As a continent, Asia is significantly under represented within the World Cup’s history. This is mostly down to the qualification process and ranking system of world football. Teams are ranked due to their international records, with the berths at the World Cup being distributed in correlation to the overall ranking of teams within each continent. This means that the majority of berths go to European, Central and South American teams. However, that is not to say that Asian teams have never prospered within the tournament. Some have produced truly memorable results and shocked the world. Excitement for the upcoming World Cup is growing and with gambling laws relaxing in Asia a flurry of betting activity is set to take place. Companies like M88 Indonesia are already posting record bets in the run up to the World Cup. We look at some of the best highlights of Asia’s World Cup history below to help you decide who you’re punting on this World Cup!
South Korea at South Korea/Japan 2002
GuusHiddink’s South Korean team produced some of the biggest shocks seen within world football – which was made all the sweeter due to them occurring in their home tournament. South Korea beat Poland and Portugal in the group stages, beat Italy 2-1 in the last 16, and incredibly beat Spain on penalties in the quarter finals. South Korea then lost to Germany in the semis and finished fourth overall. This is perhaps the most successful Asian team in international footballing history and produced so many memorable results. It is the furthest any Asian team has progressed in the tournament.
China at South Korea/Japan 2002
In contrast to South Korea’s performance in 2002, China’s tournament is memorable for all the wrong reasons. The Chinese were in a tough group that consisted of Brazil, Turkey and Costa Rica. China emphatically lost all of their games, with the heaviest defeat at the hands of Brazil, which saw the footballing legends of Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo all grabbing a goal each.
North Korea at South Africa 2010
The North Koreans really had a torrid time in the 2010 tournament. Drawn in the ‘group of death’ with Brazil, Portugal, and the Ivory Coast, nobody expected anything from the North Koreans, and rightly so. They lost every game, which included a 7-0 hammering by Portugal. This cued a barrage of speculation as to how the team’s dire performance would be reported by Pyongrang, causing the internet to be flooded with satirical match reports supposedly released by the nation.
Asian teams usually have a pretty dull time at the World Cup. It is doubtful that South Korea will ever regain the height of success seen in 2002. However, Japan have developed a lot since the last tournament and are in a group that they should do well in. The Japanese team have the best chance of any Asian nation within the tournament this year, could it be history in the making?