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 By John Duerden
2 days ago

Japan's veterans find harmony to sound Asian Cup warning

Midfielder Shinji Kagawa played a vital role in Japan's impressive second half against Australia in Osaka.

After indifferent performances with experimental teams, Japan boss Javier Aguirre decided to get the band back together last Tuesday. A lineup that wouldn't have been out of place at the 2011 Asian Cup final against Australia saw the Samurai Blue again singing from the same songbook and hitting those familiar notes in the second half of a friendly against the same opposition in Osaka. At the end of a 2-1 win, the fact that everything seemed so much better with the old guard in place was a source...

 By John Duerden
Nov 8, 2014

Time for Park Chu-young to start scoring goals for South Korea

Park Chu-young was anonymous at the 2014 World Cup and omitted from for the third group game, and South Korea exited in the group stages.

Every club and country has players who divide opinion. Yet when it comes to South Korea, Park Chu-young does not so much divide as cleave in two. The biggest lightsaber imaginable pushes the two camps to opposite ends of the galaxy. The striker with an IQ of 150-plus has become a genius for finding controversy more than finding the net.

The 29-year-old has never been out of the headlines but now is back on the national team, and the media have gone into overdrive. On Nov. 3, he was recalled by...

 By John Duerden
Oct 19, 2014

South Korea, Australia and Japan have Asian Cup questions to answer

Japan head coach Javier Aguirre has one eye on the Asia Cup as they prepare for their international friendly against Brazil.

The Asian Cup is less than three months away, but some of the favourites for that tournament are very much in transitional stages. Too much can be read into results and performances, but as time to kickoff ticks down, some of their concerns need to be addressed.

Those issues have more weight on the heels of a World Cup that for Asia was, well, terrible. That tournament will loom large in the collective continental consciousness for years to come. Costa Rica collected more points than the three...

 By John Duerden
Oct 8, 2014

New South Korea manager Uli Stielike begins rebuilding process

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson weigh in on South Korea's new identity under Korea looks for new life under Uli Stielike.

It's taken almost four months but the future of South Korea starts Friday in the city of Chonan, an hour south of Seoul, as Uli Stielike takes charge of his first game of the national team against Paraguay before matching up against Costa Rica four days later.

The German is lucky. For the first time in a good while, there is something of a feel-good factor in Korean football. The World Cup, and its solitary point and myriad issues, is going to take time to forget, but there are at least other things...

Sep 23, 2014

Qatar World Cup speculation provides a lot of smoke, but no fire yet

Ever since Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup, hope has remained in some quarters that the tournament would ultimately be taken away from the tiny Middle Eastern country. Allegations of corruption have generated plenty of smoke, as have the appalling working conditions inside the country. Yet there hasn't been any fire, at least by FIFA's narrow definition.

The accumulation of fuel continues, however. The latest addition to the possible pyrotechnics came this week when FIFA Executive...

 By John Duerden
Jul 9, 2014

Hong Myung-bo resigns after poor WC

After intense scrutiny following South Korea's exit from the World Cup, Hong Myung-bo announced his resignation on Thursday.

It has been a painful few weeks for South Korean football. First, the Taeguk Warriors collect just one point at the World Cup, and then they return home and it really starts to go wrong.

It all led to this: On Thursday morning, less than two weeks after the team exited Group H with a defeat to Belgium, coach Hong Myung-bo resigned in Seoul.

The man who delivered bronze at the 2012 Olympics, offered to resign as soon as the team's tournament ended but his employers at the KFA refused to accept it....