The South Korean men’s soccer team thrashed Kuwait 9-0 in their first match of the Hangzhou Asian Games.
It sent a chill down the spines of Asian nations.
Not only Kuwait, but also Indonesia and arch-rivals Japan, whom they could face if they advance in the tournament, reacted to the South Korean victory with mixed reactions, especially to the country’s military service benefits.
Kuwait’s local media outlet, the Arab Times, published an article titled “Kuwait suffers shocking nine-goal defeat to South Korea” on March 19 (local time). “Kuwait’s Asian Games team suffered a shocking defeat to South Korea in their first Group E soccer match in Hangzhou, China,” the article said, adding that the match “ended with an unbelievable nine-goal victory for South Korea.
“Kuwait’s defeat is historic,” the Arab Times said of the match, noting that “after a history of participating in many Gulf Cups and continental competitions, this was a big step backwards.”
“The Kuwaiti players tried to stay focused against the formidable South Koreans, but most of them looked demoralized,” the outlet said, adding that coach Emilio Peise failed to devise an effective strategy.
Indonesian soccer fans were wary of the news, saying they should avoid South Korea.
“If we make a mistake, we’ll be facing the favorites right after the group stage,” said one Indonesian fan, while another argued that “we need to top the group just to avoid facing Korea.” That’s because South Korea is the favorite to top the group.
We already know that if South Korea wins, their players will be exempt from military service. Indonesian fans commented, “Korea is doing their best because they are exempt from military service,” “If they didn’t have military service, they wouldn’t play so hard,” and “If they win, they will be exempt from military service, so we should never meet Korea.”
However, some fans expressed confidence, with Indonesian fans saying, “We have to play all the teams to win the championship anyway,” “Everyone shouldn’t be too scared, we have to play Korea to go high,” and “It’s pointless to avoid them.”
Japan was also interested in the Korean athletes’ military service benefits. One Japanese commenter said, “Korea has a different mentality. They are the only team in this tournament with the best members because they are exempt from military service,” while others commented, “They can’t help it because they are on a military service exemption booster,” “Korea has a different attitude,” and “Their motivation is completely different.”
Praise for the Korean team was also prominent, with some Japanese fans saying, “It was a game that showed the difference in levels,” “It was great,” and “The Kuwaiti players played really hard, but there was a difference in strength between them and the Korean players, who also play in Europe.”메이저놀이터
Reuters in the U.K. also reported on South Korea’s big win. “South Korea, seeking a third straight Asian Games men’s soccer title, got off to a perfect start with a 9-0 thrashing of Kuwait,” Reuters wrote, noting that “Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) is due to arrive from France this week, giving coach Hwang Sun-hong more attacking options in the tournament.”
After a convincing win in their first match, the South Korean national team will play their second group game against Thailand at 8:30 p.m. today (Nov. 21) at the Jinhua Sports Center Stadium in Zhejiang, China. The 21-team tournament is divided into six groups, with the 12 best-placed teams from each group and the four best-performing teams from each group advancing to the round of 16.