Four of the 32 participating nations are from Asia in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. And the continent is looking to gain more recognition on the international football stage. The Asian Football Confederation is fighting for more placed for Asian teams in future World Cup's, so our Asian representatives need to get as far as possible. First of all an Asian side needs to qualify for the pre-quarterfinals, which the Australians achieved last time around.
South Korea have been one of the strongest performing sides in the first round. And this has to be one of the positive surprises of the World Cup so far. The Koreans fluid 2-0 win against Greece was convincing and if the Koreans can maintain their game then they could be a real surprise. But they next face Argentina, which would show in what direction the tournament could take for them.
Japan beat Cameroon in an unconvincing game, but earned their first ever opening match win. Coach Okada had said before the tournament that he wants to reach the semifinals, but that is surely not a realistic goal. Surviving the group stage would be a great achievement for the men in blue.
Australia were a big disappointment. Losing 0-4 against Germany is something which can happen, but the way it happened the other night was unacceptable. The Germans just ran over the Aussies, who didn't seem to realise what hit them. One would at least have expected them to give the Germans a fight, but the team looked old and the longer the match lasted also tired.
North Korea, the surprise qualifier from Asia, gave a good account of themselves in their opening match against Brazil. The Asian minnows held the record world champions goalless for 55 minutes and wasn't it for a fluke goal from Maicon maybe even more would have been possible. Surely the Brazilians were the better and stronger side, but the North Koreans were resilient and looked to be fighting for their lives. And in the end they scored a consolation goal, which will surely boast their moral ahead of the tough assignments against Portugal and Ivory Coast.
Asia has left a first mark now the teams need to ensure it becomes more. Asian football needs it...