“South Korea leads in objective power. But the Korea-Japan game is a toss-up.”
The South Korean U-24 Asian Games football team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, will take on Japan in the highly anticipated final of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at 9 p.m. KST on Sunday.
Earlier, South Korea defeated ‘nemesis’ 온라인카지노 Uzbekistan 2-1 in the semifinals, while Japan defeated relatively easy opponents Hong Kong 4-0 to reach the final.
Hwang Sun-hong is just one win away from making history. South Korea will be looking to build on their back-to-back gold medals at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games.
No team has ever won three consecutive Asian Games titles.
Previously, Taiwan (1954-1958), Myanmar (1966-1970), and Iran (1998-2002) won back-to-back Asian Games soccer titles, but failed to win three in a row.
The ‘Korea-Japan’ game is highly motivating for both teams. It’s considered to be the one game that neither team can afford to lose. For South Korean players, there are even “special military service benefits” at stake, so the desire to win the final is stronger than ever.
The U23s have a narrow lead in the all-time series against Korea, with seven wins, four draws and six losses in 17 matches. However, their most recent encounter was a crushing defeat. In the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup last June, Hwang Sun-Hong lost 0-3 to Japan. However, he wasn’t playing with his full squad at the time.
Japanese media outlet Soccer Digest reported on Friday that “South Korea leads the head-to-head record against the A team with 42 wins, 23 draws and 16 losses. There is still a big gap (in the record). However, this does not mean that the current Japanese national team players have a poor understanding of Korean soccer.”
“Starting with the A team’s match against Korea in Yokohama in March 2021, Japan has won five consecutive matches against Korea at various age groups. All of them were 3-0 victories.”
“If you look at the objective strength of the teams this time around, South Korea and Japan have the edge. However, in the final of the Jakarta-Palembang 2018 tournament five years ago, Japan, a team comprised largely of college-aged players, took Korea to extra time (Korea won 2-1), with Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), and Hwang Eui-jo (Norwich City) among the stars. “The Korea-Japan match is a case of taking the lid off,” he added.
In the tournament five years ago, Korea and Japan went into overtime after a 0-0 first half. Lee Seung-woo (Suwon FC) scored the first goal in the third minute of overtime and Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton) added a goal in the 11th minute of overtime to give South Korea the gold medal over Japan, who rallied from a goal down in the last 10 minutes of extra time. South Korea had previously beaten Japan 1-0 in the quarterfinals in Incheon in 2014.
In the previous two tournaments, South Korea’s results against Japan were “wins”. While Japan acknowledges that they are objectively weaker, they are praying for a different outcome this time around.