It was below expectations. Japan, which had high expectations for its team to meet Korea in the final at the 2023 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Qatar Asian Cup, has collapsed. It suffered a severe blow to its pride when it lost to Iraq, the powerhouse in the Middle East, 1-2.

Japan had its second Group D match against Iraq at the Education City Stadium in Alayyan, Qatar on Wednesday (Korea time). Prior to the match, coach Moriyasu Hajime and Japanese media expressed confidence that they would advance to the round of 16 at an early date by beating Iraq. Opening the lid, however, the atmosphere of the match was different. Japan struggled very much, and ended up with a bitter cup of defeat.

It also exposed weaknesses that it had seen in the first group match against Vietnam on Wednesday. The goalkeeper made a fatal mistake with unstable appearance, showing weakness in provision, and conceding both goals with his header. The attack was frustrating as well. It failed to penetrate Iraq’s two-line defense effectively. Takefusa Kubo, who recovered from injury and started as a starter, also showed lethargy and could not prevent Japan from losing.

Japan came down from the lead in Group D by losing 1-2 to Iraq. Iraq has taken the lead in two consecutive wins, while Japan is placed under Iraq. Currently, the second-ranked in Group D is the most likely candidate. If Korea advances to the round of 16 as the second-ranked in Group D, it will face off against the first-ranked in Group E on the way to the quarterfinals. Korea, which will have its second and third Group E matches against Jordan on June 20 and Malaysia on June 25, is highly likely to rank No. 1 in Group E. As Japan slides off, chances are now high that Korea-Japan matches will advance to the round of 16. 

With the Klinsmann team, there is no need for complicated calculations. For starters, the team should focus on its match against Jordan on Tuesday. It is better to beat Jordan to decide on its way to the tournament early on. If the team leads the group with two consecutive wins, it will be able to take a lot of energy out of the third group match against Malaysia on Saturday. It will also earn time to prepare for the round of 16 best teams. It is wise to run to win all the group matches as planned. 헤라카지노도메인

Of course, Japan is not an easy target. It is a bit burdensome to meet in the round of 16. However, Japan’s performance in the first and second group matches was far from that of the strong team. This is partly due to the absence of its main players due to injury, but overall, both offense and defense fell short of expectations. While increasing the possession rate through a unique pass game, Korea revealed its lack of finishing offense, and exposed its weak point of Achilles tendon in defense. Korea should focus on its win over Jordan and stop feeling the pressure of its round of 16 match against Korea and Japan.

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