The gap between Korean and Japanese soccer is widening. In a fierce competition, Japan is not just a little bit ahead. Japanese soccer is rapidly developing to a world-class level, but Korea, on the other hand, is continuously retreating, so the gap is bound to widen further. The same applies to the national team’s performance, results, and the administration of the Football Association. The gap is such that a rivalry beyond geographic relationships seems unreasonable.
The September international match put a wedge in the assessment that Japan was starting to take a significant lead over Korea. Korea, led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann, drew 0-0 in an away game to Wales and narrowly won 1-0 in a neutral friendly match against Saudi Arabia. It was Klinsmann’s first win in six games (1 win, 3 draws, 2 losses). Coach Klinsmann, who had been rumored to be fired, has managed to catch his breath, but there are still many voices criticizing his performance.
During the same period, Japan received global attention.바카라 They won a landslide 4-1 away game in Germany, and also won 4-2 in a neutral friendly match against Turkye. In particular, in the Turkic League match, they made another strong attack even after changing as many as 10 players compared to the starting list for the match against Germany. Locally, Japanese soccer was met with favorable reviews. The German kicker commented that even in the nightmare of his country’s 1-4 crushing defeat, “It was a game where I couldn’t help but praise Japanese soccer.” Germany coach Hansi Flick, who was fired after the crushing defeat, also said, “We have to admit that Japan is a good team.”
Last June, a clear gap was shown, albeit indirectly. After Korea lost 0-1 to Peru, Japan defeated Peru 4-1. El Salvador, which Korea had tied 1-1, became the victim of Japan’s 6-0 victory. While Japan scored 18 goals in 4 consecutive wins in recent international matches, Korea scored only 2 goals in 1 win, 2 draws, and 1 loss. Japan is the only country in Asia that has reserved its place in the top 10 of the FIFA rankings.
After reaching the round of 16 of the Qatar World Cup, their conflicting actions appear to have widened the gap further. While Korea parted ways with coach Paulo Bento, Japan continued with coach Hajime Moriyasu. Coach Moriyasu has been leading the national team for five years since 2018 and has been developing his competitiveness. On the other hand, Coach Klinsmann, whom the Korea Football Association (KFA) selected as Coach Bento’s successor, has not even shown direction in his sixth game since taking office. It has even been embroiled in various controversies and is receiving strong criticism.
In addition, the difference in administrative power between the two countries’ soccer associations is accelerating the rate at which the gap is widening. Aside from the pathetic domestic administration, including the amnesty controversy, KFA is far behind Japan in terms of finding opponents for the most basic evaluation matches. The difference was significant from the September friendly match, and in October as well, Japan invited Canada, a powerhouse in North and Central America, early on, while Korea will play a domestic friendly match against a Southeast Asian team (Vietnam) for the first time in 32 years.
In addition, Japan has even opened an office in Düsseldorf, Germany to support European players. Thanks to this, among the 26 players called up for the September A match, there were as many as 21 European players. On the other hand, the reality is that in Korea, coach Klinsmann continues to travel abroad under the pretext of meaningless observation of European teams, and the KFA is unable to respond in any way.
What is even more bitter is that there is currently little hope that Korean soccer will change. This is because he is not a responsible commander who can expect the national team’s development, and there is no leader or member who can lead change within the KFA organization. It is not for nothing that there are concerns that not only will the gap with Japan widen further, but the level of Korean soccer itself will decline. This is the bittersweet current state of Korean soccer.