Like Argentina, who won the World Cup after 36 years, and LG Twins, who won the Korean Series after 29 years, can Korean soccer fulfill its destiny?
South Korea’s soccer team has been touted as the “Asian powerhouse” with 10 consecutive World Cup finals appearances, but has yet to win the Asian Cup. The Asian Cup is a continental championship organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Every four years, it is the equivalent of the European Football Championship (Euro), which makes even domestic soccer fans go crazy.
Although the tournament is now defunct, the winner received a ticket to the FIFA Confederations Cup, where they could rehearse with the world’s top teams a year before the World Cup.
But after winning back-to-back titles at the inaugural edition in Hong Kong in 1956 and the second edition in South Korea in 1960, South Korea hasn’t won the Asian Cup in 63 years.
Rather, it has been a tournament of misfortune. In Japan in 1992, they fielded an unemployed squad in the preliminary round before losing to Thailand, and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 1996, they lost 2-6 in the quarterfinals to Iran, conceding four goals to their star striker Ali Daiei.
At the 2015 tournament in Australia, they reached the semifinals with a five-game unbeaten run before losing to hosts Australia in extra time. Four years ago in the UAE, they were shocked by Qatar in the quarterfinals.
Therefore, the expectations of the people and soccer fans for this Asian Cup are expected to increase as the tournament approaches. In particular, there are many predictions that South Korea will be able to reach the top of the Asian Cup, which has not been achieved in more than 60 years, thanks to the presence of world-class European players such as Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan, who are among the top scorers in the Premier League at Tottenham and Wolverhampton, Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), who has been upgraded to a world-class defender, and Lee Kang-in (PSG), who will be responsible for the next 10 years of Korean football.
Jürgen Klinsmann, who leads the Korean national soccer team, has also declared that he is ‘all in’ for the Asian Cup and wants to evaluate himself after the tournament.
The Korean Football Association (KFA) has also announced an early winner’s prize fund, showing its desire to be crowned Asian champion.
The KFA held a board meeting at the Jongno Football Hall in Jongno-gu, Seoul, on Thursday to finalize the amount of prize money for major international tournaments, announcing that if Klinsmann’s team wins the Asian Cup next January, each participating player will receive 50 million won in encouragement money.
In fact, until 2015, the Asian Cup had no prize money and was merely a tournament for honors or Confederations Cup tickets, but the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has prepared prize money for the first through fourth-place teams, including $5 million ($6.6 billion) for the winner, starting with the 2019 tournament in the UAE, which will also be applied to the Qatar tournament.
The Taeguk Warriors’ reward will also come from the prize money if they win. Some people may think that 50 million won is a small amount, but it is refreshing to see the KFA announce a 50 million won prize fund early, considering that even at the Asian Games, where there was no prize money, the KFA set 20 million won for the gold medal. 아톰카지노 도메인
As such, the reward of 50 million won is an expression of the fans’ desire to see the Korean national team continue its upward trend of advancing to the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar last year, the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup in May, and the gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in October.