DOHA: In the Asian Cup, Jordan will create history on Tuesday when they take on Son Heung-min’s South Korea; in the other semi-final, hosts and defending champion Qatar will play Iran. In theory, South Korea should defeat Jordan, who are the bottom-seeded team still in the competition and making their first appearance in the final four.
Nevertheless, Jordan defeated South Korea 2-2 in the group stage. Yazan Al-Arab’s deflection of Hwang In-beom’s shot into his own net in injury time allowed Jurgen Klinsmann’s team to salvage a point. Jordan, led by their esteemed Moroccan coach Hussein Ammouta, defeated Tajikistan in the quarterfinals after defeating Iraq in the round of sixteen with two late goals.
That advanced Jordan, who qualified for their first Asian Cup semi-final in 2004 and are currently ranked 87th in FIFA, to the final. Defender Abdallah Nasib, whose header in the second half rebounded off Tajikistan defender Vahdat Hanonov for the game’s lone goal, told AFP, “Our eyes are now on the trophy.”
The accomplishments of the Jordanian team demonstrate that nothing is insurmountable. Jordan is the only semifinalist who has never taken home the Asian Cup trophy. South Korea, their opponent, has won the trophy twice, but that was in 1960, and they are under a lot of domestic pressure to break that unbeaten streak.
They haven’t persuaded me. They were defeated by Saudi Arabia in the round of 16 on penalties after being held by Jordan and Malaysia in the group stage. However, they required some magic from Son to defeat Australia in extra time. In addition to the durability of captain and Spurs player Son, Klinsmann’s team has also depended on a number of late goals to survive in Qatar.
The German Klinsmann is disliked by the South Korean media, who have dubbed it “zombie football.” Son claims that the team’s tenacity is demonstrated by their ability to consistently come back from behind in games. Due to suspension, Kim Min-jae of Bayern Munich, a pillar of the Korean defense, will not play.
Iran is almost done with its fourth crown.
Iran and Qatar, the winners of the 2019 championship, will square off in the second semifinal on Wednesday. The only teams to win all three of their group matches were Iran and the eliminated Iraqis. Iran advanced on penalties against Syria and defeated Japan 2-1 in the round of eight.
Thanks to Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s stoppage-time penalty that gave Iran the victory over the pre-tournament favorites on Saturday, Iran is now aiming for its fourth consecutive Asian title and first since 1976.
Prolific striker Mehdi Taremi, who was suspended for the Japan match, will be welcomed back. In the aftermath of the victory over Japan, coach Amir Ghalenoei declared, “This match can be a turning point for Iranian football.”
“For the entire football setup, not just the senior national team, but also the U23s and U19s.” Qatar easily won the group stage, defeating Palestine before defeating Uzbekistan on penalties following a 1-1 quarterfinal match that lasted 120 minutes.
2019 saw Qatar win the Asian Cup for the first time, and they entered the match riding a winning streak of 11 games. With three saves in the penalty shootout, Meshaal Barsham emerged as the hero for the home team. He stated, “Since the beginning, our goal has been defending the title, but we’re not thinking about that now.” Match by match, that is. We are connected because of the pleasant mood within the team. Like a family, we are. -AFP