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South Korea's Son sinks Uzbeks in QF

AFC Asian Cup
 By John Duerden

For China and North Korea, the East Asian Cup can be a confidence builder

China are the hosts for the East Asian Cup and are seeking their their third title.

The East Asian Cup is an unusual tournament.

The trophy itself doesn't really matter; few fans would be able to describe what it looks like much less name the nations to have lifted it since it came into existence in 2003 (China and South Korea have won it twice and Japan have one win).

Yet, lose the three games against close, in all senses of the word, rivals and coaches may find that their positions are not as secure as they think. And if you asked fans in South Korea, Japan, China and North Korea...

 By John Duerden

Martin Rennie's South Korean mission with second tier Seoul E-Land

Former MLS boss Martin Rennie took charge of Korean second tier side Seoul E-Land last year and is dreaming big.

Seoul 1988. Members of the international media were enjoying a few beers around the US military base in the Korean capital when word started to spread of a huge story. Calls were made, mouths were dropped and copies were written as one of the biggest scandals in Olympic history came to light.

27 years later the biggest sports story coming out of the huge stadium on the south bank of the mighty Han River is not a steroid-taking Ben Johnson but Martin Rennie and Seoul E-Land FC.

The Scot is building...

 By John Duerden

Teenager Seung-woo builds bridge between Korea and Barcelona

Seventeen-year-old South Korean Lee Seung-woo looks set to be promoted to Barca B, the path many legends, including Lionel Messi, have taken before making the first team. Photo credit: Lee Seung-woo

Just five years ago South Korea fell out with Barcelona in a big way when the arrival of the Catalan giants provoked a furious reaction on a sultry summer's night.

The perceived attitude, the lack of interest in the country and a prematch media conference from Pep Guardiola -- one that would have been seen as frosty had it come the night before a title-deciding Clasico instead of what was supposed to be a brand-building, fan-attracting exercise -- all left something of bad taste in the mouth.


 By John Duerden

How 'Korean Gerrard' became Swansea star and Liverpool target Ki

Swansea fans will be glad to see Ki Sung-yeung back in action.
It would not be a surprise if South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yeung is chosen Swansea City's player of the EPL season.

There was once a time when the South Korean media referred to Ki Sung-yeung as 'The Korean Gerrard' or 'Kirrard' -- a comparison once welcomed by the player himself. No longer though -- the 26 year-old deserves more than to be called the Korean version of anything.

He is simply Ki, a cultured talent who has been one of the stars of the English Premier League this season and is currently the best Asian midfielder.

Fans of the more advanced and offensive Omar Abdulrahman would have something to say...

 By John Duerden

Japan, Iran, Qatar keep Asian flag flying after Australia's heroics

A new-look Japan took the field on Friday night in Valid Halilhodzic's first game in charge, yet it was the old guard who came off the bench in Oita to secure a 2-0 win over Tunisia. It was a solid result and a satisfactory performance.

The Bosnian, who led Algeria to the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup, had promised to shake up a team that has looked in need of exactly that over the past few months. There were only two survivors from the 11 that started the last game, the quarterfinal of the 2015...

 By John Duerden

South Korea's Park Chu-young needs to find his Seoul back home

In four years, South Korean striker Park Chu-young made one Premier League appearance for Arsenal.

One headline in the Seoul media summed it up: "The striker with three goals in two years to return."

Park Chu-young has signed for FC Seoul again.

Back in 2005, he was the biggest story in South Korean football, a 19-year-old nicknamed "The Football Genius." Now, despite the lack of goals, he is still the biggest story, but everything else has changed. At 29, he has more to prove than ever to fans around the world, in his homeland and perhaps even to himself.

Where to start with the story of Park?