“The Changsha Disaster, No Second consecutive Loss” Cleansman’s First Expedition to China in 6 Years and 8 Months…Korean soccer has changed again
It was March 23, 2017, the day Uli Stielicke (from Germany) took over. It was the day the black history of the “Changsha Disaster” was written. South Korean soccer faced China in the sixth match of Group A at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. At the time, China was ranked 86th in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and South Korea was ranked 40th. One player was missing. South Korean soccer icon Son Heung-min (Tottenham) was suspended due to accumulating cautions, and the void was huge. Stielike’s side lost 0-1 to China. It had been seven years since the 0-3 loss at the East Asian Cup in Tokyo, Japan, in February 2010.레모나토토
Six years and eight months had passed. South Korea is traveling to China. After a 5-0 victory over Singapore in the first round, Klinsmann’s men will depart for China on Sept. 19. South Korea will face China at 9 p.m. on the 21st at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in the second Asian qualifier for the 2026 North and Central American World Cup.
Some things haven’t changed over the years. The gap between South Korea and China in soccer quality. South Korea is ranked 24th in the FIFA rankings, while China is 79th. After the Changsha disaster, the two teams met four more times. South Korea has won three straight after a draw. The most recent meeting was at the East Asian Cup in Nagoya, Japan, last year. With the current call-up, Cho Kyu-sung (Meatwillan) scored a wedge goal in a 3-0 victory. Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) scored goals in two consecutive matches, at the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the East Asian Cup in Busan on December 15, 2019. Son Heung-min is yet to register a goal against China, but has a 22-12-2 head-to-head record.
China remains the backwater of Asian soccer. It is 11th in Asia in the FIFA rankings. It is behind Japan (18th), Iran (21st), South Korea and Australia (27th), Saudi Arabia (57th), Qatar (61st), Iraq (68th), UAE (69th), Oman (72nd) and Uzbekistan (73rd). The number of tickets allocated to Asia in the North American World Cup, which expands the field to 48 nations, has increased from 4.5 to 8.5, but qualification is not guaranteed. The first and last time China qualified for a World Cup was at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup.
The Klinsmanns are in Group C alongside China, Singapore, and Thailand in the second round of qualifying. The first and second place finishers in each group qualify for the final. China, who came from behind to win 2-1 against Thailand in the first round, considers South Korea to be a “formidable opponent. They are hoping to punch their ticket against Singapore and Thailand. They are also looking for an upset against South Korea. “Korea is a world-class team in terms of individual skills, team stability, and confidence,” said Serbian coach Aleksandar Jankovic, who leads the China A team. It’s a big challenge for us,” he said, adding, “We will play to win.”
South Korean soccer has evolved from the days of the Changsha disaster. Son Heung-min has established himself as an iconic attacker in the English Premier League, and Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) is a new addition. Kim Min-jae is self-explanatory, and Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton) has scored six goals in the EPL this season. Lee Jae-sung (Mainz), Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), Hwang In-beom (Zvezda), Oh Hyun-gyu (Celtic), Cho Kyu-sung (Mittwilan) and Hwang Eui-jo (Norwich City) are the only Europeans in the squad. Against Singapore, Cho Kyu-sung, Hwang Hee-chan, Son Heung-min, Hwang Eui-jo, and Lee Kang-in opened the scoring. China, on the other hand, has mostly domestic players.
There are no guarantees. Unlike at home, away from home, any opponent is a challenge. “We have to be more professional in our preparation,” said coach Jürgen Klinsmann, whose team is trying to qualify for its 11th consecutive World Cup. “Against China, it’s important to get points quickly,” said Klinsmann. “Against a team that drops back defensively, against a team that has a lot of quality, it’s important to push them at our tempo from the start. If we go slow, it can be difficult. We need to score when we get the chance.”
After the Singapore match, Son Heung-min said, “It will be a tough game. When we play a strong team, we want to play tough. When Asian teams play us, they will try to play rough. It can be their tactic to make us angry and frustrated.” “It’s an aspect of our game that we can work on. If we don’t get involved and play our game, we can play well. We don’t have to be afraid of China. We just have to play our game.”