Why we can’t ignore Bahrain, our first opponent at the Asian Cup
Will they beat Middle Eastern ‘Middleman’ Bahrain and get a good first button?
The South Korean national soccer team, which is challenging to regain the top of the Asian Cup for the first time in 64 years, will play its first group match against Bahrain on the 15th.
Korea, which belongs to Group E along with Bahrain, Jordan, and Malaysia, will be able to secure a comfortable round of 16 best teams only when it passes the group stage as No. 1. For that to happen, the first round match against Bahrain is very important.
Bahrain ranks 86th in the FIFA rankings, far ahead of Korea 23rd. Korea is leading Korea by a large margin in past matches with 11 wins, four draws and one loss. Bahrain, however, bullied Korea twice in the Asian Cup. In the second group match of the 2007 hosted by four Southeast Asian countries, Korea suffered a come-from-behind 1-2 loss to Bahrain. Korea, which tied Saudi Arabia 1-1 in the first match, was on the verge of elimination in the group league due to the defeat, but managed to reach the quarterfinals by beating host Indonesia 1-0.
Bahrain also teased Korea in the round of 16 strongest teams at the last tournament UAE in 2019. Korea was leading 1-0, allowed an equalizer in the second half, and narrowly won the match thanks to Kim Jin-soo’s finishing goal in overtime. However, the team lost 0-1 in the quarterfinal match against Qatar three days later due to demands for physical stamina.
Korea has rarely won in its first group match at the Asian Cup. Korea has recorded five wins and six draws in its first group match. Korea has no loss but has only won once by a gap of two goals or more. It is the only country that beat the Khmer Republic 4-1 at the 1972 Thailand championship, which saw the “post-group tournament” system debut. The team beat Oman 1-0 at the 2015 event and the Philippines 1-0 at the 2019 event. It is regrettable that the opponent team in the first group match was one step lower than Korea’s.
Bahrain, led by Spanish coach Juan Antonio Fish, plays fast counterattacking football. A key player is Abdullah Yusuf Heral Mlada Boleslav, who is 194 centimeters tall with experience playing in the UEFA Champions League. Ali Madan Aman of the United Arab Emirates, who scored 11 goals in 74 A matches, and Moamed al-Hardan Al-Kaldiya SC, who led his team to the Bahraini league title last season after playing in European leagues such as Denmark, Moldova and Greece, are also players to pay attention to.
Korean national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann is expected to form a starting lineup in the first round of the group match with the best players including Son Heung-min Tottenham and Kim Min-jae Bayern Munich, as well as Cho Kyu-sung Mitwhelan, Hwang In-beom Zvezda, Seol Young-woo Ulsan, and Kim Seung-gyu Al-Shabab. However, Hwang Hee-chan Wolverhampton and Kim Jin-soo Jeonbuk Hyundai, who are recovering from injury, are expected to be absent. Lee Ki-je Suwon is expected to fill Kim Jin-soo’s left wingback position, while Jung Woo-young Stutgart and Moon Seon-min Jeonbuk Hyundai are expected to fill Hwang Hee-chan’s vacancy. 토토사이트