Asian teams turn focus from Brazil to Asian Cup

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm •  Published: September 2, 2014
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Less than three months after Asia's teams earned just three points at the World Cup, Australia, Japan and South Korea are back in action and ready to put Brazil behind them as the countdown to the 2015 Asian Cup begins.

Much has changed since June — Australia is the only team with the same coach in charge. Japan has a new foreign tactician and South Korea is still seeking a new coach after Hong Myung-bo resigned in July.

Of the four nations that participated in Brazil, South Korea has endured the toughest time.

The Korea Football Association's senior members have resigned and talks with the Netherlands' 2010 World Cup coach Bert van Marwijk did not lead to an appointment.

With just four months until the Asian Cup kicks off in Australia, South Korea takes on Venezuela on Friday followed on Monday by Uruguay, which will be without suspended star striker Luis Suarez.

Former South Korea assistant coach Afshin Ghotbi, now in charge of Asian rival Iran, says South Korea needs good results.

""Korea had the quality and passion to perform better at the World Cup, and fans and media expect to see that," Ghotbi told Associated Press on Monday. "These two games are important to restore some good feeling in the national team and to identify players for the Asian Cup just around the corner."

The Korean public is normally fiercely supportive of the national team, but its standing among the people is the lowest in years. With just one win in the past eight matches, players know they must urgently improve.

"We are ready to show that we have recovered from the World Cup in which we were lacking," said Korea and Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yeung.

"There is no coach at the moment and that is a little awkward and it is true that the atmosphere around the team is unsettled but the players have to show what they can do on the field."

There was plenty of disappointment elsewhere after Brazil.

Japan held hopes of making the quarterfinals at the World Cup, but like Korea, it collected only one point. The Japan FA moved quickly to replace Italian Alberto Zaccheroni with Javier Aguirre, two-time coach of the Mexican national team.

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