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The pride of the Japanese national soccer team, which was considered the strongest candidate to win the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, was greatly damaged. 1st place in the group has already been eliminated, and depending on the results of the final group match, there is a possibility that the team will fall to 3rd place in the group. Although the chances are not high in terms of objective strength, the opponent, Indonesia, appears confident.
Japan will clash with Indonesia in the final match of Group D of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup group stage held at Altumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar at 8:30 pm (Korean time) on the 24th. This is the final match of the group stage for second place in the group.
Japan, the only Asian team ranked in the top 10 by FIFA, was considered the strongest candidate for the title even before the tournament. However, in reality, rather than being confirmed early in the round of 16, the final match was played with the team on the verge of falling to third place in the group. Japan was pushed to the brink by a 1-2 comeback against Vietnam, but managed to win 4-2, but suffered a shock 1-2 loss in the second match against Iraq.
Japan and Indonesia, who are about to face each other, are tied with 3 points (1 win, 1 loss). In terms of goal difference, the rankings are divided, with Japan +1 and Indonesia -1. If there is a draw in this match, Japan will maintain second place in the group, but if Indonesia wins, the rankings will be reversed. Indonesia ranked 2nd in the group and advanced to the round of 16, while Japan fell to 3rd place and compared their performance with the 3rd place teams in other groups to determine whether to advance to the round of 16.
As the difference in the FIFA rankings, with Japan ranked 17th and Indonesia ranked 146th, indicates that this is a match with a very large objective power gap. While Japan is attempting to win its fifth title, Indonesia is a team that has never even advanced to a tournament in history. Opta, a soccer statistics media, sees a 90.2% chance of Japan overtaking Indonesia and maintaining second place. The probability of falling to third place is 9.8%.
However, there is a strange atmosphere ahead of the game. Although Japan's victory is likely based on objective military power, unexpected possibilities are not completely ruled out. Above all, Indonesia, led by ‘Fox’ coach Shin Tae-yong, has great confidence. Coach Shin Tae-yong is confident, saying, “I know Japan better than anyone else,” and the Indonesian media also seems to be looking forward to an upset with a 9.8% probability.
According to the Japanese media Football Channel, CNN Indonesia said, “Looking back at Japan’s two games so far, it shows that Japan’s power is not special. “The FIFA ranking is 17th, the highest in Asia, but that doesn’t mean Japan is the best team.” Looking back on Japan's past two games, where they once allowed a comeback against Vietnam and lost against Iraq, this means that they do not seem as strong as we thought.
Of course, if Japan quickly takes the lead by scoring the first goal early on, the gap could widen significantly, but if Indonesia's defense based on five backs holds up quite well, the possibility of another surprise cannot be ruled out. If Japan falls behind again, they will fall from a championship contender to third place in the group stage.
The result of Japan's match against Indonesia is bound to be a cause for concern for Korea as well. If Japan ends the group stage in 2nd place and Korea 1st in the group, the Korea-Japan match will take place in the round of 16. Conversely, if Japan falls to third place in the group, Australia and Japan will clash in the round of 16. Football Channel said, “Local media in Indonesia are confident that the Indonesian national team will win, saying ‘Japan is not the best team’. “Will the Indonesian national team cause the biggest surprise in this tournament?” he said.
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Wednesday, January 24, 2024