmann, will have its first Group E match against Bahrain at the 2023 Asian Cup Qatar at the Jasim bin Hamad Stadium in Alayan, Qatar at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday (Korea time). Korea is seeking its first Asian Cup championship in 64 years. To do that, Korea must make a good start.
Strong contenders for the upcoming championship are struggling from the very beginning. Australia, the third most promising contender, secured a 2-0 win over India, which is ranked 102nd in the FIFA rankings. The team struggled with India’s gritty play in the first half, but scored the first goal thanks to errors by the opponent team in the second half. Had it not scored the first goal, Australia could have been on the brink of collapse. “I respect India’s determination,” said Graham Arnold, Australia’s coach.
Japan, the “traditional rival” who is evaluated as the strongest player ever, was also uneasy about its first match. Japan, which belongs to Group D, won the first match against Vietnam 4-2. It sent out a large number of European players, including Takumi Minamino (AS Monaco) and Wataru Endo (Liverpool), to lead the team to 1-2 until the end of the first half. They scored two goals in the extra time of the first half, and Ayase Ueda (Feyenoord) scored a wedge goal in the 40th minute of the second half, adding three points after difficulties. 라바카지노주소
According to Japanese media DAZN, Japanese captain Endo said, “I was expecting it to be a difficult game,” and “It’s important to win in the end.”
Korea is also taking its first step forward at the Asian Cup. Its first opponent is Bahrain. Korea is leading the team in an objective capacity. In the FIFA rankings, Korea ranks 23rd and Bahrain ranks 86th, showing a wide gap. In past matches, Korea is leading by a large margin with 11 wins, four draws and one loss. Its only loss was to Bahrain at the Asian Cup finals in 2007. Korea has many European players, including Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), and Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), but Bahrain has only one striker, Abdullah Heral (FK Mladavoleslav).
However, if Korea watched the first Asian Cup match between Australia and Japan, it would not be completely assured. Korea’s winning rate in the first round match of the Asian Cup is not high either. It only amounted to 35.7 percent (5 wins, 7 draws, 2 losses from 14 matches). The last time Korea had a two-point gap or more was in the 1972 event, and it won in all the first round of the previous three tournaments, but had some difficulties in terms of contents of the tournament. In the 2011 event, Korea also had its first match against Bahrain, when it won 2-1. Korea won the first match against Oman, 1-0. In the 2019 event, when Son Heung-min, Kim Min-jae, and Hwang Hee-chan all took part in the event, they beat the Philippines, the underdog, 1-0 after a rough match. All of them were matches by a single point. From 1980 to 2007, Korea had no win in seven consecutive tournaments.
If the two teams fail to pass the group stage, it will deal a severe blow to Korea’s challenge to win the title. If Korea fails to pass as the group’s No. 1 ranking, it will be able to meet strong teams early on in the tournament. In the 1996 tournament, Korea tied the UAE in the first round of its group stage at 1-1. At the time, Korea advanced to the quarterfinals as the third-ranked team in the group with one win, one draw, and one loss, but suffered a humiliating 2-6 defeat against Iran. In the 2000 tournament, Korea tied the match against China in the first round. As a result, Korea advanced to the quarterfinals by ranking third in the group with one win, one draw, and one loss. In the match against Iran in the quarterfinals, Korea won the match 2-1, and successfully secured revenge. However, it lost the match against Saudi Arabia in the semifinal by 1-2. Meeting strong teams in succession was a problem.