If Klinsmann is to overcome the crisis of the round of 16 at the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup, he will have to overcome the atmosphere of the stadium that will remind him of Saudi Arabia’s home.
In Doha, Qatar, Saudi soccer fans can be easily found here and there in the city on the 27th (local time), three days before the round of 16 match between the Korean national soccer team and Saudi Arabia led by coach Jürgen Klinsmann.마카오토토
When Saudi fans meet East Asians, they ask, “Korea? Japan?” out of the blue.
If you say Korean, Saudi Arabia will beat Korea and reach the quarterfinals.
There are special players in Korea such as Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), and Kim Min-jae (Munich), but it also presents its own “analysis” that it will not be enough for Saudi Arabia, which is systematically reborn as a solid team under the training of “master” Roberto Mancini.
According to Saudi reporters and the Doha Korean community, Saudi soccer fans are flocking to Doha after the Saudi national team confirmed its advance to the round of 16.
President Park Kwan-ho, who runs a construction business here and runs a Korean restaurant in the city, said, “The number of Saudis has increased significantly in a few days. It seems like everyone is coming to watch the Asian Cup.”
It takes five hours by car from the Saudi capital Riyadh to Doha, and three hours from the third-largest city of Dammam. This is a level where you can drive without much difficulty.
Not only Saudi Arabia, but also other Arab countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, which reached the round of 16 together, seem to be rooting for Saudi Arabia rather than Korea.
President Park, who has lived in the Middle East for more than 20 years, said, “The closer the neighboring country, the worse the relationship is. Rather than hate the neighboring country, Arab people tend to cheer for it as the same ‘Muslim brother country’.”
This trend was also confirmed at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. At that time, when Morocco advanced to the semifinals for the first time in the history of an Arab country, Arab soccer fans rooted for Morocco regardless of nationality.
For Korea, it has to deal with not only Saudi Arabia but also the entire Arab soccer fans.
According to the Korea Football Association, only about 20 Red Devils will visit the round of 16 stadiums. Most of the 44,000 spectators at Education City Stadium in Alayyan, near Doha, will be filled with Saudi Arabia’s “green wave.”
Moreover, Saudi fans are famous for their enthusiastic cheering. They even mobilize traditional musical instruments to stage noisy cheering events.
Coach Klinsmann is also well aware of the situation.
“I think we may be at a disadvantage in terms of the atmosphere of the stadium. I think about 30,000 Saudi soccer fans will come to the stadium,” he told reporters at the training site on Wednesday. “But this is also part of soccer.”
It is fortunate that Education City Stadium is a very familiar place for Taegeuk Warriors.
Korea played all three group matches of the World Cup in Qatar at the same stadium. It is very unusual for Korea to play all group matches of the World Cup in the same stadium, as it did in Qatar.
The result was good, too. He made history by winning one win, one draw and one loss, and advancing to the round of 16 for the third time in his team’s history.
However, Saudi Arabia also played Poland in the second group match of the Qatar World Cup at Education City Stadium, so this place will not be unfamiliar.
The match between South Korea and Saudi Arabia will be held at 7 p.m. on the 30th (1 a.m. on the 31st in Korean time).