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Although the group stage has not yet ended, the tournament is expected to be difficult.

This is the story of the Korean national soccer team led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Japan’s shock loss against Iraq changed the landscape of winning the Asian Cup.

The Japanese national soccer team, led by coach Hajime Moriyasu, scored two goals with a header against opposing striker Hussein Aymen in the second match of Group D of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation

(AFC) Asian Cup group stage held at Al Rayyan Education City Stadium in Qatar on the 19th (Korean time). gave up and lost 1-2.

It was truly a shocking loss. One goal was scored in extra time in the second half, so it didn’t help much.

The frustration unique to Japanese soccer was clearly visible on the pitch for all 100 minutes, including extra time in the first and second halves. 지울프-토토

Iraq took full advantage of the air superiority and power of Hussein Aymen, a tall attacker with explosive lateral speed and good physique. Aymen scored a header from Ali Jassim’s cross in the 5th minute of the first half, creating an enthusiastic atmosphere in the stadium with over 30,000 Iraqi spectators.

Then, in the extra time of the first half, he caught a big catch by connecting a cross from Ahmed Yahya’s dribble from about 50 meters to the left side with a header in front of the goal.

Wataru Endo, captain of the Japanese national team who plays for Liverpool, followed up with a set-piece header, but since the goal was scored in extra time in the second half, it was only used to avoid defeat.

Japanese soccer, which boasted of being at the top of its game, was cruising along and then stumbled after being hit by a cannon.

Japan was completely defeated in first place in Group D. This is because Indonesia, led by coach Shin Tae-yong, won 1-0 in the Indonesia-Vietnam match held following the Japan-Iraq match.

While Iraq is leading with a total of 2 wins (6 points), Japan and Indonesia have 3 points, but are in 2nd and 3rd place respectively due to difference in goal difference. Vietnam is likely to be eliminated after losing all 2 games (0 points).

In the Asian Cup, if the points between two teams are equal, the winner-wins rule is applied first, so even if Japan beats Vietnam 10-0 on the 24th and Iraq loses 0-10 to Vietnam at the same time

Iraq will advance to the round of 16 as first place in Group D. . Iraq has already secured first place in Group D.

As a result, Korea also had to recalculate the tournament.

Klinsmann is about to face Jordan, the Middle East ambush, at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, at 8:30 p.m. on the 20th. Both teams won the first game

but Jordan, ahead in goal difference, is in first place in Group E, and Korea is in second place in Group E. However, since Korea is one step ahead in terms of objective power, foreign media and the soccer world still see a high possibility of Korea taking first place in Group E.

Initially, it was thought that if Korea took first place in Group E, the tournament bracket would not be bad. This is because it is believed that all teams that performed well in the 2022 Qatar World Cup, such as Japan, Australia, and Saudi Arabia, will not meet until the final.

However, as it becomes more likely that Japan will take second place in Group D, if Korea takes first place in Group E, it seems likely that they will meet Japan in the round of 16.

In addition, if they beat Japan and advance to the quarterfinals, they will likely compete for a spot in the semifinals with their archrival Iran at the Asian Cup.

Iran beat underdog Hong Kong 1-0 on the 20th, but defeated Palestine 4-1 on the 15th.

Even if they draw with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the 24th, they will be ranked first in Group C. 

There is a high possibility that the 1st place team in Group C will advance to the quarterfinals because it will meet one of the 3rd place teams from Groups A, B, and F, which are relatively more challenging, in the round of 16. 

Then, in the semifinals, there is a high probability that they will meet Qatar, which as the host country has already secured first place in Group A with two consecutive wins.

Qatar, the defending champion, proved to be a favorite for the championship with its well-organized offense and defense in this tournament. Although they were eliminated from the Qatar World Cup after losing all three matches,

they are determined to achieve their second consecutive victory with stable performance at the Asian Cup. 

If they reach the finals, there is a high possibility that they will face a worthy opponent, such as Australia or Saudi Arabia

rather than the round of 16 or semifinals.

In the end, due to Japan’s defeat in the Iraq game and Iran and Qatar’s better-than-expected performance, Korea was forced to play the tournament with one game every 3-4 days. 

The key was how to shake off the five warnings received in the first match against China in the group stage. This is because warnings continue to accumulate until the quarterfinals.

There is a greater possibility that the tournament will be rougher than expected, but the immediate task is to make Klinsmann’s power more solid. 

It appears that the team will need to reorganize the turbulent team atmosphere and poor side defense following the loss of starting goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu due to a hamstring injury.

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