The World Cup 2022 has six representatives from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the first time in its history. Hosts Qatar, the tournament’s only debutant, will be there Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Australia (which, although originally from Oceania, have been grouped with Asia since 2006).
While Qatarlost 0:2 Ecuador during the opening game of the tournament was the first by a host in the history of the World Cup, Iran were defeated 6-2 England and Australia4-1 defeat France 4-1 didn’t bode well for teams from the AFC region, the performances of Japan and Saudi Arabia I turned the script around.
“The stars have aligned. Argentina are a fantastic team, but that’s football. Sometimes crazy things happen” Herve Renard said the following Saudi Arabiato win.
That Saudi Arabic The victory represents arguably one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, with many putting the Argentines in the overall lead of the tournament.
Lionel MessiThe early penalty was turned around within five minutes Al Shehri (48′) and Al Dawsari (53′). After that, they defended for their lives Lionel Scaloni‘s team at arm’s length.
“I told Messi he won’t win,” said the Saudi Arabian defender Ali Albulayhi.
That Al Hilal The player was the Great Wall of China for a team from Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st in the FIFA rankings. RenardThe side’s victory against the two-time champions would be the first of two shocks that shook the football world Germany would soon find out.
The Japanese team copied the Saudi Arabia‘s modus operandi to tee off. They started with a goal behind, courtesy of at Ilkay Gundogan Penalty point and came back with goals within eight minutes Ritsu Doan (75′) and Takuma Asano (83.), with both players ironically currently plying their trade in the German Bundesliga.
With Japan beating Germany and Spain In the group, too, the Germans are threatened with losing the World Cup in the group phase for the second time in a row. Just like against South Korea (2-0) at the 2018 World Cup, the Germans lost to a team from Asia.
“We’re reaching the global standard and our maximum capacity from Asian football. If we conceded a goal, we kept going. We have to be persistent, stay tough to the end and use our momentum,” said the coach Hajime Moriyasu.
Japan, ranked 24th by FIFA, would like to repeat their round of 16 like they did in Russia 2018.
In the meantime, Saudi Arabia dream of repeating their exploits from USA 1994. However, they repeat the antics of South Koreawho made it to the semi-finals in his own country in 2022 and represented the highest placing of an Asian team at the World Cup is still a long way off, at least for now.