Commentary: With Japan and Saudi Arabia upsets at World Cup, Asian football is showing it can compete with the best

2 weeks ago 33

DOHA: Two consecutive days, two consecutive shocks, two of the biggest wins by Asian teams at any World Cup.

First Saudi Arabia beat Argentina in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Then Japan followed up with an unlikely comeback victory against Germany.

Each match followed an eerily similar pattern.

First, the hot favourites would score a penalty. But the Asian side would hold their nerve, score two goals, and take the three points.

Twenty-four hours after Japan's victory, South Korea would hold two-time world champions Uruguay to a stalemate.

Though not as impressive as the giant-killings by the Saudis and Japan, the result against a team 14 spots ahead in the world rankings was an impressive one.


What is remarkable about these performances is the calibre of opposition these Asian teams have faced.

Argentina are ranked third in the world, had not lost a game in 36 matches, and are captained by none other than Lionel Messi.

Four-time world champions Germany - though not the powerhouse they once were - boast experienced players such as Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer as well as promising young stars in the form of Jamal Musiala.

Uruguay are seasoned contenders, and have in their ranks grizzled veterans such as Diego Godin, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, but also a new generation of footballers such as Federico Valverde and Darwin Nunez.

Argentina and Germany were tipped by most to go far in this edition of the World Cup, while others had predicted Uruguay to be one of the tournament's dark horses.

In contrast, most, if not all the Asian teams had been written off before the tournament.

But over the last few days, these results - and its not just about the points collected, but what the points represent - show that Asian teams can compete ...

Read Entire Article