Australia, Japan and South Korea have set an example for Asian teams at the FIFA World Cup 2022

Australia, Japan and South Korea have set an example for Asian teams at the FIFA World Cup 2022

2022 FIFA World Cup has been simply sensational as every match is offering something unexpected and unseen. Teams from Africa as well as Asia are doing extremely well at the grandest stage of football and the Round of 16 will bring in more and more unexpected twists and turns.

The focus meanwhile is on the 3 teams from (AFC) Asian Football Confederation who have surpassed all the challenges imposed by big European giants. Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iran, Australia, hosts Qatar and South Korea were the teams representing the continent of Asia and among these five only three teams have proceeded to the next round.

In this feature we will highlight the journey of these 3 Asian teams that have set an amazing example through their performances. So without further to do let’s dive in to their respective journeys so far.

1. Australia – The Socceroos were drawn into Group D alongside the reigning World champions France, Tunisia and Denmark. Before the World cup began, France and Denmark were the favorites to reach the last 16 and Australia were not given any chance whatsoever. The opening match of this group featured Australia and France. The defending champions were obviously the favorites but the Aussies were the first to open the scoring through winger Craig Goodwin in the 9th minute. However, France responded in the 27th minute through Adrien Rabiot. Within 5 minutes Olivier Giroud scored another and he went to score another in the 71st minute before Kylian Mbappe‘s 68th minute effort. Australia lost by 4-1. They faced Tunisia next and the Socceroos opened the scoring once again. This time Mitchell Duke was on target and he kept Australia’s hopes alive. Their final group stage fixture was a must win game against Denmark and they defeated their Danish opponents by a goal to nil. Victory in their last game meant that only for the second time in their history, Australia have gone past the Group stages since 2006. However, they will face WC probables Argentina in their round of 16 match.

2. Japan – One of the highlights of this edition’s World cup was they way Japan responded to the giants of Europe and former World champions. They were in Group E with teams like 1-time World cup winner Spain, 4-time world champions Germany and South America’s Costa Rica. Just like Australia, Japan were not given the chance to enter the round of 16 but what they did in their very first match was completely shocking. They met Germany in their opening group E game and the Blue Samurais came from a goal down to upset the 2014 winners. After Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty in the first-half, Japan responded with two goals in the second-half. Ritsu Doan came on as a substitute and found the back of the net in the 75th minute. Within 8 minutes, Takuma Asano scored the winning goal for Japan to make it 2-1 to pick a famous win. However, in their second game against Costa Rica, the Japanese side lost by 1-0. What happened in the third match was unbelievable. They faced Spain in a must win game to proceed in the Round of 16 and just like they did it against Germany, Japan changed the whole game within 10 minutes. Super sub Ritsu Doan came off the bench to score the equalizer as he fired a shot with his left foot and within 3 minutes Ao Tanaka scored the winning but perhaps the most controversial goal in the history of  FIFA World cup. Nonetheless, Japan did get their reward as they finished on top of Group E for the first time since 2002. Japan are all set to face Croatia in their upcoming match in the last 16.

3. South Korea – The last team from AFC to reach the round of 16 were South Korea. Their journey to the round of 16 featured only win in the final Group stage match day against one of the favorites Portugal. They remained winless in their first two matches with a draw against Uruguay followed by a tough loss against Ghana by 3-2. South Korea needed to win the final match against Portugal and also hope that Ghana doesn’t get a result in their favor. Uruguay did the job for Ghana as their fixture ended in 2-0 and at the Education City stadium, South Korea did the job for themselves. They were meeting only for the second time in FIFA world cup with Korea winning the fixture by 1-0. For the first time in Portugal’s WC history, they lost a match in which they scored the first goal. South Korea were trailing by the 5th minute of the game through Ricardo Horta. Portugal’s lead did not last longer as Kim Young-gwon scored the equalizer in the 27th minute. Wolves forward Hwang Hee chan came on as a substitute in 66th minute to score one of the most special and magical goals in South Korea’s footballing history. Spurs’ Heung-min Son started a counter attack during 90+ and ran almost 70 yards with the ball before cushioning the ball to Hee Chan. The Wolves forward did not make any mistake and scored an easy goal to repeat what they did in 2002 against the same opponents.

Also Read – Japan recorded ball possession of 17% and still won against Spain by 2-1