Those who may be following our special coverage for FIFA would easily know our personal bias for fellow East Asian teams JAPAN and SOUTH KOREA. And it is very exciting to see them both advancing to the ROUND OF 16 – Japan topping a group for the first time in World Cup history after beating two powerhouse teams Germany and Spain, while Korea finished second in their group after that big win against Portugal.
Both teams didn’t have it easy. Japan had a win-loss card before entering the 3rd round. Korea had a draw-loss card and have to win against a mighty team in the 3rd round. In the end, both Japan and Korea surprised everyone by winning against top-seeded teams and securing their spots for the knock-out round.
It is a great season for AFC (Asian Football Confederation) which is the governing body of Asian football, including Oceania. For the first time in World Cup history, three AFC member countries advanced to the round of 16: Japan, Korea Republic, and Australia (who also finished 2nd in Group D along with defending champion, France).
Eight out of the 16 qualified teams are from UEFA – Europe (Netherlands, France, Poland, England, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland. There are two teams who qualified both from CONMEBOL – South America (Argentina and Brazil), and CAF– Africa (Senegal and Morocco). The USA is the only team who qualified from CONCACAF – North & Central America.
Here are the complete GROUP STAGE results:
THE GROUP STAGE IS COMPLETE and we now have the top 2 teams competing in the Round of 16 or knockout rounds where every match is single elimination from here on out.
There are no points earned. There are no standings. There’s simply a winner and a loser.
In case a knockout match is tied after 90 minutes of regulation, the match goes into a 30-minute period of extra time.
If the deadlock persists after those 30 minutes of extra time, then a penalty shootout will determine the team that moves on to the quarterfinals.
The Round of 16 pairings is set in advance. Teams that finish in first place in the group stage match up against teams that are runners-up in their respective groups.
The winners for each knockout game will advance to the Quarter Finals on Dec 9 and 10.
Will JAPAN finally get their ambition of “reaching the last eight”?
Will KOREA REPUBLIC be able to repeat the historic 2002 record of reaching the semi-finals?
December 5 is THE BIG DAY for both these teams, and were all praying for them to do well and make their fans and country proud.