The South Korean national soccer team, led by head coach Klinsmann, drew 2-2 in the second Group E match of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup against Jordan at 8:30 p.m. on the 20th (Korea Standard Time) at Altumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Korea (+2) became the same as Jordan (+4) with one win and one draw, but fell to the second place in the group due to its lack of goal difference. Korea will play its last group match against Malaysia, which has already been eliminated, on Saturday.
Japan lost 1-2 to Iraq, opening a path of thorns. If Korea tops Group E, it will meet Japan in the round of 16. The quarterfinals are most likely to be Iran. If Korea ranks second in Group E, it will meet Saudi Arabia in the round of 16. The quarterfinals are expected to be Australia.
It is good for Korea to defeat Malaysia to take the lead in the group, but the matchup is not very good in the future. In the worst case, Korea may be eliminated from the round of 16 or the quarterfinals, repeating the curse of 64 years at the Asian Cup.
However, Korea cannot intentionally draw with Malaysia. If Korea is afraid of Japan, which it has to meet anyway, it is not qualified to discuss the victory.
“Nikkan Sports” evaluated Korea’s performance by analyzing the number of cases that Korea could face off against in the round of 16. “Even if Korea beats Malaysia in the third round, if Jordan also wins, it has seven points in the same way. Jordan, which has more than +2 points in goal difference, has an advantage. We need to determine Korea’s goal difference,” he said.
“If Korea ties with Malaysia, it will rank second in the group regardless of Jordan’s outcome. In that case, Korea will avoid Japan in the round of 16. It could be the result that Korea wants,” he said, expressing no desire for a round of 16 match between Korea and Japan.
Finally, he analyzed the worst case, saying, “If Korea loses to Malaysia, Korea will end up in second place and Bahrain in third place.”
Even from Japan’s point of view, meeting Korea in the round of 16 is an unwanted result. Will the match between Korea and Japan be held in the round of 16? If Korea defeats Malaysia, chances are high that the match between Korea and Japan will not take place.