South Korea’s crushing 2-0 victory over defending World Cup champions Germany has shocked football fans worldwide.
For those watching the action from Asia, Korea’s unprecedented dismantling of the European powerhouse fuels the continent’s collective hope of dominating the center stage of the planet’s most popular sport.
Pride of Asia
The decisive match in Group F of the 2018 World Cup, defending champions Germany needed to score in order to reserve a slot in the knockout stages of the tournament, after struggling in their first matches in the grouping.
Already eliminated from contention, South Korea chose to give Germany hell in the crucial match. Neither team managed to score in the first 90 minutes.
Things took a turn when Korean Younggwon Kim’s point-blank shot in the 93rd minute originally called off for being offside was awarded by the Video Assistant Referee technology employed by FIFA in this year’s tournament.
Three minutes later, Korean star Son Heungmin put the final nail in the coffin by scoring an open-net goal. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had been playing in the midfield to help the offense, leaving his goalpost unmanned.
Filipinos following the action have also been stunned by the upset. Vocalist Rico Blanco, a fan of the German team, was among those disappointed by the defending champions’ performance.
— bestfriend korics (@ricoblanco) June 27, 2018
Meanwhile, other fans from Asia have renewed clamor to represent the region following Korea’s surprise victory.
— Naoki(Im Riffraff) (@irijakljako) June 28, 2018
Cheers have come even from Japan, Korea’s traditional rivals in international football.
South Korea finished fourth in the 2002 World Cup, where it shared hosting duties with Japan. Their fourth place finish is also the highest placing any Asian squad has attained in the history of the tournament.
Asian teams are considered the perennial underdogs in international football, which is dominated by European and South American teams.
The 2018 World Cup features four other teams from the Asian Football Confederation aside from South Korea: Australia, Iran, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.
The Japanese squad received praise as the first Asian team to beat a South American team in the history of the World Cup, after a 2-1 victory over perennial contenders Colombia.
Now the last man standing for Asia, a win or a draw in the final battle in Group H with Poland will give them a slot in the knockout stages of the tournament.
They can still advance even if they lose to Poland, should Senegal beat Columbia in the other closing match of Group H.