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Asian Cup 2019: 3 reasons why South Korea could win the tournament

Avik Roy
30 Dec 2018, 01:32 IST

#2 Recent form and talented players

During the Russia World Cup, Lee showed that he can go toe to toe with the world’s best
During the Russia World Cup, Lee showed that he can go toe to toe with the world’s best

South Korea may have crashed out earlier than expected from the World Cup, but there were some signs of improvement. They defeated defending champions Germany in their last group match, which was no mean achievement. They performed well before losing to Sweden and Mexico.

All was not lost. The introduction of Paulo Bento changed the complexion again. Bento likes to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He prefers fast offensive football with a backline build-up. His strategy worked against Costa Rica, but the team couldn’t find the back of the net against Chile.

However, results in the last four months silenced all his critics. Korea beat Uruguay, drew with Panama and a higher-ranked Australia before putting four goals past Uzbekistan.

South Korea claimed the Asian Games Gold Medal a few months ago. After losing badly in their group match against Malaysia, the Korean’s learnt from their mistakes and did not look back from there. They beat Bangladesh, Vietnam, Uzbekistan before defeating Japan in the final.

With the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan and China in their group, South Korea should easily go through in the next rounds. South Korea has some talented players apart from Tottenham star Son Heung-Min. Emerging goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, winger Lee Syung-woo and forward Hwang He-chan will likely be crucial players.

Also, there is Lee Jae-Sung. During the Russia World Cup, Lee showed that he can match with the world’s best. The Korean midfielder plays for German second division club Holstein Kiel. As Son will be missing the first two games for his country, Lee will have to shoulder the creative burden for his country.

There is Hwang In-beom who plays for Daejeon Citizen in K-League 2. He has been named in the best XI of the league for the past three seasons. He plays as a midfielder who can link up play between the attack and the defence.

With collective forces, Korea can pull off the odds.

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