All But Australia Do Asia Proud In World Cup

Cape Town: Asian teams have done the continent proud in their opening games of the World Cup with the exception of disappointing Australia, who were tipped by many to be the region's best chance of
all but australia do asia proud in world cup -...
PTI June 17, 2010 9:45 IST
Cape Town: Asian teams have done the continent proud in their opening games of the World Cup with the exception of disappointing Australia, who were tipped by many to be the region's best chance of success.

Hundreds of millions of people across Asia have witnessed gutsy performances from South Korea, Japan, North Korea and even Oceania qualifier New Zealand.

North Korea scored their first World Cup goal in 44 years, Japan posted their maiden World Cup victory on foreign soil and New Zealand picked up their first point ever.

But the Socceroos, who went further then any other Asian nation at the World Cup four years ago, let the side down, embarrassingly crushed 4-0 by Germany.

The most unexpected result came from Japan, who entered the tournament on the back of four straight defeats and with few punters expecting things to change.

But they scored a 1-0 upset victory over Cameroon that has revived their spirits and given them fresh belief they can emulate their march to the last 16 round at the 2002 World Cup.

“The victory has given us some room to breathe, mentally, before the remaining two games,” said former Arsenal midfielder Junichi Inamoto.

They face Holland next and coach Takeshi Okada is keen to maintain a perspective.

“In the next game we will be up against the Netherlands so we will have to go one step further,” he said.

“This was the first win on foreign soil in the World Cup for our team but this is not an achievement at all. What's coming next is the point.” South Korea, semi-finalists on home soil in 2002, also achieved a hard-fought victory, beating Greece 2-0.

They now play Diego Maradona's Argentina, which is likely to be a far tougher test.

“This is only the start. It's win number one but we have to continue to grow,” said coach Huh Jung-Moo.

“Argentina are one of the candidates for the title, they have a lot of good players, but I have told my players to remain confident."
 
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