No more bronze: the South Korean women’s soccer team is aiming for gold at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
Women’s soccer has never made it past the semifinals at the Asian Games. South Korea’s first bronze medal came in Guangzhou in 2010, but they have failed to reach the final since. Despite their steady progress, they have now won three consecutive bronze medals in Incheon in 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang in 2018, so they are looking to go further.
For a while, women’s soccer’s momentum was sky-high. Under Colin Bell, the team has risen through the ranks over the years and achieved some significant milestones, most notably finishing as runners-up at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup last year for the first time ever.
Capitalizing on the momentum, the team felt confident enough to take it to the next level at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand last summer. The team was determined to make history by undergoing high-intensity training ordered by Coach Bell, but unexpectedly, they finished the World Cup with only the group stage.메이저사이트
At the World Cup, South Korea finished at the bottom of the group with one draw and two losses. The team failed to live up to expectations as they were beaten by Colombia and Morocco, two teams they thought they could beat. However, in the final match of the tournament, they drew with Germany, which was considered one of the favorites. The team’s desperation against the Germans showed a strong will to get back on their feet.
The Asian Games will be a chance to redeem themselves. Of course, the competition is not easy, with Japan, a global powerhouse in women’s soccer, and the traditionally tough China and North Korea. But South Korea’s women’s soccer team is a force to be reckoned with in Asia.
The team’s biggest test will come in the quarterfinals. Drawn in Group E alongside Myanmar, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, the Koreans are likely to face Group D favorites Japan if they finish first and advance to the quarterfinals. The unusual bracketing system, in which the group leaders meet in the first stage of the tournament, has Bell saying, “I don’t understand why the top two teams meet,” but the team is focused on winning.
Japan is considered a step above South Korea in terms of objective strength. They also reached the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup. However, for this tournament, Japan brought out a different squad from the World Cup. It’s been analyzed that the team is weaker than usual due to the addition of college players, mainly from the domestic scene.
Still, Japan is a nervous opponent. Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC) said, “Japan has a very wide base, so I think many players have been given the opportunity to gain new experiences through the Asian Games.” “Japan may be missing a lot of overseas players, but they are not weak. Even if they are from the Japanese league, I think they are strong,” he said.
As with all Korea-Japan matches, the game will be played with a lot of determination, and the outcome will depend on the team’s ability to showcase their strengths. “There is no pressure to play Japan. I’m more worried that we won’t be able to play our game.” “At the World Cup, we didn’t show what we were prepared for. We were scolded at the World Cup because we weren’t good enough, but this time, the players will be eager to play every game.”
Veteran striker Park Eun-sun (Seoul Metropolitan Government) also said, “I heard that the group winners will meet in the quarterfinals. I’m not too worried about meeting Japan,” she said. Captain Kim Hye-ri said, “This is my fourth Asian Games and I have three bronze medals at home. This time, we will go higher,” she said, determined to surpass Japan.
The women’s team will soon head to the final match. Belho, who has been training with Paju NFC since May 5, will fly to Hangzhou via Incheon International Airport on the afternoon of the 19th. After arriving in Hangzhou, the team will travel for more than three hours to Wenzhou, where the group stage will be played. After a short break in China, the team will play Myanmar on the 22nd, followed by matches against the Philippines and Hong Kong.