The South Korean women’s soccer team is looking to redeem itself at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
In previous editions of the Asian Games, the team has fallen short before reaching the final. The best they could manage was a bronze medal. At Jakarta-Palembang 2018, when South Korea was confident of winning its first title, it lost 1-2 in the semifinals to Japan.
This year, five years later, South Korea has a chance to make history with a vengeance. Drawn in Group E alongside Myanmar (22nd), the Philippines (25th) and Hong Kong (28th) in the Hangzhou Asian Games group stage, South Korea will likely meet Japan in the quarterfinals if they top their group. Unlike the tournament, where the first and second place finishers usually face each other in the quarterfinals, this time the first place finisher from Group D and the first place finisher from Group E will meet in the quarterfinals of the four-team tournament.
“I don’t understand why the group winners meet each other, but we’re just focused on winning (the group stage and the quarterfinals against Japan),” said head coach Colleen Bell.
Japan is a powerhouse in the top tier of Asian women’s soccer. At the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, they were the only team to lose to eventual champions Spain. South Korea, however, is also a formidable opponent, having finished as runners-up at last year’s Women’s Asian Cup.
Bell will be counting on the resurgence of midfielder Lee Min-ah (32-Hyundai Steel). After being sidelined with a ruptured cruciate ligament in December last year, Lee returned to the field nine months later to earn a spot in the Asian Games. “I will play with the same heart I had when I first started,” she said. Not only did Lee score the game-winning goal against Japan at the Jakarta-Palembang Games, but she also played in the Japanese WE League (Ainak Kobe 2018-2019), so she knows the country well.
If Lee Min-ah, who has excellent technique and a wide range of vision, can do her job, the national team’s offense will be revitalized. In particular, she is expected to work well with forward Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC Wimin), who was silent at the Women’s World Cup.
“After missing the World Cup (due to injury) and focusing on rehabilitation, I’m even more motivated for this tournament,” Lee emphasized.카지노사이트
After impressing at the Women’s World Cup, Chun Garam (Hwacheon KSPO) is also aiming for gold with her first A-match goal at the tournament. “The goal is definitely gold,” she said, “and I personally want to play in all three group stage games to increase my attacking points.”