In the face of massive criticism, Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korean team has reached the quarterfinals of the 2023 Asian Cup.
The group stage was a struggle. They struggled against relative underdogs. A 3-1 win over Bahrain was followed by a 2-2 draw with Jordan and a 3-3 draw with Malaysia. Criticism of the national team reached a fever pitch.
The Asian tigers were humiliated by the underdogs, and distrust of them grew. Their hopes of winning the title were diminished.
But they managed to turn the tournament around. They became a team that gave all soccer fans hope of winning. This is the kind of team that every soccer fan can get behind wholeheartedly. What made the difference between the group stage and the tournament?
To put it bluntly, the performances weren’t that different. The attack wasn’t as precise, and the holes in the defense weren’t plugged. However, something was definitely different. Something that was missing from the group stage was the team’s strength: commitment.
In the 21st century, emphasizing grit can make you sound like a dick, but in the round of 16 against Saudi Arabia and the quarterfinals against Australia, their grit was dazzling. It’s okay to be a douchebag, I applaud their determination. They moved the crowd and made the team proud.
The determination to keep going, the passion to change the game, the fight to win – it all came together to produce two miraculous wins. Both times, they came back from behind to tie the game in dramatic late stoppage time.
There were no tactics to break down their opponents, no flashy performances. Their winning formula was simple. They played really, really hard. They played so hard that everyone watching could feel it 100%, so much so that it was almost palpable. It was the kind of team every soccer fan in the world wants to see.
The Taegeuk Warriors, who had three days off against Australia and played 120 minutes in the round of 16, worked harder than the Australians, who had five days off. This is an example of mental dominance over physical strength. The difference in desperation. Impressed by this fighting spirit, the heavens gave them a chance to turn the game around. Led by their captain, Son Heung-min, the team formed a complete unit. Together, they are racing to win their first Asian Cup in 64 years. With this kind of passion, anything is possible.
South Korea in 2024 looks a lot like the Lionel Messi-led Argentina team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. There were no flashy tactics then either. They suffered a shock loss to Saudi Arabia in the first round of the group stage, drawing global criticism and ridicule. But they turned the tables. They went on to win the tournament. The key to their victory was that all 11 players worked harder than any other country’s players. No team can beat this formula. There is no way to beat a team that plays hard.
For Messi’s last dance, for Messi’s coronation, Argentina put everything on the line. The result: a World Cup win after 36 years. It was Messi’s first World Cup title in history, a triumph that cemented him as the true GOAT.
Son Heung-min is in a similar situation. This is the “last Asian Cup” of his prime. He hasn’t won the last three Asian Cups. He was the youngest player to compete at the 2011 파워볼사이트 추천 Asian Cup, where he finished third, and the runner-up at the 2015 Asian Cup. At the 2019 Asian Cup, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals. It’s a three-way tie.
Despite being the undisputed best player in Asia for many years, he hasn’t won Asia’s biggest tournament. Enter Son Heung-min. That’s why he wants to win the Asian Cup so badly.
He is now 31 years old. In three years, at the 2027 Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia, he will be 34. Even if you’re the best player in the world, even if you’re the best at taking care of yourself, you can’t stop the passage of time.
He is still alive to play in the next Asian Cup, but there’s a good chance we won’t see him in his prime. Ahead of the tournament, many foreign media outlets called it Son’s last chance to win. It’s his last dance.
Will Son Heung-min’s coronation take place in Qatar in 2024? We’re not sure. No one knows. What is certain is that, just like Messi’s coronation in 2022, every player on the Korean national team will put everything on the line around Son Heung-min. Miracles happen to the prepared.
“One thing I can say with certainty is that it makes us much stronger,” Son said after the game against Australia. Playing 120 minutes is painful. It’s hard. But the spirit that the players show makes us think together. We’re all in this together. The spirit we’re showing, it’s really important. The challenge of all the players is inspiring. They all deserve to be praised.”