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Japan beats South Korea to set up Asian Cup final clash with Australia

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that will put a bit of lead in the Japanese pencil after Panasonic, Sony et al have been taking a bashing from the Keoreans on the tech world of late. The TV news has something to rave about all day now.

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I am so happy.

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Two fantastic matches of football last night, I am feeling very worse for wear having sat up until 5.30am watching.

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Any major sporting event should never be decided by a penalty shootout or the like. Congrats to the Japanese team though!

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hell yes. hell yes. Just one more match Japan, you can do it. w00t

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Good game.

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Nagatomo then lifted his shot high, but Hong Jeong-ho then drilled his shot wide and Konno secured Japan’s victory.

I have no idea what happened here. Very badly written.

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Well done, Japan beat South Korea, even though South Korea outran Japanese team in second half. Penalty shootout is the game that Japanese team lost in the 2020 World Cup. However, Kawashima stooped two penalties in penalty shoot. I'm proud of you guys.

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Well, hats off to Japan. PKO is a crappy way to win/lose a game, but that's the way it's been for some time and the way it will be for some time yet. Korea blew it on the PKO, bottom line, and Japan deserved it. As to the actual game beFORE the PKO, I think Korea had the better opportunities. Japan did a wicked job of putting the ball in front of the box and nearly scoring, but the ball play by SKorea was pretty amazing at times (and they too had some WICKED chances with headers and what not, barely missing).

Anyway, great game. Should have been the final. Never bothered to watch the Aus/Uzbek game because it seemed like a no-brainer to me. Could be wrong, though.

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Nice game! How did Uzbek get to the semis?? Final should be entertaining.

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Not sure why you think this game should have been the final. Australia were one of the favourites to reach the final, so at the end of the day, the two best teams in Asia will battle for the title. Australia may just have the edge, as they had the easier of the two semis & may be more rested - but who knows. Should be a cracker.

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Smith, I totally agree wit you on the penalty shoot-outs. But saying that Korea had the best chances goes a bit too far. Yes, they had SOME chances with headers but never that threatening as the chances Japan had. Actually I thought that it was KOREA instead of Japan doing a wicked job to put the ball into the box. But Japan defended well for a change. Although I almost got a heart attack every time the ball came close to Iwamasa. The penalties in regular time were a bit of a disgrace. The one for Korea was disputable. The one for Japan was absolutely NOT a penalty. Overall, Japan had the best of the field play and outclassed the Koreans on penalties. But Zac......why did you let Nagatomo take a penalty!!!???

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Sounds like a meaningless tournament. How can you celebrate when you know you haven't beaten the best soccer nations in the worlds, especially the United States.

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the best soccer nations in the worlds, especially the United States.

LOL

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Cleo, I hear you!!

The United States, ranked lower than Ghana, Chili and Egypt, a top football nation in the world? Hilarious!!!

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yehey !!! i think japan will win the asian cup !!!

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@roomtemperature

I think ninjastar was joking there.

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@roomtemperature I think ninjastar was joking there.

I hope so.

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Now comes the game weve been looking forward to. Its about time the big boys got to play each other.

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T. Honda shouldn't even be allowed on the bench for the final. His only contribution in the five final minutes he was on the pitch was to make a late tackle from behind and give the Koreans the penalty they converted into the equalizer. The match would have been 1-0 Japan without overtime had Zaccheroni not subbed him in.

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I thought semi-finals were supposed to be boring affairs... Credit to both teams for putting on such an entertaining match, and would everyone agree the Asian Cup's been more entertaining than the World Cup last year, despite (or maybe because of) the obvious quality difference?

Zach-Japan have really built on the world cup performances, and now look a very good all-round team. Is this the best Japan team of all time? I think it would be hard to argue against.

There's really very little between Japan, Korea and Australia so I'd expect another tight match in the final. Let's hope it's another cracker.

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This game had me at the edge from kickoff. Korea sported the deadly long pass threat and Japan had the sweet pass-goal. Hard to say who played better as both teams had plenty of good chances. I expected Korea to play more aggressively. Most obscenities that came from my mouth were directed at Japan's missed headers and Kagawa's finesse-tracked play. Kagawa was the King in PKO. Had to listen to the game in Japanese.

Japan will have to watch out for the Aussie boy's Kancho-style of play in the final.

Thanks for the giving us positive results in the most exciting game of the 2011 Asian Cup, Japan. Good luck on Saturday!

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Kawashima was the KING in PKO. Sorry big slip.

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Watched both games, super happy the 'Roos delivered a 6-0 present on Aussie Day! It's Asia's best 2 teams going toe-to-toe again - and there is a nice little rivalry that has built up over the years - especially after Timmy put Japan to the sword back in the Germany World Cup!

Very tough to call for the final. We have the defence (only conceded 1 goal in the tournament); Japan has young, inventive playmakers who are always dangerous around the box. Let's all just hope the refereeing is better than the amateur stuff dished up by these Asian Confed. refs thus far. We should have imported some Euro. guys to do the job.

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Great win over a class opponent. Japan played with a lot of finesse (too much at times). Outran in the 2nd half, but that PK end was great. Will be nice to take it to the Aussies, but I fear they'll be on a rampage through Hakuba and Niseko regardless. Ugh.

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It's good that Australia have joined the Asian group. Australia, Japan and South Korea are all pretty evenly matched and they should be able to push each other forward in skill. I think the Aussies will be fired up for the final, as I think it would be their biggest tournament win if they pull it off, so Japan will really need to be on their game. Should be a great match.

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No one has mentioned the fact Japan received a penalty that wasn't. How a ref can award a penalty for a fould committed outside the box, I'll never know. I think donkusai is right - Aus/Jap/S Korea are pretty even as shown in the results. They are light years ahead of the other Asian teams, it has to be said.

As for the Aussies in Niseko/Hakuba - big shout out on Aussie Day guys - Aussie Aussie Aussie! Give 'em hell in the bars!

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No one has mentioned the fact Japan received a penalty that wasn't.

I did!!

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ok roomtemp! Let's all hope it doesnt happen again in the Final!

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South Korea uses too many highballs... and Japan uses good game... I would love to see North Korea vs Japan, that would be a nice game and cleaner.

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The United States, ranked lower than Ghana, Chili and Egypt, a top football nation in the world? Hilarious!!!

Not nearly as hilarious as your spelling. It's "Chile", just so you know

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burakumin, couldn't agree more. Please, no more undeserved penalty kicks.

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"The Socceroos..."

I can't think of a better name for the Aussie soccer team"

"...embarrassed Uzbekistan 6-0"

That's embarrassing, all right.

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bicultural burakumin, couldn't agree more. Please, no more undeserved penalty kicks.

It was a poor call by the referee, but these things happen, and will continue happening.

I was expecting S.Korea to beat Japan in the PK shootout after they got the equaliser, but you could see they all totally choked. Credit to the Japanese players for picking themselves up and putting their PKs away (apart from Nagatomo), but the hero is definitely Kawashima. 2 very nice saves.

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I'd better comment on more important issues. The final. It's gonna be close. Australia just beat Uzbekistan 6-0. Japan just beat SK. Two boosts. Still I put my money on Australia.

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IMHO, the ref made a blunder in both penalties awarded, so I think it was fair for both sides in the end.

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Wow! What a game, worthy of being the final. Unfortunately, the ref once again tried steal the limelight. Korea's penalty? Well, I've seen them given - but not very often. As for Japan's penalty, quite obviously it wasn't a penalty. But then Yoshida's sending off against Qatar was harsh, so it evens it itself out along the way.

Honda showed the mental strength to step up and take the first penalty after missing in extra time. And I'll never understand why defenders take penalties!! Why let them do it when you have attacking players,whose job it is to regularly put the ball in the back of the net, standing around.

Anyway, I thought Endo was sensational last night. Doing the simple stuff extremely well, tracking back, rarely giving the ball away. Superb. Honda (missed penalty apart) showed why he is the main man. His range of passing, his deft flicks, his strength on the ball all showed the way. He was generally half a second ahead of the Koreans in most things he did.

As for the final - Difficult one to call. I'd lean ever so slightly towards Australia, only because I think this could be one of the last chances for their recognized stars like Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer etc. They are getting on a bit (in footballing terms) so they will be desperate to win some silverware for their country. But hopefully it lives up to the billing of a continental final!!

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I would normally agree with the anti-PKO crowd but after 2 hours of play without either team taking the advantage it was great to leave it up to the men in goal to settle it and Kawashima was the better keeper and he really put is training and courage to the test.

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Some of the best penalty takers have been defenders and some have been attackers. It's a totally different skill to beat a goalkeeper from 12 yards from a dead ball than it is to score during open play. And there's been more than one centre forward who has refused to take a penalty during a shoot out.

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tooheysnew: "Not sure why you think this game should have been the final. Australia were one of the favourites to reach the final, so at the end of the day, the two best teams in Asia will battle for the title."

I'm not undermining Australia at all -- in fact I like the Aussies a lot of they give Asia a very interesting dynamic in an otherwise pretty boring group (Japan/Korea aside). The reason I say it should have been the final is because of the rivalry involved. Let's face it, said rivalry is just not there yet with the Aussies. Maybe this will help, though. Again, though, it wasn't a slant on Australia. I have my doubts the viewership will reach what it did for the Korea/Japan game.

roomtemperature: "Smith, I totally agree wit you on the penalty shoot-outs. But saying that Korea had the best chances goes a bit too far."

I didn't actually say they had the best chances, I said they had better chances. To elaborate, I meant that a number of their shots -- especially the headers by SeoYeong -- came EXTREMELY close to going in. As for who did the better job of putting the ball into the box... well, I guess both did a better job at different points. What I meant by my original comment is that the Korean team did a better job of leading up to the box while on a number of occasions Japan made a relatively long kick and suddenly the ball was up there. South Korea has some serious problems with this, and you saw it in the WC when they were slaughtered (by Germany?). It's like they're half asleep until a striker is within a few meters of the net! Japan's first goal was TOTALLY like this.

"Yes, they had SOME chances with headers but never that threatening as the chances Japan had. Actually I thought that it was KOREA instead of Japan doing a wicked job to put the ball into the box."

How can you lead with the first sentence and back it up with the second? Anyway, I disagree... I felt it was MUCH more intense when Korea was moving the ball towards the net or corner kicking. With Japan, while still tense, I was pretty sure Honda would flub it up and kick wide (as he did a number of times, though he had one good header that the Korean goal keeper stopped).

"But Japan defended well for a change."

No arguments there. I knew that if talent was going to come out, it would be against their biggest rivals.

"The penalties in regular time were a bit of a disgrace."

In that, then, they were equal.

"The one for Korea was disputable. The one for Japan was absolutely NOT a penalty."

Unclear what you mean here, sorry. The penalty kick the Korean team got was not a penalty, or the one Japan got? The ref was equally strict on both teams (save for the yellow card against Korea's captain, which was bogus), so in the end it doesn't matter much.

"Overall, Japan had the best of the field play and outclassed the Koreans on penalties."

In the PKO, I agree one hundred percent. In regular play, I disagree. The Korean penalty kick was a clean, very beautiful shot. Honda's PK was blocked but fortunately another player swooped in for the rebound. How is that outclassing the Koreans? As for field play, I disagree that Japan outclassed Korea. For the first ten minutes of each half Japan did a much better job than their Korean counter-parts, but at the 13 minute mark of the first half and 10 minute mark of the second Korea gathered its wits and began doing some amazing foot work. I will grant you that Japan did a lot better than I expected in terms of passing.

As for Ninjastar's comments... I wonder if he's joking or not... It's more likely a case of trolling than anything.

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this match has got to be one of the best matches that i've ever seen. i'm so proud of my boys!!! JAPAN FOR THE WIN!!!

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I'm Swiss, my wife is Japanese and I love Australia ... looking forward to watch the final while eating cheese fondue and mochi and drink japanese (1st half) and australien beer (2nd half) ;) ... of course both teams didn't show a very good semi-final game, but i'm glad my favorite ones are in the final ... go blue's, go socceros ...

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The semi-final was amazing and everyone deserves praise, Japanese and Korean for a brilliant game (Kawashima . The only person I fault ion that game was the ref who was atrocious and called many things wrong IMO.

The final will be interesting. Japan have to be exhausted after their games against Qatar and South Korea. The aussies will alo be a lotmore physical. Will desperation play a part for the aussie players (menioned earlier by someone given their age). Don't think so. The Koreans like Park Ji Sung and Cha Du Ri would equally have seen this as their last chance for the Asian Cup. For the japanese players, they would be hungry given that this would have been the first opportunity to win the tournament for many of them. The last time Japan won was with Zico in 2004.

Go Blue Samurai!

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Sorry i also meant to say kawashima definetely deserved more praise for those saves.

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The whole tournament has been extremely valuable for Japan.In nearly every game they've had to drag themselves back from the brink of defeat to guts out wins and in future more significant competitions than this such experience under fire will get them home where in the past they've whimpered off.So,if the socceroos match develops into an arm wrestle you know Japan certainly wont die wondering.

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Except for the few minutes in the first half, I thought South Korea played much better than Japan, as the game went deeper. Don't forget, South Korea, had only two days of rest, after a grueling game against Iran that went into 30 minute extra over time. South Korea's Japan match was the second over time game in three days. This showed up in this game, as Korean players looked very tired and their passes weren't as crisp and accurate as they were in the Iran game. The fact that South Koreans were able to match and surpass Japan's physical condition despite far less rest, is testament to their abilities to bounce back from adversity. It was a good game all around.

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South Korea > Australia, their match ended in a draw but SK was the better team without a doubt. The only treat Australia can cause to Japan is long balls. They have some really tall players we will have to watch out.

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South K vs Aust. - "...better team without a doubt"???

The neutral commentators(British) I listened to all said Aust should have been at least 2 goals up at half time. Very slopppyyy finishing by Aust saved SK for sure.

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Australia looked like the underdog in comparison during the game and their attitude was that they considered themselves the underdog.

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South Korea > Australia, their match ended in a draw but SK was the better team without a doubt.

Carsuke did not watch the game, by the way - and knows very little about soccer.

The only treat Australia can cause to Japan is long balls.

Talk your team and nation up all you want. We have only conceded 1 GOAL in the whole tournament. Your boys : 6.

Let the Banter begin...

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Carsuke did not watch the game, by the way - and knows very little about soccer.

I watched the game, don't be bitter. The equalizer came from a corner, Australia is strong on set pieces. But in fact, South Korea dominated the game.

Talk your team and nation up all you want. We have only conceded 1 GOAL in the whole tournament. Your boys : 6. Hmmm ... This has nothing to do with the fact that the most important threat coming from you is long balls. You have several tall players, you're just using your strength, nothing against that, period.

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Korea is the much better team.

They had to play asia-pacific football powers Australia and Iran. As well as Bahrain whos in the top 100 fifa rankings and India. Korea was only given 2 days of rest after playing those nations despite playing 30 minutes longer then japan.

Japan beat Qatar, Syria, Saudia Arabia and Jordon to get to the semi finals. All mid-east nations who quite frankly do not have much of a football tradition. Not a single one of those countries are ranked within the top 100. Japan was also given 4 days of rest.

Korea was playing on empty and would have won if they were given a little more rest or if Japan wasn't given that bogus penalty kick. Korea is usually good at the penalty kick shoot outs, but the veterans were too tired/injured to shoot. The Korean team instead sent 3 inexperienced children(ages 21, 21, 24).

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The three Japanese players who were used in the penalty shootouts- Honda, Okazaki and Nagatomo were all veterans of the 2010 fifa worldcup.

The three Korean players who were used in the penalty shootouts- Koo, Lee and Hong. None of them could make the Korean national team for the world cup.

Like I said earlier, Japan got lucky in every single department.

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People still debating this I see. The simple fact of the matter is Japan is a better team. The way they played in the first half would have made any soccer fan proud. The Koreans showed a lot of guts though and finished the game stronger, but I suspect Japan's Italian coach ordered his team to be more cautious and sit back, and it paid off in the end. Japan have been on the end of some ridiculous refereeing decisions in this tournament and have found an answer to all of them. That shows their character, this current Japan team is impressive and will continue to develop and be a major player in Brazil 2014 I suspect. Japanese football has come a long way in 20 years!

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Winning by getting lucky in PK is SO EXCITING!! NOT!!

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Carsuke, sorry I sounded flippant with that reply before...but try and watch that Aus-Korea replay if you can. Aus squandered 2-3 chances that game, I reckon they clearly shaded the Koreans. Cha Do-ri (defender) was awesome however. Japan-Korea game was even money IMO. The Koreans dominated in patches as did the Japanese. I'm disappointed ot went to the PK lottery - never a nice way to end a great game.

Zac seems like a genius - way better than Okada. Zac seems to know the Japanese style. South Korea also need a European coach like Aus and Japan - I'm just not convinced Asian coaches have the knowledge/ability at this level.

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Who would have thought? Korean "supporters" lining up with excuse after excuse:

Had to play Australia & Iran Too tired "veterans" were too tired to take a penalty Japan got lucky

Face facts. Japan are in the final. Korea have a 3rd place play-off with Uzbekistan to look forward to. Japan won because they are mentally strong - they have had to deal with setbacks all the way through this tournament (Yoshida's red card, Korea's injury time equalizer, bad refereeing against Jordan) and yet they have come through it all to reach the final.

No-one is disputing that Korea aren't a good team, they have some very good youngsters like Koo Ja Cheol and Ki-Sung Yeung (apologies if the spellings are wrong) but the current Japanese crop of players are better, and will continue to get better while plying their trade in Europe's big leagues. Kagawa will improve, Honda will improve, Okazaki will improve, Hosogai will improve. Allied that to a technically adept coach like Zak - and you have reasons to be optimistic if you are a Japan supporter.

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Like I said earlier, Japan got lucky in every single department.

Ha ha ha, sure they did. When was the last time s korea won the Asian Cup? That's right, over 50 years ago.

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Rockbuster- those "excuses" are legitimate. Japan didn't beat a fully prepped and rested Korean team. If you believe otherwise, then please write a counter argument.

The fact is Japan qualified for the semis by beating 4 Arab countries, none of whom are ranked within the top 100. Japan struggled to beat 2 of those countries and tied one of them. Korea on the other hand had to face two of asia's top teams Australia and Iran. As well as India and Bahrain who is within the top 100. Japan was given 4 days of rest while Korea was only give 2.

The Korean players were so injured and tired that they had to use reserve C-class players who couldn't even make the 2010 world cup team for their penalty shots. Japan used world cup veterans for all their penalty shots.

Not to mention that Japan was given a free penalty kick after a referee error.

Ha ha ha, sure they did. When was the last time s korea won the Asian Cup? That's right, over 50 years ago.

When was the last time Japan beat Korea?

5 years ago. Yeah, I thought so.

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OK, I'll bite.

Firstly, in the record books it doesn't say "Japan 2-2 not fully prepped and rested Korea (3-0 on pens).

And Korea used C-class players? Not Japan's problem. That just shows the lack of depth in Korean football at the minute. And if you want to get into specifics then Korea played Australia, Iran & Japan and didn't manage to beat any of them in 90 mins. Still think Korea are strong?

As for being not rested, these are professional athletes, so what if they played 120 mins against Iran 2 days previously? Yeah, they were "so injured and tired" that they managed an extra time last minute equalizer. In the penalty shoot out, Korea bottled it. Plain and simple. Nothing to do with technique, just mentally not strong enough.

Erm, do you need anything else?

As the old saying goes "you can only beat what is put in front of you." Japan have done that, Korea haven't. Hence Japan have a final to look forward to, while Korea can get their players "fully rested & prepped" for the 3rd place play off with Uzbekistan.

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Firstly, in the record books it doesn't say "Japan 2-2 not fully prepped and rested Korea (3-0 on pens).

What exactly is your point? It might not say that but facts are facts.

Do you honestly believe Australia,Iran,Bahrain,India and 2 days rest is easier then Syria,Qatar,Jordon,Saudi Arabia with 4 days rest? None of the teams Japan faced were in the top 100. 3 of the teams Korea faced were in the top 100. Australia and Iran for instance are amongst the best teams in Asia.

Japan had it easy and faced a tired and injured Korea. Remember a few months ago when, Japans world cup team fought and lost 2-0 and 3-1 against Korea? Whats different this time was what Korea had to go through before facing Japan.

And Korea used C-class players? Not Japan's problem. That just shows the lack of depth in Korean football at the minute. And if you want to get into specifics then Korea played Australia, Iran & Japan and didn't manage to beat any of them in 90 mins. Still think Korea are strong?

Japan would have faced the same shortage of top players if they had to play Australia, Iran, Bahrain and India followed by Korea with only 2 days of rest. In fact, Japan probably would not have advanced. They couldn't even beat Jordon and barely beat Qatar. Although I must admit that Korea rarely takes the AFC seriously. Its more of a test run for the younger Korean players but thats besides the point.

The Korean team is far more talented. Japanese players are more likely to enter the Euro leagues but then again, those Japanese players are nothing more then bench warmers who were brought over just to access the Japanese market.

And if you want to get into specifics then Korea played Australia, Iran & Japan and didn't manage to beat any of them in 90 mins. Still think Korea are strong?

Korea tied Australia although we had greater higher ball domination. Korea beat Iran. Japan got lucky with that referee error which gave Japan a free penalty kick/point. Even then, Japan could only manage a 2-2 tie with Korea. Speaking of ties.

Didn't Japan tie Jordon a few days ago? The same Jordon who lost 2-1 against Uzbekistan? The same Uzbekistan who lost 6-0 to Australia? The same Australia who tied a fully rested South Korea? With Korea having higher ball possession?

Remember how Japan barely beat Qatar 2-3 even though Qatar not in the top 100? The last time Japan faced Korea when both teams rested, it ended disastrously for Japan- 2:0.

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As for being not rested, these are professional athletes, so what if they played 120 mins against Iran 2 days previously? Yeah, they were "so injured and tired" that they managed an extra time last minute equalizer. In the penalty shoot out, Korea bottled it. Plain and simple. Nothing to do with technique, just mentally not strong enough.

The Korean veterans were injured and tired. They said so themselves. You could see it in their performance. And the coach obviously knew about it. Thats why he sent a bunch of C-class youngsters for the penalty shots rather then the veterans.

Japan sent world cup veterans Honda, Okazaki and Nagatomo.

The Korean coach sent Koo, Lee and Hong. None of those three Korean players were good enough to make the 2010 Korean national team for the world cup a few months earlier.

The Korean coach did not deliberately do this to lose. He knew how tired and injured his top players were. Facts are facts.

As the old saying goes "you can only beat what is put in front of you." Japan have done that, Korea haven't. Hence Japan have a final to look forward to, while Korea can get their players fully rested and prepped for the 3rd place play off with Uzbekistan.

That would make perfect sense if Japan faced the exact same teams that Korea did and also received the same amount of rest. But that is obviously not the case.

-Australia,Iran,Bahrain,India > 4 teams who cant make the top 100

-4 days of rest after facing Qatar who doesnt even rank within the top 100 > 2 days of rest after playing asian soccer power Iran.

Not to mention that horrible referee call which essentially gave Japan a free point.

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vg866, during last year's world cup you said Cameroon and Denmark are below average. But at least they are ranked higher than your Korea! Maybe they don't get tired that easily?

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vg866, my what an imagination you have. You sound like the Japanese Olympic committee. Excuse, excuse, excuse. Korea lost. Get over it.

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Russia, Norway and Egypt are also apparently football powers according to the rankings.

A country could face nothing but sub-par competition to rack up points and obtain a high Fifa ranking yet fail to qualify for the world cup when its time to face real competition.

That being said, I have no idea what this has to do with anything.

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vg866, my what an imagination you have. You sound like the Japanese Olympic committee. Excuse, excuse, excuse. Korea lost. Get over it.

Your right, Korea lost.

But it wasnt because Japan was the "better" team. It was the luckier team.

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vg866 - Is it Japan's fault that Korea decided to send those three players to take the penalties? Why didn't Park step up and go for it? He was there in line with the rest of the team.

Koo, Lee and Hong are very solid young players. You keep saying that they weren't good enough to be on the 2010 World Cup squad, but neither was Kagawa for Japan, and he's one of the central players for Japan now.

Injuries suck and they're a part of the sport, but everybody deals with them. Japan's staple at the World Cup was Honda and their defending. Japan is missing their top two central backs in Nakazawa and Tulio, plus their next choices Kurihara and Makino. So you're basically getting Japan's "C-class" defenders.

Korea is a fantastic team, and I don't see them making excuses, so why are you?

On another note, there's big news about Ki Sung-young because he made mocking monkey faces after his PK in the first half, and it looks like FIFA might step in because of their hard stance on racism.

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Kreza23

Im not blaming Japan for winning. On the contrary. Japan did what it had to do to win. Im not blaming the Korean coach either. Im not blaming anyone. Im only stating the simple fact that Japan got lucky(easier competition, more rest, referee error, opposing side injured etc).

Koo, Lee and Hong are very solid young players. You keep saying that they weren't good enough to be on the 2010 World Cup squad, but neither was Kagawa for Japan, and he's one of the central players for Japan now.

They are not very solid players yet. They are young and relatively untested. 2 of them are still essentially "toddlers". Kagawa did not even participate in the penalty kicks. It was Honda, Okazaki and Nagatomo who did. And they were all WC veterans.

Injuries suck and they're a part of the sport, but everybody deals with them. Japan's staple at the World Cup was Honda and their defending. Japan is missing their top two central backs in Nakazawa and Tulio, plus their next choices Kurihara and Makino. So you're basically getting Japan's "C-class" defenders.

A few months ago, Japans full equipped world cup squad faced Korea's squad and lost 2-0. Everyone wanted the Japanese coaches head after the loss.

What really irks me is how the Japanese commentators here actually believe Japan is a better team due to its victory 2 days ago. They conveniently ignore the opposition they had to face and the amount of rest both teams were given.

Japan might not have been at full strength for this match but Korea was far worse. Korea never sends its full squad to the AFC, its usually nothing more then a testing ground for the younger Korean players.

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But it wasnt because Japan was the "better" team. It was the luckier team.

Japan was lucky to get a penalty. All your other excuses about tiredness, injuries, veterans, youngsters, resting time...etc. are total BS. Korea lost because Japan WAS the better team. On the pitch, on the bench, by coaching and by preparing. Let's face it, vg866. How can a 22-year old pro football player be too tired to take a penalty?

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Japan was lucky to get a penalty. All your other excuses about tiredness, injuries, veterans, youngsters, resting time...etc. are total BS. Korea lost because Japan WAS the better team. On the pitch, on the bench, by coaching and by preparing. Let's face it, vg866. How can a 22-year old pro football player be too tired to take a penalty?

Your argument doesnt make any sense. You state that Japan got lucky because of that penalty and that Japan was the better team that day.

If that penalty never occurred, the score would have been 2-1 in Koreas favor. Korea would have won the match. Which basically means Korea was the better team. Heres a link to the controversial penalty kick that gave Japan an extra point. Make sure you link it to youtube.

watch?v=lzXsdaB_Ctw

Pretty much anyone with eyes can see that Japan was given an undeserved penalty kick/point. The western commentators and slow motion camera also confirm it was a bad call/undeserved point.

Congratulations Japan, I hope you're happy with your referee assisted victory.

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With nothing to separate these 2 teams - Japan and South Korea - it really comes down party to Managerial ability. One team had a blustering, trash-talking manager. The other team had a hugely experienced Italian who has done it all before. It is no secret that the 2 finalists - Australia and Japan - both have incredibly talented and experienced European managers (Osieck and Zac). European managers, not Asian-confed. ones, are the way forward.

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The Korean veterans were tired, you say. Well, the Japanese veterans weren't! Yes, I'm happy with the Korea assisted victory.

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The penalty kick starts at 4:50 for the video I linked.

I wonder how the Japanese media handled this horrible call? Did the media mention it was a bad call or did they completely ignore it and assume it never happened followed by a billion re-runs of Hosogai scoring?

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The Korean veterans were tired, you say. Well, the Japanese veterans weren't! Yes, I'm happy with the Korea assisted victory.

Way to completely ignore everything I just said. You mention that Japan got lucky with that penalty kick.

The penalty kick was a bad call. A very very bad call. And it wasn't even one of those ambiguous referee decisions where both sides had an argument in favor of each other.

Pretty much anyone, Japanese included who saw it would admit to it being a horrible call. And yet the ref awarded Japan a free and undeserved penalty kick. Which allowed Japan to tie Korea 2-2.

If the blatantly bad call never happened, Korea would have won 2-1.

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Actually, vg866. They re-run ALL the goals!!!

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vg866. That PK didn't bring Japan next to Korea. In stead Japan took the lead.

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Did the re-run the entire incident in slow motion? Or did they edit out the bad call and only showed Honda+Hosogai scoring?

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Even without slow motion it was clear that this was NOT a penalty.

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Question was the ref that gave the penalty japanese?

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Just that silly excuse about the Korean team being tired. Absolutely no excuse!! Then be better prepared!!!

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Well then, debate settled.

It wasn't a penalty. Therefore Japan did not deserve its free penalty kick and point. The match should have ended 2-1.

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vg866, you think too much in black or white!

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This is my last one at you vg866

Although I must admit that Korea rarely takes the AFC seriously. Its more of a test run for the younger Korean players but thats besides the point.

Yes, all those talented youngsters like Ji Sung Park, Cha Du Ri, Lee Young Pyo. Sure.

What exactly is your point? It might not say that but facts are facts.

No, facts go in the record books where it will say Japan beat Korea on penalties. The rest is inference & speculation.

Japan would have faced the same shortage of top players

Japan were without Maya Yoshida & Daisuke Matsui against Korea. It is just Japan, at this moment, have greater depth than Korea.

The Korean team is far more talented. Japanese players are more likely to enter the Euro leagues but then again, those Japanese players are nothing more then bench warmers who were brought over just to access the Japanese market.

Nonsense. Shinji Kagawa has propelled Borussia Dortmund to the top of the Bundesliga. You know, the Bundesliga, where Cha Du Ri struggled to get a game at Freiburg. Keisuke Honda played for CSKA Moscow in the champions league. Korea only have 1 genuine European class player - Ji Sung Park. (and by European class I mean good enough to play at one of Europe's top tier clubs). Makoto Hasebe has won the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg so the Japanese players are making an impact in Europe. In the past I would have agredd that some Japanese players were signed for their commercial assets, but that isn't the case anymore.

Remember a few months ago when, Japans world cup team fought and lost 2-0 and 3-1 against Korea? Whats different this time was what Korea had to go through before facing Japan.

No, what is different this time is that it was meaningful, tournament football, not pre-world cup friendlies.

Didn't Japan tie Jordon a few days ago? The same Jordon who lost 2-1 against Uzbekistan? The same Uzbekistan who lost 6-0 to Australia? The same Australia who tied a fully rested South Korea? With Korea having higher ball possession?

Fail again. If you go by that logic, then Switzerland beat Spain, and Spain went on to be world champions. Does that mean Switzerland are the best team in the world? If you take it further, Switzerland were beaten by Luxembourg in WC qualifying. Maybe Luxembourg are the best team in the world?

The last time Japan faced Korea when both teams rested, it ended disastrously for Japan- 2:0.

Comfort yourself with that thought when you watch the final. And then think about why Korea didn't beat the Aussies - even though you claim Korea had higher ball possession stats.

Cheerio - and enjoy the final. By the way, I reckon Korea will easily beat Uzbekistan ;-)

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The western commentators and slow motion camera also confirm it was a bad call/undeserved point.

Uh ... vg866 I was watching the game on the Internet (Veetle) and the British commentators said that although it was an iffy penalty, as was a couple of yellow cards against the Japanese, the officials did an overall good job of calling the game correctly. IMO, yes, that penalty could have gone either way, but so too was some other fouls and yellow cards in the game (e.g. the yellow given to the Japanese player who I forgot whose name it was, who was given a yellow for holding his ground and the South Korean who simply ran into him. Since when does a player get a yellow for holding his defensive ground?). In any case, both teams played well equally and thus the 2-2 score proved it. If the game was completely called fairly, the score would probably still end up being a draw with the way both teams played and with the number of calls going against each team.

Japan created more chances and shots on goal, but couldn't convert most of them. South Korea created fewer chances, but made the most of what it created. 2-2 is pretty much what you get for such an effort.

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I watched this game and I have to say that I thought the ref was totally against Japan for much of the first half. I couldn't believe my eyes with some of those early calls and genuinely wondered whether he harbored some kind of ill feeling towards Japan. Things began to balance out later on. SK played well, so no disgrace to them.

I have to agree with Hotbox. If all the wrong calls were righted, the result would probably be the same.

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the best of luck to honda and company from the philippines !!!

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I like the Final. It's a bit of a dream final, actually, with the good wife in blue, and myself in Gold. Australia really wants this trophy because they are talking about the 'golden generation' of Australian football (Schwarts, Kewell, Cahill, Neill, Emerton, Culina) achieving something significant before they become too long in the tooth (very close). They will really fancy themselves against Japan, because this current crop has had quite a lot of success against the Samurai Blue. Australia have blooded some good youngsters in the tournament as well. Australia 2-1.

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vg866,

You think that the game should have finished 2-1 to Korea because Japan shouldn't have been awarded a penalty. I think that we can all agree that it shouldn't have been a penalty. However in order for the game to have finished 2-1 as you think it was then instead of the penalty the game would have had to restart at 1-1 from the centre spot. Then the exact same passage of play from the Japanese goal to the Korean equaliser could have occurred.

However football isn't played like that is it? From that moment, the entire game changes. It's not 2-1 to Korea it's 1-1 and instead of a penalty Japan should have got a free kick. Which they may or may not have scored.

Or do you honestly think that at 1-1, with the game approaching penalties that Korea would have thrown everyone forward in desperation in order to get a last minute winner?

Korea has everyright to be disappointed at the award of the penalty (though I thought the Korean penalty was dubious) but to claim that Korea should have won the game 2-1 is ludicrous.

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the United States, ranked lower Egypt...

Umm, Egypt are a top 10 ranked team and current African champions. Nothing to be sneezed at.

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Rockbuster

Since you claim this is your last post and that you dont plan on debating me any further, I see no point in doing so either. It would be a waste of time for both of us. Have a good day.

Hotbox08 and Heda_Madness

The officials did not do a good job. They basically granted Japan an extra point. Without that miscalled penatly, Japan would have been at a severe disadvantage. The match ended in a draw 2-2. Without the referee decision, Japan would have never scored that extra point and Korea would probably be preparing for Australia right now.

Korea dominated the ball during the second half. They had far greater ball possession. They also managed to score during the later part of the match. Japan could not do the same and was constantly on the defensive during the second half. All evidence points toward the aggressor- Korea being the more likely canidiate to score after that miscalled penalty.

Im well aware that this is a huge what if scenario but come on. The penalty was clearly the worst decision in the entire tournament and was what allowed Japan to tie Korea. I think everyone agrees that the penalty/extra point awarded to Japan gave Japan a huge and unfair advantage over Korea. Its not cheating(unless the ref was payed which he probably wasnt) but its effects jsut as damaging and disadvantageous to the Korean team.

Does anyone have a video/text on Japanese commentary on the penalty? What did the Japanese announcers have to say about the referees decision? Did they admit that it was a bad or call or completely ignored it?

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I don't really know why you guys are bothering to argue this. Refereeing decisions are usually controversial, but until FIFA decides to implement a review system (which they won't for anything other than goal line decisions) it is a part of footballing life. The Korea/Japan game was a very good game played by two very evenly matched teams with very little to distinguish between them. But Japan did a hell of a job in getting through their match against Qatar - with a very soft penalty awarded against them, and if you look at that last goal they scored, the Qatari defense fouled about 4 players quite badly - including a clear penalty that wasn't called, before they scored the winner. Have a look at the replay if you need reminding. Unfortunately, football teams are subjected to subjective decision making by the referee at the time. All football teams. And Korea will have had MANY decisions like that go in their favour in the past, so they have nothing to really complain about here.

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The officials awarded Japan a penalty instead of a free kick. At 1-1 Japan were at no more disadvantage than Korea were and it's simply impossible to suggest what would happen next. Or to put it into simple terms it was just as likely that Japan would have gone on to win the game as Korea. A bit like a penalty shoot out really.

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Good point, Tamarama. I totally agree. There may have been a few bad calls in this game, but from the live feeds of the game that I saw, the commentators on Fox Sports said that the officials called a pretty fair game overall. In all fairness, Japan and Korea both did well and played a mostly entertaining game; thus the 2-2 score at the end. Korea in my mind did not do enough to merit a win.

Even if Japan was not awarded the penalty, Korea would've continued to play the way they were playing and not have the deperateness to clinch the second goal, and thus it would've ended in a 1-1 tie and they would've had to go to a penalty shootout anyway. The onus was on Korea to nail those shots. I mean, didn't they feel the momentum after that 2nd goal? Shouldn't the Japanese have felt disappointed and dejected after having given up the lead? I guess not.

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Same here tamarama.C'mon Aussie!Should be a great tussle.

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I think we can all agree that the referee error gave Japan an unfair advantage over Korea. The match could have ended in a draw but all evidence points to Korea being the more likely candidate of the two nations to score another goal.

Korea dominated the ball during the second half of the game. They were the aggressors and the ones who were going for the goal. They did after all manage to score another goal after Japan was given that mistaken penalty kick.

Lets be honest here, the poor referee decision helped Japan big time. A free extra and clearly undeserved point most certainly helped Japan and disadvantaged Korea.

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They were the aggressors and the ones who were going for the goal

Uh, maybe that's because they were down a goal and HAD to score, you know, a do or die situation. Anyway, if it were a free kick then Endo would have scored anyway, so quit your whining. You're starting to sound pathetic.

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They were the aggressors and the ones who were going for the goal

Uh, maybe that's because they were down a goal and HAD to score, you know, a do or die situation. Anyway, if it were a free kick then Endo would have scored anyway, so quit your whining. You're starting to sound pathetic. Yeah, you're not really showing your knowledge of football to be of world class standard. In fact it's so poor I think I'll award a penalty against you.

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I seriously doubt you guys even saw the match.

That ref assisted penalty kick occurred during the 97th minute mark. Long long after the 2nd half began. Korea dominated the 2nd from start to finish and even managed to score another point during the later portions of the match.

The only reason why Japan in the 97th min mark was because they had the worst referee decision of the entire tournament assisting them. Its just hilarious how in denial you are about this little fact.

You act as if it didn't help Japan one bit and that Japans victory was legitimate. Complete denial. If roles were reversed and it was Korea that was given a free point, would you claim that it was legitimate and that it didn't help Korea in the least?

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vg866; " free point" What!!! in football, no!!!! No points.

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What?

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Hmm, no-one is discussing the final of the Cup?

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Too bad the korean guy making "MONKY FACE" had more attention than the final result of the cup over the internet.

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Zenny, I thought Australia were wasteful and tried to rely too much on Cahill's aerial prowess - long ball footy, I'm sure most will agree, isn't the prettiest. I like Japan's patient passing approach - some nice interchanges between Nagatomo, Endo, Honda, although Okazaki and Maeda looked well covered, save for one or two moments. Not unhappy with the result, even though I am Australian.

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Tamaram,I have to respectfully disagree.Wasteful,yes, but not the longball nuts we have seen in recent years (Pim style)..I actually thought Australia played a nice passing game and showed composure (no aggro) and clever football.If Josh had played we may have won but we probably would then have really seen Lucas Neill hoofing longballs up the paddock at him ad nauseum.I do agree that there is no shame in losing to a brilliant goal in regularly play against good opposition.

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North Korea deseverd a better possition though :( I can't understand why that hatred between you guys (especially South Korean people towards Japan)... that's sad, eh? Peace.

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If you followed the history between the two countries, you would understand why the Koreans have strong displeasure towards the Japanese. That being said it is somewhat excusable or understandable for a Korean to be abhorrent. Though in modern day reality, both these countries need one another to survive. S. Koreans look at the Japanese as rivals and vice versa. They both strive to be the best in asia if not the world and it is the competitiveness between the two nations that brings out the best in them. But at the end of the day, this rivalry is what brings the two nations closer to each other. Just like the Yankees and the Redsox, metaphorically speaking.

One cannot strive without the other.

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