So close, but yet so far…
Heartbreak for fans of Korea and Japan… but hope shines bright for the future of Asia football. Although both sides fell to their South American counterparts, their performance in this world cup proved to the world the quality of football coming through the Far East. No need to recap the games, you can find the match reports here… Japan / Korea
With Park Ji Sung and Keisuke Honda leading the way for their respective sides, the sky is the limit for what these sides can and will accomplish in future competitions.
With the quarterfinal matches of the World Cup set, the fans of the beautiful game are set for a blistering set of matches featuring the best footballing sides in the world. Lets checkout the match-ups
Brazil – Netherlands:
Today’s samba boys matched up against the inventors of Total Football… By definition, these two sides represents stylish football at their best. However, both Brazil and Holland have played somewhat conservatively in this world cup, and neither side has really “turned on the style” or so to speak. Either way, this has the looking to be an instant classic.
Prediction… 3-1 Samba boys
Argentina – Germany:
In any other year, this would make a great World Cup final. Luckily, we get to watch these two powerhouse sides slug it out in the quarterfinals. Team Messi is lead by the mercurial Maradona and feature some of the strongest offensive talents in the world, while the usually stoic Deutschland attack is spearheaded by a stylish youth revolution. Messi, Tevez, Higuain… Podolski, Mueller, Ozil… we should expect goals galore in this epic match-up for the ages.
Prediction: 4-2 Argentina
Uruguay – Ghana:
With all other African sides eliminated from the competition, Ghana represents the last great hope for the African continent in their inaugural world cup. Featuring a strong attack in Forlan and Suarez, Uruguay will be a tough opponent for the Ghana Black Stars, but in the end, it is hard to root against the home side.
Prediction: 2-1 Ghana (going with my heart on this)
Spain – Paraguay
Anointed as the favorites coming into the Cup, Spain has generally underwhelmed in this competition. Regardless, the Reds clawed their way to the quarterfinals, and now face a Paraguay side that performed unconvincingly in their penalty victory over Japan. Even with an unfit Fernando Torres, the Spanish side has way too much firepower for the South American qualifiers.
Perdiction: 3-0 Spain
That’s all folks. Joga Bonito!!
Party like its 2006!
South Korea and Japan both qualified for the knockout stages of the 2010 FIFA World Cup!! Although this represents the first time that these two Asian powers have qualified for the knockout stages of a world cup on foreign soil, it is certain that both teams will be pushing for further glory in the cup competition. Lets review the match-ups!
South Korea – Stylish & Incisive
Uruguay – Lead by the lethal strike force of Deigo Forlan (Athletico Madrid) and Luis Suarez (Ajax), the blues will not be an easy opponent for the Koreans. However, Park Ji Sung & crew should be happy that their opponents have not advanced outside of the round of 16 since 1970, so if anything, experience is definitely on the Korean half of the pitch. A win for the Koreans will set up a delicious (and very winnable) quarterfinal match against the winner of the USA – Ghana, which means that a repeat semi-final berth is not out of reach for the Red Devils. Given that the Koreans had to defeat traditional football super powers Spain & Italy in their magical run to the 2002 WC semifinals… the Red Devils are definitely a team to watch out for.
Predicted Path to the Cup:
Uruguay (Round of 16)
Japan – Consistent & Explosive
Paraguay – Although not a traditional football powerhouse, Paraguay is an experienced side to be reckoned with. Having actually qualified for the World Cup ahead of traditional South American powers Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, Paraguay won their World Cup group and earned qualification to the knockout stages for the 3rd time in the last 4 Cup competitions. Although the fearless Blue Samurai can count themselves as lucky not to have drawn a tougher opponent, progression to the quarterfinals will not be easy.
Predicted Path to the Cup:
Paraguay (Round of 16)
Signing off for another week – I’ll leave you with a classic Korean football advert… starring none other than the one and only, Ji Sung Park
And of course, the making of the Legend
With the World Cup group stages well underway, lets take some time to review the good, the bad, and the ugly of the first week of competition.
South Korea – Classy, Ambitious, and On the Rise
Park Ji-Sung’s 1st half strike seals the win for the South Koreans
Match Report (South Korea 2 – Greece 0)
Too quick and too strong for the 2004 European champions, South Korea comfortably booked their first win of the competition last Saturday in Port Elizabeth. Veteran centerback Lee Jung Soo opened the scoring seven minutes after kickoff, while captain Park Ji-Sung iced off the game 20 minutes later with a magnificent run through the Greek back four. Check out the full report here
With no disrespect to Lionel Messi and group favorite Argentina, South Korea looks by far the class of Group B after their complete domination of a solid Greece side. Team talisman Park Ji-Sung looks to be peaking at the right time, and the first 11 played with energy and industry not usually seen in the first round of competition.
The Red Devils need to maintain better possession (48% vs. 52% in favor of the Greeks) of the ball and the defense needs to concede less corners (the 11 corners taken by Greece are the most ever in a World Cup competition). Give that many opportunities to a vicious Argentine team and its…. well, game over for the Red Devils.
Taking 3 points away from Greece is a move in the positive direction, but Korea’s biggest challenges are still ahead. Despite their poor performance against Nigeria, Argentina is still the most talented side in the group, and victory against Lionel Messi & crew will not be an easy task. Nigeria will also be a very difficult match, with the Super Eagles rounding into form and holding the home field edge. In short, the South Koreans still need a result against one of their next two opponents to guarantee qualification into the knock out rounds.
Argentina vs. South Korea: Not a must win match, but South Korea’s road to the next round would be virtually guaranteed with a result against the group favorites.
Japan – The Blue Samurai Shocks the World
Keisuke Honda’s 39 min goal was the difference in Japan’s victory over Cameroon
Match Report (Japan 1 – Cameroon 0)
The Blue Samurai secured an important, although unconvincing, 3 points in their group E opener against African powerhouse Cameroon. Long considered to be one of Africa’s dominant sides and led by Champion League hero Samuel Eto’o, Cameroon was the odds on favorite of match. A moment of magic changed all of that, as CSKA Moscow superstar Keisuke Honda brilliant first touch and controlled finish earned Japan its first World Cup win away from home soil. Check out the full report here
A win is a win. With games against the stylish Dutch side and the underrated Dane squad coming up, every point will count in what will undoubtedly become a race to the wire. The brilliant form of Keisuke Honda is also a bright spot for a Japanese squad lacking its usual star power. With Nidetoshi Nakata retired and Shunsuke Nakamura struggling to find his form, it will be up to Honda this time around to inspire his country to victory.
Time of Possession (42% – 57% in favor of Cameroon) / Shots (3 – 9 in favor of Cameroon) / Corners (0 -3 in favor of Cameroon)…. Although Japan got all three points against its encounter with the Indomitable lions, the Blue Samurai will have to pick up their game if they want to continue further in the tournament.
Whats up with Honda’s blond hair? Not digging that style at all.
Netherlands vs. Japan: Similar to their South Korean neighbors, Japan is not expected nor do they need to take points away from the Group favorites. Regardless of the result, Japan’s contest against the free flowing Dutch should be a treat for all fans Orange or Blue.
North Korea – Honor in Defeat
North Korean fans have every right to celebrate after their exceptional performance against tournament favorites Brazil
Match Report (Brazil 2 – North Korea 1)
The world didn’t expect anything from the North Koreans… and this was before they were placed in the group of death against Brazil, Portugal, and Ivory Coast. Well, if game 1 against Brazil was any indication of North Korea’s intent, the world was wrong. Although 2nd half goals by Macion and Elano eventually sneaked through North Korea’s solid defense, a late consolation goal by midfielder Ji Yun-Nam proved North Korea’s worth in this tournament, and in the process, turned the Winged Horses from Group G whipping boys to resilient, if not feared, opponents. Check out the full report here
The North Koreans played the game of their life against Brazil and we have to give credit to where credit is due. Good game to the North Koreans.
The Brazilians controlled possession (75% to 25%) and out shot the North Koreans 2 to 1. Imagine if the Selecao were more clinical in their finishing…. the game could have easily been 4-1 / 5-1. There is always room for improvement, and North Korea must not be lazy in their next two games against Portugal and Ivory Coast.
Nothing is ugly with the North Korean football team… that tense border situation on the other hand…. yea
Portugal vs. North Korea: No expectations… If the North Koreans come out and defend with the same energy and vigor as they did against Brazil, then anything is possible. If that level of defensive tenacity isn’t there, then we can expect an easy rout by Ronaldo and Co.
Check out this interview we did at ChannelAPA with Shing02, Japanese rapper, producer, and MC. As one of the few truly multilingual rappers on the international stage, Shing02 is best known for his unique musical style, blending traditional Japanese tunes with new age hip hop rhymes. We chat with him on how he first got into the industry, the major influences to his music, and the contrasting styles of hip hop between Japan and the US. Learn more about the voice behind Battlecry, the theme song of internationally acclaimed anime Samurai Champloo.
His friend Nujabes past away a few month back, but look for a potential posthumous collaboration in memory his friend .
Shing02 interview with ChannelAPA.com
The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off today in stunning fashion with Mexico taking on hosts South Africa at Soccer City, Johannesburg. As the top football teams from around the world descend on South Africa, anticipation is high for the first ever World Cup on African soil. The Far East is well represented in the competition, with South Korea, Japan, and North Korea representing the Asia continent. Keep it here at channelAPA.com for weekly updates as those three teams attempt to shock the world in their conquest for Asia’s first World Cup trophy. In the mean time, below is a quick cheat sheet on Asia’s three participants.
Current FIFA Ranking: 47th
Nickname: Red Devils
World Cup Appearances: 8 (including 2010)
Best Result: 4th (2002)
Captain: Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United)
Group Opponents: Argentina, Nigeria, Greece
Group Synopses: With Argentina being the runaway favorites for group play, it will be a hard fought battle between Greece, Nigeria, and South Korea for the 2nd qualification place. The Nigeria Super Eagles have the home field advantage, while Greece (2004 European Champions) is always a difficult opponent on the big stage. In the end, it might well come down to goal difference to decide who advances from this very competitive group.
Game to watch: Nigeria vs. South Korea (June 22nd)
Current FIFA Ranking: 45th
Nickname: Samurai Blue
World Cup Appearances: 4 (including 2010)
Best Result: Round of 16 (2002)
Captain: Makoto Hasebe (VfL Wolfsburg)
Group Opponents: Netherlands, Denmark, Cameroon
Group Synopses: Given the recent struggles with the national team, Japan enters this World Cup with modest expectations. It will be difficult for the Blue Samurai to break through and finish 1st or 2nd in the group, but given the individual talents of Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama F. Marinos), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Takayuki Morimoto (Catania), Japan will none the less prove to be hearty opponents for the more fancied Dutch & Cameroon sides.
Game to watch: Cameroon vs. Japan (June 14th)
Current FIFA Ranking: 105th
Nickname: Winged Horses
World Cup Appearances: 2 (including 2010)
Best Result: Quarterfinals (1966)
Captain: Hong Yong-Jo (Rostov)
Group Opponents: Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast
Group Synopses: Group of Death… North Korea is expected to offer little resistance to the powerhouse sides in this Group. However, the same could be said of the 1966 North Korean team, a side which shocked the world by defeating the heavily favored Italians on route to a quarterfinal appearance. Given the recent controversies surrounding the North Korea government & economy, the World Cup offers its weary citizens a deserved respite from troubles at home.
Game to watch: Brazil vs. North Korea (June 15th)