South Korea has a 52% chance of reaching the quarterfinals

The word “favorite” has become an understatement.

Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korea national soccer team drew 3-3 with Malaysia in their Group E match at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2023 Qatar Asian Cup on Friday at 2:30 p.m. (local time) at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar.

The result sees South Korea finish second in the group and advance to the round of 16, where they will face Group F leaders Saudi Arabia. They will meet Saudi Arabia on May 31 at 1:00 am.

There was only one change to the offensive line compared to the first and second games. Jung Woo-young was inserted into the left wing forward position and Lee Jae-sung was dropped to the third line. Son Heung-min and Cho Kyu-sung formed the top two, with Lee Kang-in at right wing forward.

Malaysia’s defense was solid. They formed a back five, with all four midfielders near the penalty box, forming a tight two-row defense. It was no different from the first and second legs. But Klinsmann didn’t have a solution for this game either.

The first half was solid. South Korea didn’t allow a single shot on goal and went into halftime with a 1-0 lead after Jung Woo-young scored in the 21st minute.

But in the second half, the defense broke down. They conceded a humiliating equalizer to Faisal Halim in the sixth minute of the second half, and conceded a penalty kick (PK) in the 17th minute. South Korea fought back with goals from Lee Kang-in and Son Heung-min, but conceded a late goal to Romel Morales in stoppage time to end the match at 3-3.

Korea finished second in Group E and advanced to the Round of 16. After the Saudi Arabia-Thailand match ended in a 0-0 draw, South Korea’s Round of 16 opponent will be Saudi Arabia, who topped Group F.

Shortly after the round of 16 was finalized, soccer statistics outlet Opta revealed each team’s chances of winning the tournament, starting with their chances of advancing to the quarterfinals. The closest matchup in the round of 16 was between South Korea and Saudi Arabia. They predicted a 52.7% chance of South Korea reaching the quarterfinals. Saudi Arabia was at 47.3%. The biggest gap was between Qatar and Palestine, with 80% predicting a Qatari quarterfinal.

This means that South Korea’s power and performance are not good. Opta had released its Asian Cup odds ahead of the tournament. At the time, they gave South Korea a 14.8% chance of winning the tournament. They were ranked second overall out of 24 countries.

But after the group stage, the odds plummeted. The media gave South Korea a 52.7% chance of reaching the quarterfinals, 30.4% of reaching the semifinals, and 20.6% of reaching the final. They also gave them an 11% chance of winning the title. That’s fifth out of 16 countries. Japan, on the other hand, still held the top spot with an 18.2% chance of winning.

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