Asia is paying attention to the showdown between South Korea and Saudi Arabia in the round of 16 strongest teams. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) also picked it as a matchup for the round of 16 strongest teams to watch on its website, while ESPN, a sports media outlet, also introduced it as “the best big match without doubt.” As such, the losing team will suffer more fatal injury than premature elimination of the round of 16.
South Korea and Saudi Arabia will face off in the round of 16 of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup at 1 a.m. on the 31st (Korea time) at Education City Stadium in Alayyan, Qatar. South Korea reached the round of 16 with the second place in Group E (1 win and 2 draws) and Saudi Arabia the first place in Group F (2 wins and 1 draw), respectively, and the face-off was made.
This is a showdown between the two teams, which had been considered candidates for the championship even before the opening of the championship. Ahead of the opening of the championship, Opta, a soccer statistics company, forecast Korea’s probability of winning the title at 14.3 percent (second place) and Saudi Arabia’s 10.6 percent (fifth place), respectively. Of the total participating teams, only five were expected to have double-digit probability of winning the title, and the two teams made it to the round of 16.
It is natural that Asia’s attention is drawn to the trend. AFC also previewed major matches ahead of the round of 16 matches at the AFC Championship, saying, “Korea and Saudi Arabia are the two giants of Asian soccer that have won five Asian Cup titles and participated in 17 FIFA World Cups,” citing them as matchups to pay attention to the most.
“Korea is a team with many star players who consistently show the best skills in Europe, including Son Heung-min (Tottenham) and Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) and Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain, PSG),” the AFC said on its website. “Saudi Arabia has the AFC Player of the Year award winner Salem Al-Dosari, who scored against Argentina at the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup.”
“Saudi Arabia has experience in becoming a continental champion, including Robetro Mancini (Italy), who led Italy to the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2020), and Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany), who led South Korea to the 2013 CONCACAF North-Central American Gold Cup,” he added.
ESPN said, “It is undoubtedly a showdown that is drawing the most attention in the round of 16 strongest teams,” but added, “Korea ranked second in Group E due to its performance that is hard to understand. Korea has avoided a showdown with Japan, but it is also far from easy to face off with Saudi Arabia. Attacks are threatening, but defense that has lost six goals, which is tying for third in this year’s event, is another cause of instability.”
“Saudi Arabia also scored only four goals despite its two wins and one draw,” he said. “Still, both teams have the potential to show different sides in important situations. I’m looking forward to an exciting showdown.”
As both South Korea and Saudi Arabia entered the tournament aiming to win, and were attracting attention as actual candidates, the losing team in the round of 16 is expected to face a formidable backlash. As the losing team is on the stage of the tournament, it is highly likely that South Korea and Saudi Arabia will face cruel results.
The fallout from premature elimination will directly lead to fatal injuries to both teams. Korea is aiming to win the title for the first time in 64 years since 1960, and Saudi Arabia is also eager to win the title as the 1996 event was its last championship. As AFC explained, Korea is considered the best time to win the title in the so-called “best performance ever.” Saudi Arabia is so determined to win the title that it has given the world-renowned coach Mancini a whopping 27 million U.S. dollars in annual salary, over 36 billion won. This is why a team that is eliminated is inevitable. 헤라카지노
AFC said, “Both South Korea and Saudi Arabia started this tournament with a desire to win, but one team was eliminated due to a showdown in the round of 16 tournament.” ESPN added, “Both teams are aiming for a championship that has not been achieved for a long time, but the drought of at least one team’s championship is bound to be longer (due to the round of 16 showdown).”
In FIFA rankings, Korea ranks 23rd, while Saudi Arabia ranks 56th, a 33-step gap. In past matches, the team is tied at five wins, eight draws and five losses, but Klinsmann won the match 1-0 thanks to Cho Kyu-sung (Mit Whelan)’s first goal in an exhibition match held in Newcastle, the U.K. in September last year.