Japan vs South Korea: fierce derby between rivals sparks more worry than excitement

Japan vs South Korea: fierce derby between rivals sparks more worry than excitement


Any sporting event between the two countries always has an added competitive advantage given the historic tensions between South Korea and Japan.

South Korean fans describe the clash as a historic rivalry, while Japanese national team coach Moriyasu Hajime also acknowledged that many people consider it a “special match,” according to the press release. JFA.

The last time the two met in an international friendly in 2011, Japan won 3-0 at home.

Since then, the rivals have met four times at the East Asian Football Federation championship, with South Korea winning two of those matches, Japan one the other match. no.

The South Korean national team are now in Yokohama, Japan for Thursday’s friendly match. However, some South Korean fans have called for the match to be canceled due to concerns about the safety of the team while traveling amid a global Covid-19 pandemic.

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Japan celebrate the 2011 Asian Cup final after beating South Korea 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out.

A frightening precedent concerns fans

When KFA announced the match on their Instagram feed earlier this month, comments poured in, criticizing the association’s decision to host the match.

“When we say don’t do it, please don’t,” one user commented.

Fans referred to last November when the South Korean national team traveled to Austria for friendlies, where seven players contracted coronavirus despite complying with Covid-19 regulations implemented to prevent the spread. .

Korean football fan Kim Tae-yeon said: “After the trip to Austria, K League clubs were strategically impacted as domestic players were unable to participate in the Asian Champions League (ACL) due to of Covid-19 infection. ”

Ulsan Hyundai FC was forced to compete in the 2020 ACL without his first-choice goalkeeper Jo Hyun-woo, the goalkeeper who shocked football fans at the 2018 Brazil World Cup with his superb performance, while he suffered psychologically from the after-effects of Covid-19 the Korean team still managed to win the title.

Kim said the precedent made him more nervous about the team’s trip to Japan. “The Covid-19 situation in Japan does not look good, and there are infected J League players as well.”

The Japan Football Association confirmed on March 22 that coach Toshihide Saito tested positive before teaming up with the rest of the squad, but the highly anticipated game will go as planned as there is no close contacts and additional infections within the team.
According to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Japan has recorded 458,621 cases of Covid-19 and 8,908 deaths from the coronavirus.
Jo Hyun-woo makes a save during the 2018 FIFA World Cup game against Sweden.

Rivalry welcomes 10,000 spectators

Sporting events have taken place behind closed doors or with limited capacity as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage.

But the JFA said it would sell additional tickets for a total of 10,000 tickets for Thursday’s derby match, following the Japanese government’s decision to lift the state of emergency for Covid-19 in the prefecture. from Kanagawa on March 22.

Korean football fan Cho Min-sang slammed JFA move

“I think leaving 10,000 spectators is a decision that ignores all the efforts in the world, because people are concerned about their safety and make an effort to enjoy the game at the stadium,” he said.

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Kim and Cho both compared spectator capacity to the K League, South Korea’s professional soccer league. The K League accommodates only 10% of the stadium capacity in the Seoul metropolitan area and 20% in the rest of the country, while away supporters are banned in order to minimize the risk of infection from traveling.

“I am concerned for the health of the players, spectators and premises,” Cho said.

The JFA asks spectators to comply with its guidelines and with prohibited acts on match day.

Fans must scan QR codes, physical distance, wear masks, check temperatures and wash their hands. Singing, physical contact with others, and the waving of flags or scarves are prohibited and, although eating and drinking is permitted, fans must immediately put on their masks.

South Korea recorded 428 new cases on Tuesday, while Japan reported 1,491 cases on Tuesday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Members of the  Japan national soccer team  train in Yokohama.

Petition

Despite some supporters’ skepticism about the game, South Korean national team manager Paulo Bento says it is “the only opportunity” to check on the team’s performance ahead of the second round of the FIFA Cup qualifiers. world in June.
However, in a petition to the residence of South Korean President Blue House, the petitioner called for the match to be stopped, saying: “It appears that Japan is trying to promote the fact that it can properly host the Olympics. by hosting the match. ”
Japan has faced a number of obstacles in hosting the Olympics with the current complications of Covid-19, the resignation of senior officials and the decision of the organizing committee not to allow international spectators.
The KFA medical committee presented the Covid-19 guidelines to be followed by its team during its trip to Japan.

Individuals were required to wear a mask and transparent face shield when traveling to Narita Airport on Monday.

The KFA also said players will need to take a test every morning to attend training, and those with the flu or unusual symptoms will be immediately quarantined. JFA protocol keeps teams in a bubble to avoid outside contact, according to its press release.
Korean players celebrate after beating Japan in the Korea-Japan bronze medal playoff match at the London 2012 Olympics.

Upon their return from Japan, 16 drafted K League players will be placed in cohort quarantine at the Paju National Football Center for seven days.

KFA said it has coordinated with the Korean government to allow K League players to play league games while restricting travel to their homes, team facilities and stadiums for seven additional days. The K League resumes on April 2.

Some Korean fans are also upset that 16 K League players traveling to Japan could be physically exhausted from the trip and quarantine.

“The K League has a tight schedule as the ACL and World Cup qualifiers have been postponed,” said Kim, a FC Seoul fan. “I am afraid that if a drafted player is infected it would be a huge loss for the club.”

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South Korean national football team players participate in a training session in Yokohama.

Fans, however, agree on the need to self-quarantine, as their concerns about the game are about the safety of the team as they seek the team’s victory in the rivalry.

“Since the team is already here [in Japan], I hope they win and come back safe and sound, ”one commented on KFA Instagram.

“I sincerely hope that no one will be injured or infected,” Cho said.



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