The gap between Korean and Japanese soccer is getting wider and wider. It’s not just a matter of Japan having a slight advantage in a fierce rivalry. Japanese soccer is rapidly developing to a world-class level, while South Korea is going backwards, and the gap is only getting wider. The same goes for national team performance, results, and the administration of the soccer federation. It’s a gap that seems unreasonable for a rivalry that goes beyond geography.
The September A match drove a wedge into the notion that Japan had begun to pull away from South Korea. Jürgen Klinsmann’s side drew 0-0 against Wales and narrowly won a neutralized test against Saudi Arabia 1-0. It was Klinsmann’s first win in six matches (1 win, 3 draws, 2 losses). It was a breath of fresh air for Klinsmann, who had been rumored to be fired, but there was still plenty of criticism of his performance.
In the same period, Japan captured the world’s attention. After a 4-1 thrashing in Germany, they followed it up with a 4-2 victory in a neutralized match in Turkuye, where they made ten changes from their starting lineup against Germany. Local praise for Japanese soccer poured in. A German kicker said, “I have nothing but praise for Japanese soccer,” despite his country’s 1-4 defeat. “You have to admit that Japan is a good team,” said Germany coach Hanji Flick, who was sacked after the loss.
The gap was also evident in June, albeit indirectly. After South Korea’s 0-1 loss to Peru, Japan thrashed Peru 4-1. El Salvador, where South Korea drew 1-1, became the sacrificial lamb for Japan’s 6-0 thrashing. While Japan has scored 18 goals in its last four A-match wins, South Korea has scored just two goals in one win, two draws and one loss. Japan is the only team in Asia to book a spot in the top 10 of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings.
After reaching the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar side by side, the gap has widened. South Korea parted ways with coach Paulo Bento, while Japan stuck with Hajime Moriyasu. Moriyasu has been at the helm of the national team for five years, since 2018, and has seen the team become more competitive. On the other hand, Klinsmann, who was selected by 소닉카지노 the Korean Football Association (KFA) to succeed Bento, has failed to show any direction in his sixth game in charge. He has also been embroiled in various controversies and has been heavily criticized.
Moreover, the difference in the administrative power of the two soccer federations is accelerating the pace of the gap. Even putting aside its pathetic domestic administration, including the amnesty controversy, the KFA is far behind Japan when it comes to the most basic things, such as choosing its opponents. The difference in September’s opponents is staggering, and in October, while Japan invited North and Central American powerhouse Canada early, South Korea will play its first domestic test against a Southeast Asian team (Vietnam) in 32 years.
In addition, Japan has opened an office in Dusseldorf, Germany, to support its European players. As a result, a whopping 21 of the 26 players called up for the September A match were European. South Korea, on the other hand, has been traveling abroad in the name of observing Europeans, which Klinsmann says is pointless.