ASIAN AND AFRICAN TEAM IN WORLD CUP

The World Cup is the most anticipated and most watched games in world with nearly billions of viewer watching the competition. The competition that held in 4 years once had started from a humble beginning in 1930 without qualifying round to current 32 teams with more team from Asia and African team added. Although the winner of the World Cup is from South America and the European Nation team, the Asian and African team nonetheless had made some terrific impact in the competition. We will look on the Asian and African Team World Cup adventure starting from the very first 1930 World Cup in Uruguay and to see how they had become from an underestimated team to one of the best team.

In the 1930 World Cup that held in Uruguay they are no African and Asian team entered in the competition.

Thing will be different in 1934 World Cup that held in Italy as the Egypt and Indonesia under the name of Dutch East Indies participate. Indonesia participation marks the first and only time that South East Asia team had played in World Cup. Both team however does make any big impact as both is winless and lost their games. Indonesia had lost to eventual finalist Hungary 6-0 while Egypt also beaten by Hungary 4-2. Egyptian player Abdurrahman Fawzi become the first African player to score in the World Cup as he had scored twice against Hungary.

In 1938 World Cup in France, Egypt again applied to compete in World Cup but withdrew before the tournament had started. No Asian team meanwhile in this competition.

1950 World Cup in Brazil they will be no African team again that applied to participate. For Asian team meanwhile the Indian Football team had qualified automatically after Burma, Philippines and Indonesia had withdrawn however FIFA does not allow them to play with bare foot hence India also withdrew from tournament.

1954 World Cup in Switzerland again they will be no African team as Egypt as the sole representative had lost to Italy in 2 team group stages game. For Asian team South Korea had qualified for this World Cup but unable to gain a point and score any goal as they had been trashed by Hungary 9-0 and Turkey team 7-0.

1958 World Cup in Sweden was a different story for the African team and Asian team. Many of the team withdrew from the competition due to political reason with Israel nation hence again this World Cup does have any representative from both of this continent.

1962 World Cup in Chile a continental plays off was held between the European for the African and Asian team to qualify. South Korea had lost to Yugoslavia in UEFA/AFC playoff and Morocco had lost Spain in UEFA / CAF playoff hence they will no African and Asian team this time also.

1966 in England the protest that led by African football team due to only one team was allowed to participate as the continental had seen an increase in the independent African nation as many of them gained independence from their colonial rule. Due to this all the African team had withdrew and for 5 consecutive World Cup tournament they will be no African team representative. Thing will be different for the Asian team as the North Korea made an everlasting impact in the tournament. They had become the first team outside the Europe and South America to quality from the group stages to quarter final after upsetting the Italian team and sent them packing. In the quarter final against the more fancied Portugal team with Eusebio in it that beaten the defending champion Brazil 3-1 in the group stages they had stormed to 3-0 lead in just 22 minutes. However, Eusebio had scored 4 times and with Join Augusto added another one giving the Koreans a 5-3 lost but however their performance and effort still remembered until now and they had been given a hero welcome when they had reached their homeland in that year.

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North Korea team in the 1966 World Cup

In the 1970 World Cup in Brazil, after 5 consecutive tournaments an African team had qualified as FIFA had allocated only 1 spot to the Asian and African team this time. The African team that had earned the spot is Morocco. They were drawn in the group with West Germany, Peru and Bulgaria. They earned Africa first point in the World Cup with a draw against Bulgaria but does not progress further due to defeat against West Germany and Peru. For the Asian team Israel is carrying the flag but does not make any impact as they lost 2-0 to Uruguay, drew 1-1 with Sweden and 0-0 with Italy. This is the only time that Israel had qualified to World Cup and the last time they had played under AFC as they had moved to UEFA later and played under the European continent.

For 1974 World Cup that held in West Germany, no Asian team had qualified as South Korea had been beaten by Australia in the AFC / Oceania playoff that marks the first time an Oceania team had a representative in the World Cup. For African team however Zaire whom had qualified had gave one of the worst performance by an African team in the World Cup. They had been beaten by Scotland 2-0, 9-0 trashing by Yugoslavia the biggest win in the World Cup and beaten by Brazil by 4-0. They conceded 15 goal in just 3 games.

In 1978 World Cup in Argentina Tunisia as the African representative had restored the pride of the African football as they had earned the Africa team first win by beating Mexico 3-1 but failed to progress further as they been beaten by Poland 1-0 and drew with the defending champion West Germany 0-0. Iran as the Asian team representative however failed to make an impact as the reign Asian Football Champion were winless as they been beaten by Netherlands 3-0 , beaten by Peru 4-1 but managed to have a point as they had drew with Scotland 1-1.

1982 World Cup in Spain is the year that Africa football gained a sympathy and make their mark in world football. The had been given 2 slots with increase of the team to 24 teams. Cameroon and Algeria is the representative for the Africa continent. Cameroon that his makes the debut had been undefeated after they drew 0-0 with Peru and Poland team and drew 1-1 with Italy but does not progress further. For the other team Algeria, they had make an upset by beating the might West Germany team 2-1, lost 2-0 to Austria and surprising Chile with 3-2 win but still eliminated. The West Germany and Austria team knew that 1-0 or 2-0 win will be enough to both for to progress further in the final group stages games. In the games when the West German had scored the first goal in 5 minute both team making no effort to shoot and make a lacklustre effort for the games. This incident had led FIFA to make all the last group stage games played simultaneously onwards to avoid this kind incident happens again. For the Asian team Kuwait team does not make any impact as they as they drew with 1-1 with Czechoslovakia, lost 1-0 England and 4-1 to France. In the France games, Alain Giresse the France midfielder had scored the 4th goal. This had happened when a whistle blown from the crowd was mistaken for the whistle from the referee and Kuwait players had stopped playing. Furious with this the Kuwait Football Association President Sheikh Fahid Al- Ahmad Al – Sabah confronted the referee in the stand that led the referee to disallowed the France 4th goal. This is the only lasting memories that Kuwait have in this World Cup.

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Algeria team that had made the impact in the 1982 World Cup only to be eliminated in an worst circumstances

For the 1986 again in Mexico, Asian team does not have any win even though FIFA had allocated 2 places for them. Iraq had had made their first debut and also saw the return of South Korea and until today they had not missed the World Cup. Iraq lost all their games with 1-0 lost to Paraguay, 2-1 to Belgium and 1-0 to Mexico. South Korea also does not won the games as they had been beaten 3-1 by Argentina, drew 1-1 with Bulgaria and lost 3-2 to Italy. For African team thing will be different as for the first time an African team had progressed from group stages. The team is Morocco as they had shocked Poland and England with a goalless draw and defeated Portugal 3-1 but unable to progress further as they had been beaten by the West Germany team in second round. For the other Africa team Algeria, they are unable to make the impact as in the previous World Cup as they were eliminated in the first round with 1-1 draw with the Northern Ireland, losing 1-0 to Brazil and 3-0 to Spain.

For 1990 World Cup the Africa team had marked the progress by a terrific performance from the Cameroon team. With Roger Milla in the team, the Cameroon team had shocked the defending champion Argentina with 1-0 win and beating Romania 2-1 in the group stage and progressed to the second round. In the second round Cameroon had defeated Colombia 2-1 with Roger Milla disposing Rene Higuita the Colombian goalkeeper in the middle of field to score the decisive second goal. With this win they had become the first African team to progress to quarter final. In the quarter final with England they are leading the English team 2-1 and with 7 minutes to progress to semi-final until Gary Lineker had scored penalties in normal time and in the extra time to make the score line 3-2 and dented Cameron progress. However, in the dull tournament the Cameron team with Roger Milla goal celebration had provided a classic images of the World Cup that will be remembered for a long time. For other African team Egypt were eliminated in the first round and did not get a single win. Thing also will be the same for Asian as UAE had made their debut with South Korea joining them but both of this team lost all of their group games and were eliminated.

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Roger Milla goal celebration

In the 1994 World Cup, for the first time World Cup history both of the Asian and African team had progressed to the second round. For African team it was Nigeria that had make the best start as they had thumped the Bulgaria 3-0, loss 2-1 to Argentina and beat Greece 2-0 to progress to the second round. In the second round against Italy they had lead 1-0 against team only for Roberto Baggio to score in the last minute and score again in extra time to knock them out. For the Asian team is Saudi Arabia them that made the progressed to the second round. They had lost 2-1 to Holland but however beating the Morocco team 2-1 and Belgium 1-0 ensure their passage to the second round. Saaed Al Owairan had scored the only goal in Belgium by dribbling pass several players from the middle of the field. This goal is considered to be one the best goal that was scored in the World Cup. They had beaten by Sweden team in the second round with 3-1 results. This make to show on how the progress had been made by both of this continent. For the other African and Asian team Cameroon and South Korea both of had failed to progress to the next round.

The 1998 World Cup in France saw the increase of team from 24 to 32. This also led to increase of 5 slot for the African team and 3 slot for the Asian team with another 1 slot via a AFC/Oceania playoff. For the African team Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia and the debutant South Africa had qualified. However only Nigeria had qualified to the second round as they were thumped by Denmark 4-1. Other team had been eliminated in the first round. For the Asian Team , Japan had made their debut with Iran, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia joined them. With only Iran getting the Asian team only win against the USA , all other had been either draw or lost the games in the group stages hence no team had progressed further.

2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan marks the first time that the World Cup is held in Asia. Africa team makes another legacy and also the Asian team had gone further. Africa continent will be represented by Cameroon, Nigeria, Tunisia, South Africa and with the newcomers Senegal. Senegal in the first game of the World Cup shocked the world when they had beaten the defending champion France 1-0 in opening match, then drew with Denmark 1-1 and drew again with Uruguay 3-3. They had progressed to the second round where they had knocked out Sweden via a golden goal.With this win the African team had a progressed further to quarter final since Cameroon in 1990. They had been beaten by Turkey via golden goal but the run is reminiscent to Cameroon in 1990. Other Africa team had failed to progress beyond the group stages. For the Asian team China made their debut joined by Saudi Arabia as South Korea and Japan qualified automatically as the host. Japan had drawn with Belgium 2-2 and beating Russia 1-0 and win 2-0 against Tunisia to progress to the second round but were eliminated by Turkey in second round. Japan had make their first point, first win, and progressing beyond the first round at only 2 appearance in World Cup. China does not win their games as they had been beaten by Costa Rica 2-0, Brazil 4-0 and Turkey 3-0. Saudi Arabia had given one of the worst performance by an Asian team in World Cup as they had been beaten by German 8-0, lost 1-0 to Cameroon and 3-0 to Ireland. On the worst performance, South Korea had provided the best performance by an Asian team till to date. South Korea get their first win in the World Cup by beating Poland 2-0, drew 1-1 with USA and beating Portugal team 1-0. In the second round they had repeated what their neighbour North Korea did in 1966 as they had knocked out the Italy team via a golden goal with score line of 2-1. In the quarter final they had beaten Spain via penalties 5-3 and this had marked that for the first time a penalty shootout between an Asian team and a European Team happen in World Cup. This had marked that for the first time an Asian team and also a team outside from the Europe and South America had been in the semi-final of the World Cup. Their fantasy run had been stopped by German with a 1-0 defeat and getting a 4th place after a been defeated by Turkey team in 3rd / 4th playoff. Until now this is best performance by an Asian team in World Cup.

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A fantasy run by the South Korea in 2002 World Cup

In 2006 World Cup in German with Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan and Iran had failed to progress beyond the first stages. For African team with four debutants and they are Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Angola and Tunisia only Ghana had progressed to the second round but were beaten by Brazil. Thing turn sour after the wonderful run by both of this team in previous World Cup.

In 2010 World Cup in South Africa marks the first time that the World Cup had been held in Africa. Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon is the representative. Apart from Ghana whom had reached the quarter final, the other team was eliminated in the first round. Ghana were only one penalty kick away from being the first African team to be in the semi-final when against Uruguay and in the last minute of the extra time they were awarded a penalty only for Asamoah Gyan to blast the kick against the post breaking the African heart to see their team in semi-final at the World Cup that was held in their continent. Since Australia had joined the AFC , they are now under Asian banner when they had qualified for this World Cup with Japan , North Korea and South Korea. This also marks for the first time that both the Korean countries is playing in the World Cup. Only Japan and South Korea had progressed to the second round but both were beaten by South American teams. Where Japan were beaten by Paraguay via penalties and South Korea were beaten by Uruguay. The penalty shootout between Japan and Paraguay marks the first time a penalty shootout had been held between an Asian and South America team in the World Cup.

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Ghana were one penalty kick away from being the first African team in the semi final

In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Africa continent is represented by Nigeria, Algeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana. While Ghana and Ivory Coast had been eliminated in the first round, Nigeria and Algeria had progressed to the second round. For the first time, they are more than 1 African team in the second round marked on how well Africa team had progressed. Both were eliminated by the European Team where Nigeria were being knocked out by France and Algeria had been eliminated by the eventual winner German with Manuel Neuer had made the role of sweeper keeper and that had stopped the Algerian from scoring in the counter attack. For the Asian team this is the tournament for them to forget as since 1990 as the four team that had qualified Australia, South Korea, Japan and Iran had failed to win even a single game and did not get any point. This also the worst performance by the Asian team in this edition of World Cup and also since 1990 World Cup.

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The German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer playing the role of sweeper keeper in the game against Algeria

The Asian team performance in the World Cup 2014 can be defined as one off if they performed well in the next World Cup but for the Africa team since 1990 World Cup they definitely had some representative in the second round but still the best performance for the team outside of Europe and South Africa is belong to Asia which South Korean performance in 2002 World Cup where they had earned 4th place. With more Africa and Asian players playing in the European Club top completion and best team maybe in the future they will be Africa or Asian World Cup winner. Both of this team had come from having a difficulty to earn their first point, first win, progressed further and a laughing stock to world beater given their performance earned the respect of the footballing world.

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