The match between South Korea and Kuwait in the Group E match at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at the Jinhua Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China on September 19.
Even though it wasn’t a Chinese game, the stadium was filled with “chants” in support of China. It was the voice of some Chinese spectators in the stadium.
It didn’t take long to realize who they were cheering for in this match without Chinese players.
“Chayo Kuwait,” several of them chanted.
The encouragement from the Chinese fans continued to grow as Kuwait prepared for set pieces and attacked. When Kuwait missed a crucial scoring chance, there were sighs of disappointment.
South Korea, who will be attempting to win a record third consecutive Asian Games title after winning the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and the 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games, are among the strongest favorites in the tournament.
Led by captain Baek Seung-ho, the squad is made up of players who have been in and out of the senior national team, including Seol Young-woo, Song Min-kyu, Uhm Won-sang, Hong Hyun-seok, Park Kyu-hyun and Jeong Woo-young, while the addition of Lee Kang-in, the core of the A squad, along with players who are playing in Europe such as Jeong Woo-young, Hong Hyun-seok and Park Kyu-hyun, has created a formidable squad. It’s been called the strongest team in the history of the tournament, with the likes of Son Heung-min and Hwang Eui-jo playing as wildcards.
With a quarterfinal finish at the Asian Games being their best ever, China were eager to take on the competition on home soil.
Head coach Dejan Durjevic, who had a long coaching career with Serbia’s age-group and professional teams, was handed the reins in February, and the team was determined to reach the medal round for the first time ever.
“We have been preparing for over six months and we have already completed all of it,” Durjevic said ahead of the tournament, “and we are aiming to play all seven games.” The group stage will consist of three matches, followed by the round of 16 and four quarterfinals. “If we make it to the quarterfinals, even if we lose, we will have played seven games because there is a medal match,” he said.
However, the enthusiasm of the Chinese fans cheering for Kuwait quickly subsided. South Korea scored four goals in the first half, starting with Cho Young-wook’s goal in the second minute, and added five more in the second half to make it 9-0.
At the end of the first half, some Chinese fans left the stadium, and the stadium was filled with chants from the Korean fans instead of the “cheers” that echoed throughout the first half.
South Korean soccer stood on top at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and the 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games.
If they win the tournament, they will become the first country in Asian Games history to win three consecutive titles. 메이저놀이터