‘Asian Cup 2011’

Asian Cup 2011: Five tactical observations

There may have been comical goalkeeping, half-empty stadiums and a ticketing fiasco that marred the final, but the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar was also able to boast some fine football and a handful of breath-taking matches. Football Further looks at some of the tactical points of interest at the 15th edition of Asia’s showpiece tournament.

1. Barcelona have some devoted disciples in East Asia
Qatar’s French coach Bruno Metsu described Japan as “the Barcelona of Asia” after their 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia in the group phase, but the description could just as easily have been applied to South Korea. Both sides pressed the opposition high up the pitch, harrying defenders into conceding possession and constructing attacks based on rapid inter-changes of passes. “When we attack, just like Japan, we go forward and create chances at a high tempo,” said South Korea coach Cho Kwang-Rae prior to the last-four meeting between the sides.

Japan’s high defensive line got them into trouble on occasion – most notably when Sebastián Soria broke the offside trap to put Qatar 1-0 up in their quarter-final – but their football was very pleasing on the eye. Ji Dong-Won’s second goal for South Korea in the third-place play-off win against Uzbekistan, meanwhile, was as slick a strike as almost anything Barcelona have produced this season.

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Report: South Korea pay penalty as Japan reach Asian Cup final

“DOHA — Jubilant three-time champions Japan reached the Asian Cup final after defeating arch-rivals South Korea 3-0 in a nail-biting penalty shootout on Tuesday.”

Read my AFP match report here.

Report: South Korea sink India to set up Iran showdown

“DOHA — South Korea marched into the Asian Cup quarter-finals with a 4-1 defeat of an obdurate India in their final Group C game at a sodden Al Gharafa Stadium on Tuesday.”

Read my AFP match report here.

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