Why are we the only ones refusing to admit that Japan’s soccer is stronger than Korea’s? 

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Right after the match against Brazil in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, I interviewed Huh Jung-moo, coach of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Unfortunately, we didn’t advance to the quarterfinals, but since we showed enough potential, we wanted to hear what more was needed for Korean soccer to develop further. As you know, he reached the round of 16 of his first visiting World Cup 12 years ago.

Coach Heo told us many stories, such as the prospect discovery system and the establishment of soccer infrastructure. But the thing that surprised me the most when I heard it was that Japanese soccer is now stronger than us, although it hurts my pride and I hate to mention it. Those who are interested in football officials or football are already familiar with the story.

But I think there are more people like me who don’t know about it. Although we lost in the match against Japan and Korea, we mostly cited the lack of performance that day, such as lack of tactics and injuries to players, but I didn’t see many cases where the level of football was pointed out. It’s not easy to talk about the level of our emotional breakdown between Korea and Japan. Which coaches and players can say, “It was a game that clearly showed the difference in level against Japan.”

But the reality was much worse than I thought. It is said that the middle and high school Korea-Japan match has already been lost for decades. Coach Huh said that Japan has thousands of high school teams alone. So I looked it up and found that there were 3962 teams registered in the All Japan High School Football Federation last year. According to the Korea Football Association data, we were 190 teams. Is it because high school soccer teams are compulsory in Japan?

It is said that when we focus only on the win and loss of the Korea-Japan match, Japan has already made long-term plans to fill in the missing parts and raise the low parts. As a result, the player base is thick, and the national team’s performance is very stable, so there are no big ups and downs. Former national team player Lee Young-pyo said in a broadcast, “We have to get out of the illusion that Korean football is stronger than Japan. Other countries know that Japan is stronger.” That was 2013.

I’m not trying to learn Japanese soccer. Would there be a separate Japanese soccer? It must have been the result of my growth as I tried to learn world football and improve myself. While Japan is trying to catch up with world football with a long-term perspective, we should think about whether we have been buried in the short-term win-lose between Korea and Japan. Shouldn’t a true victory come as a result of a heightened level of football?

The ball is round, so maybe we can beat Brazil by chance. But what does such a one-off victory mean? While preparing for an interview, I came across an article that former coaches who participated in the World Cup gave advice to Coach Huh ahead of the World Cup in South Africa. Coach Bum-Keun Cha, who was the head coach of the 1998 World Cup in France, said this. He said, “With the World Cup three months left, I paid more attention to the victory in Korea and Japan than to analyze the Dutch field force.”

The same goes for the national team’s build-up soccer this time, but it takes a lot of training and time to implement the coach’s idea of ​​soccer on the ground. Until you get used to it, you might end up losing to an underdog team. However, if the match is played in the way we were used to in the past because we are afraid of losing the match between Korea and Japan right in front of our eyes, will the advanced soccer that the coach is trying to realize settle down properly? 안전놀이터

In March of last year, after Bento’s national team lost 0-3 in a friendly match against Japan, which also served as an evaluation match, the criticism of public opinion intensified, and finally, Chung Mong-gyu, head of the Korea Football Association, apologized to the public. Coach Hiddink was also ridiculed as ‘Oh Dae-young’ when he lost 0-5 in a warm-up match against France and the Czech Republic ahead of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. I’m new to football, but paradoxically, I think that difference in score is meaningful. It is said that if coach Bentuna Hiddink was obsessed with winning and losing regardless of preparation for the World Cup, there might not have been such a large score difference even if they lost. The important thing is the World Cup, not the evaluation matches that take place in the process.

Previously, it was said that the middle and high school Korea-Japan match had already been lost for decades. If things go on like this, in the future we may only see the proud Taegeuk warriors always losing in Korea-Japan matches. Maybe we don’t realize it, or we don’t even acknowledge it, and we already do. Just thinking about it is terrifying.

I’m also Korean, so I don’t want to say that Japan is better than us. However, if you don’t want to watch the always losing match between Korea and Japan, and if you don’t want to watch Japan advancing to the quarterfinals and semifinals of the World Cup someday, you must learn how Japan improved. To do so, you must first acknowledge your opponent’s skills, and you need a long-term plan with a long breath. Is the Korea Football Association fully fulfilling its role?

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