South Korea vs Philippines
Competition: AFC Asian Cup
Date: 7 January 2019
Kick-off: 14:30 CET
The biggest news regarding South Korea at the start of this Asian Cup edition is that they’ll have to make do without their biggest star, Son Heung-min, in the first two group matches. It’s no last-minute news, it was well-known for months now, as the Korean FA had made a deal with Tottenham; the player would be allowed to participate in the 2018 Asian Games (which they won, a huge relief for Son, who earned the right to avoid spending any time serving in Korea’s army), but he would miss the first two group matches in the Asian Cup. Portuguese Paulo Bento is their coach, has been since April 2018. Defeats to Sweden and Mexico in the World Cup finals disappointed the fans in the country, but that 2-0 triumph over Germany on the last day sort of paid them off, no matter if the team didn’t make it to the last 16. South Korea won the first two editions of the Asian Cup back in 1956 and 1960, but despite having reached the final, or at least the last four, on several occasions since then, they are still… stuck to two titles.
Remember Sven-Göran Eriksson? You’ll be seeing a lot of him if you watch the Philippines’ games in this Asian Cup. The Swede took over in October, with the Filipinos having in him one of the most experienced coaches in this tournament. They have players plying their trade in Germany, Denmark, Romania, Thailand, Malaysia, guys seen as… pioneers, with their presence abroad a proof that football in the Philippines is improving. This is their first ever appearance in a big tournament like this, a source of pride for Filipinos, no matter if football is not the most popular sport in the (basketball-C R A Z Y) country. Their presence in the tournament alone is a success for them. Dreaming of finishing in the top two feels rather unrealistic. A single point would be a very welcome bonus.
Previous five matches:
South Korea vs Saudi Arabia 0-0
Uzbekistan vs South Korea 0-4
Australia vs South Korea 1-1
South Korea vs Panama 2-2
South Korea vs Uruguay 2-1
Philippines vs Vietnam 2-4
Vietnam vs Philippines 2-1
Philippines vs Vietnam 1-2
Indonesia vs Philippines 0-0
Philippines vs Thailand 1-1
South Korea’s next game is on Friday, versus Kyrgyzstan. Same day, the Philippines will be facing China.
South Korea vs Philippines: Head to head Stats
South Korea and the Philippines have played against each other just once before, back in 1972; it was a friendly game held in Korea, a 1-1 draw.
South Korea vs Philippines: Prediction
No surprise South Korea are considered practically sure winners.
South Korea vs Philippines: Betting Tips
No Son, means that other players get their chance to shine offensively. “South Korea and over 3.5 goals” is my tip, at 2.20.