I’m yet to discover how do Asian football fans in Japan and Korea think about “international breaks”, where league fixtures are interrupted by back-to-back international matches. For nations such as Portugal and Turkey it was still the first half of nervous minutes, while for teams like England and Wales it was pessimism turned into joy. Unless if the next encounter next Tuesday brings another disappointment.
It was also a tour of duty for both teams – a stay in Western Asia for South Korea and the wonderful trek of Stalinist (well, you can argue that about Uzbekistan – they still have hideous statues don’t they?) Asia for Japan. But the mission to qualify for the fourth round has been accomplished, at least for Japan. It was good to see Lee Keun-Ho scoring again, while Havenaar was still so so.
As for Australia, well, Oman are really the pebbles in their shoes, aren’t they? It was just like Bangkok 07 again, and back then there was Cahill to save the day. Kennedy (and Holman) weren’t that heroic. I’m looking forward for Singapore v China, while Jordan needs another test against their newfound awesomeness – 9 goals to 1.
Regarding Group E, I’m not sure which I hate more – Iran (obvious), Qatar (because of 2022 and Al-Sadd), Bahrain (where Peter Taylor said he’s never heard of anyone called A’ala Hubail), or my own country Indonesia, where the new idiotic regime that is running the football association (even much worse than the previous one) arranged 38 year old Hendro Kartiko (no offence to Mr. Kartiko, but he’s ain’t van der Sar) to guard the box. To my surprise, last weekend I supported Qatar just so that that new arrangement could be proven ********.
The current name is in A-League is Albanian Besart Berisha from Brisbane Roar. Regarding the continuing A-League, anyway, I wonder if Nick Carle and Archie Thompson still deserve a place in the Socceroos – and if Ryan Griffiths is worth it. Anyway, Australia don’t need to replace Osieck yet. Such is the reality of Asian football – you’re not everything. Something that Japan ought to remember at every match.