“Captain” Son Heung-min and “Coach” Cha Du-ri’s different dream…Asian Cup ‘4th of 3’ wins

The 2023 Asian Cup is very special for Son Heung-min (32), the captain of the Korean men’s soccer team, and Cha Du-ri (44), the coach of the Korean men’s soccer team. This is because the team is already taking on a challenge for the top spot for the fourth time in the Asian Cup. This is the fourth time for the team to win the title.

As befits its nickname the “Tiger of Asia,” Korean soccer has tried several times to reaffirm its status as the leader of Asian soccer by winning the Asian Cup, one of the best national competitions in Asia, but failed to become the champion again after over 60 years. After winning the first and second Asian Cup titles in 1956 and 1960, Korean soccer never regained the top spot. It failed to pass the final threshold by ranking second place (1972, 1980, 1988, and 2015) and third place (1964, 2000, 2007, and 2011) four times, respectively. The Asian Cup has long been a painful finger for Korean soccer. It is trying again to win the title for the first time in 64 years. 토토사이트 순위

For Son and Cha, the goal of winning the Asian Cup will be more painful. Since the Qatar event in 2011, Son has played in the Asian Cup four times in a row until this year’s event, which will take place in Qatar again 13 years later. His participation in the Asian Cup four times is the highest ever along with goalie Kim Yong-dae (2000, 2004, 2007 and 2011). Son has played 12 matches in the three previous championships. If he joins the matches in all matches from the group league to the quarterfinals and adds five more matches, he will be able to break the record of Lee Young-pyo, former vice chairman of the Korea Football Association, who played in the most matches (16 matches) in the history of Korean players.

Cha Du-ri played for the first time in the 2004 China tournament and was eliminated from the quarterfinals, before participating as a player three times until the 2011 Qatar and 2015 Australia tournaments. In a total of 15 matches, he tied for second with Lee Dong-gook and Lee Woon-jae for the most participation in the Asian Cup, and participated as a coach in this tournament. He personally observed the flow of world soccer as a technical member of the FIFA at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and after Jurgen Klinsmann took the helm of the Korean national soccer team early last year, he stood by him as an advisor but changed his role to coach in September last year to assist Klinsmann.

He recorded the oldest ever Asian Cup appearance (34 years and 190 days) by a Korean player in the final against Australia in the 2015 tournament, the last time he participated as a player. In particular, the Australian tournament was a retirement stage to end coach Cha Du-ri’s career as a national team player, but he failed to fulfill his dream of making the finale with the victory and lost 1-2 after extra-time, leaving a regret of being runner-up. This is why the desire for the “fourth of three games” to win the tournament as a coach is even greater.

Son first participated in the Asian Cup as the youngest member of the Korean national team at the 2011 Qatar event led by coach Cho Kwang-rae (current CEO of Daegu FC), and played as a substitute member, backing veteran players such as Cha Du-ri, Park Ji-sung, Lee Young-pyo, Koo Ja-cheol, Ki Sung-yong, and Lee Chung-yong. In the third group match against India, Son replaced Ki Sung-yueng at halftime and scored his A-match debut goal. It was the youngest Korean player to score at an Asian Cup (18 years and 194 days). Choi Soon-ho (18 years and 249 days) at a match against Malaysia at the 1980 Kuwaiti Games, and Cha Bum-keun (18 years and 353 days) at a match against Thailand at the 1972 Thailand Games.

After failing to secure a 2-2 tie with Japan in the semifinal, Korea lost 0-3 on penalties. In the match to decide the third place, Korea defeated Uzbekistan 3-2 thanks to Gu Ja-cheol’s first goal and Ji Dong-won’s multiple goals. At the time, Cha Du-ri was the starting goalie.

At the 2015 Australian competition under Coach Ulrich Stielike, Son took the lead in Korea’s offense by leaping from the starting lineup. Cha Du-ri, who is on the retirement stage, is still serving as the best player for the national team. Korea beat Oman, Kuwait, and Australia 1-0 to complete the group stage with all three wins, and then beat Uzbekistan 2-0 thanks to Son’s multiple goalscoring in overtime in the quarterfinals. Cha Du-ri also had the record of being the oldest assist in the Asian Cup by running 70 meters and helping Son score a decisive goal.

The Korean team then tied Lee Jung-hyup and Kim Young-kwon’s goal in the semi-final against Iraq to secure a 2-0 win, and met the host Australia again in the final. Son scored a dramatic equalizer in the extra time in the second half of the final when his team was losing 0-1 to prolong the game. However, he conceded a goal through 15 minutes in the first half of extra time, and lost 1-2, eventually staying in second place. After the match, Son shed tears of regret for some time.

At the 2019 UAE competition under Coach Paulo Bento, Korean soccer team beat the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in the group stage, and beat China 2-0 to win all three games. Although the team struggled to win 2-1 thanks to Kim Jin-su’s extra-time winning goal after struggling to reach overtime in the round of 16, it lost 0-1 in the quarterfinals against Qatar, forcing it to pack up without continuing its record of reaching the semi-finals for three consecutive tournaments. Son Heung-min had to watch his team lose after failing to find a goal. Qatar even won its first championship of the tournament.

For Son, who is thirsty for a championship, this could be his last Asian Cup performance. Born in 1992, Son will be in his mid-30s or older at the next Saudi Arabian competition in 2027. He is now at an age when he cannot be sure about selecting a member of the national team. “We cannot predict the future. This is why I desperately want to win the title at this year’s Asian Cup.

Most of all, the Korean national soccer team that participated in this year’s event is comprised of the strongest ever players, including Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), Kim Ji-soo (Brentford, England Premier League), Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain, France League 1), Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), Lee Jae-sung (Mainz), and Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart, Germany, Bundesliga). He is closer to winning the championship than ever before.

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