Friday, November 14, 2014

East Asia Greatest All-time 23 member team

South Korea 2002

This is my 23-member all-time team for East Asia.While football in East Asia is not considered strong in the world, they have made some achievements in the world.  North Korea made a dream run in 1966 when they beat Italy and played one of the most dramatic matches in WC history against Portugal.  Japan and South Korea made miracle runs at the WC in 2002 with South Korea reaching the semifinal.

I have also create other Asian teams:  AustraliaSaudi ArabiaIran,
ChinaJapanSouth Korea.
Hong Kong
East AsiaWest Asia(without Iran and Saudi Arabia),
Central AsiaSouth East Asia(ASEAN).

North Korea 1966
GK:  Lee Woon-Jae (South Korea)
Lee Woon-Jae was a part of four World Cup Finals between 1994 and 2010.  His best tournament was in 2002 where South Korea reached the semifinal and he was inspirational as he saved a penalty in the penalty shootout of the quarterfinal vs Spain.  He spent his entire career playing in Korea with Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Chunnam Dragons.

GK: Choi In-young (South Korea)
Choi played played in South Korea for Seoul City (1981–1983) on an amateur basis, Kookmin Bank FC (1983) and Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i (1984–1996).  He earned 51 caps.  He was the starting goalkeeper at World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994.   In 1994, he was unfortunately remembered for getting replaced by Lee Woon-Jae in the game against Germany.

GK:  Chow Chee Keong (Malaysia)
Chow Chee Keong was a Malaysian Chinese.  He earned his first senior cap as a 15 years old.  He played for Aveley F.C. in England when he was a student studying in the UK.  He also trained with West Ham. From 1966 to 1970, he was voted the best keeper in Asia for 5 straight seasons.  In 1970, he went to play in the Hong Kong league, which was the only professional league in East Asia. In Hong Kong, he played for Jardines, South China, Rangers and Tung Sing. He was voted as the AFC Goalkeeper of the Century.  

RB: Atsuto Uchida (Japan)
Uchida played with Kashima Anthlers before joining Schalke 04 in 2010. He has been playing for Schalke 04 for the past 5 seasons.  He was on the Bundesliga team of the Year for the season 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.  He went to both World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014. He also played Union Berlin before returning to Japan in 2018.

RB:  Sun Jihai (China)
Sun Jihai joined Crystal Palace with teannate Fan Zhiyi in 1999 and became the first Chinese national to play in England.  In 2002, he made a big move to Manchester City where he spent 7 seasons and became a regular starter for his first three seasons.  However, he suffered an injury in his fourth season.  He spent the rest of his career in and out of the lineup.  He represented China at the WC Finals in 2002.

CB:  Jia Xiuquan (China)
Jia Xiuquan was the Chinese captain from 1987 to 1992.  In 1984, he won the MVP award at the Asian Cup, where China finished second.  He joined Yugoslavia's FK Partizan in 1987 becoming one of the first footballers from PRC to play in Europe.  In China, he played club football with Baiyi.  He later played in Malaysia and Japan.  He played for Gamba Osaka during J-League's inaugural season.

Jia Xiuquan

CB: Masami Ihara (Japan)
Masami Ihara was the Asian player of the Year in 1995.  He was at one point Japan's all-time leading appearance record holder with 122. He led Japan to its first ever World Cup Finals in 1998. He was a star in the J-League throughout the 1990's.  He spent most of his career with Yokohama Marinos.  Later, Ihara played for Jublio Iwata and Urawa Reds.

CB:  Fan Zhiyi (China)
Fan Zhiyi was the Asian Player of the Year in 2002.   He captained China as it reached the WC Finals for the first time in 2002.  He played three seasons for Crystal Palace and became a captain there. At home, he played mainly for clubs in Shanghai, notably with Shanghai Shenhua.  He had a stint playing for Rangers in Hong Kong.

CB:  Hong Myung-bo (South Korea)
Hong Myung-bo is the all-time cap record holder for South Korea.  He played in 4 WC Finals.  In 2002, he captained South Korea to reach the WC semifinal, where he won the Bronze Ball.  He is probably the greatest defender in Asian history.  He played mainly for Pohang Steelers in the K League, Bellmare Hiratsuka and Kashiwa Reysol in Japan and, LA Galaxy in USA's Major League Soccer.
Hong Myung-Bo
LB:  Lee-Young-Pyo (South Korea)
Lee Young-Pyo enjoyed one of the most successful career for an Asian playing in Europe.  He was a starter with PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspurs.  Lee started his professional career at FC Seoul, then known as Anyang LG Cheetahs in the Korean K League 1. He also spent time in Saudi Arabia and the MLS. He played 127 times between 1999 and 2011 for South Korea.  

LB:  Yuto Nagatomo (Japan)
Yuto Nagatomo  started his career with FC Tokyo. He is known for his offensive skills.  He joined Cesena in 2010.  Since 2011, he was a starter with Inter Milan.  He can also play as a rightback.  In 20918, he joined Galatasaray in Turkey.  He collected over 100 caps for Japan. He played in the World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014.  He won the Asian Cup in 2011.

CM: Kim Joo Sung (South Korea)
From 1988 to 1990,  Kim Joo Sung won three straight Asian Player of the Year.  He was known for his long hair during his career, and was an Asian football icon in the early 1990's.  He played in three World Cup Finals.  For his club career, he played for Chosun University and Busan Daewoo Royalsat home.  Later, he spent two seasons with Vfl Bochum in Germany.
CM: Yasuhiko Okudera (Japan)
When soccer was still an amatuer sport in Japan, Okudera made his way to Germany.  He played with FC Klon and Werder Bremen in the 1980's. Okudera was the first Japanese footballer to play professionally in Europe, as well as being the first Asian football player to score in the European Cup, while playing for 1. FC Köln in the 1979 semi-final match against Nottingham Forest F.C. and made 32 appearances – scoring nine goals – with the Japanese national team.

RW/LW: Park Ji-Sung (South Korea)
He is the most decorated Asian footballer in history, as the first Asian footballer to have won the Champions League trophy, the first Asian footballer to play in a Champions League Final, as well as the first Asian footballer to have won the Club World Cup.   He spent 7 seasons with Manchester United. He also played Kyoto Purple Sanga, PSV and QPR.  For the national team, he earned 100 caps and went to 4 World Cup Finals: 2002, 2006, and 2010.

LW: Son Heung-min  (South Korea)
Son finished his development at Hamburger SV, where he made his debut in the German Bundesliga in 2010. In 2013, he moved to Bayer Leverkusen for a club record €10 million, and played for the club in the Europa League and Champions League. Two years later, he signed for Tottenham for £22 million, becoming the most expensive Asian player in history. While at Tottenham, he became the top Asian goalscorer in Premier League history.

AM: Shunsuke Nakamura (Japan)
Shunsuke Nakamura was a star player at Celtics.  He won the SPF Player of the year and SFWA Player of the Year in 2007.  Before that, Nakamura began his professional career with J1 League club Yokohama Marinos in 1997.  Later,  he played with Reggina in Serie A.  After he left Celtic, he played briefly for Espanyol. He played in three WC Finals, but he was not selected for the WC in 2002 at home.
Shunsuke Nakamura
AM:  Hidetoshi Nakata (Japan)
Nakata was the first Japanese player who reached stardom in Europe.  He scored 10 goals in his first season with Perugia.  He had a successful substitute role with Roma, but he never settled down after his first season.  He also played with Parma, Fiorentina and Bologna.  He later went to play in England with Bolton Wanderers. He picked up 77 caps.  He went to three World Cup Finals: 1998, 2002 and 2006.

AShinji Kagawa 香川 真司
Kagawa began his professional career in his homeland with Cerezo Osaka before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2010. After two years with Dortmund, Kagawa signed for Manchester United on a four-year contract. Two years later, he returned to Dortmund, where again he was a star player. Since 2008, he has over 90 caps. He was a member of the 2014 WC team while controversially left off the 2010 team.

FW:  Kazuyoshi Miura (Japan)
Miura became the first Japanese footballer to play in Italy, joining Genoa for 1994-1995.  He was the Asian Player of the Year in 1993.  Despite being the best Japanese player in the 1990's, he never played in the WC Finals.  He was not selected for the 1998 WC in France. He had 89 caps. On 5 March 2017, Miura became the oldest ever player to feature in a professional match when he started in Yokohama's 1–1 draw against V-Varen Nagasaki. 

FW:  Lee Wei Tong (Republic of China/Hong Kong)
Lee Wei Tong was born in Hong Kong, but elected to play for the Republic of China.  He went to play in 1936 Olympics, where he made a strong impression.  Some experts considered him among the best footballer in the world at the time, but limited exposure outside Asia limited his name recognition.  At home, he predominantly played for South China and helped establish the club in being the most successful team in Hong Kong history.

 Lee Wei Tong 李惠堂

FW:  Pak Doo-ik (North Korea)
Pak Doo-ik scored the winning goal vs Italy in the 1966 World Cup Finals.  He was the star of North Korea's run in that World Cup Finals.  His football career outside of the World Cup Finals is unknown. It was widely reported that he was a military officer in North Korea.  He was born in 1943.

ST:  Cha Bum Kun (South Korea)
Cha Bum Kun is probably the greatest Asian player in the modern era.  He won two UEFA Cups, one each for Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen. he also played for Air Force in South Korea and SV Darmstadt 98. He was widely considered one of the best forwards in the Bundesliga throughout his career. He became the third-highest-paid footballer in Germany while playing there. For the national team, he had 135 caps and went to Mexico 1986.
Cha Bum Kun

ST:  Paulino Alcántara (the Philippines)
Born in the Philippines of a half-Spanish, half-Filipino, he made his debut for Barcelona at the age of 15 and remains the youngest player to play or score for the club. He also scored 100 goals in 69 matches, making him the club's highest goalscorer He was selected for the Philippine national football team in 1917 and represented his country at the Far Eastern Championship Games.  In 1921. he was selected to play for Spain.  he scored 6 goals in 5 games for Spain.

Honorable Mention
Hwang Sun-Hong (South Korea), Cheung Chi Doy (Republic of China/Hong Kong), Keisuke Honda (Japan).

Squad Explanation
  • I tried to include older players. Chow Chee Keong was relatively unknown from the 1980's onward. He was voted AFC Goalkeeper of the Century. He also played briefly in England when he was a student.  He was one of the first goalkeeper from Asia to play in Europe. He was not actually signed with West Ham, but he trained regularly with them. 
  •  I do not have much information about Pak Doo-ik, but he had done more for Asian football for the few games he played at the WC Finals in 1966 than anyone else.  I rewarded him with a spot on the team.   
  • Sun Jihai was at one point a top fullback in the English Premiership.
  • Cheung Chi Doy (Republic of China/Hong Kong)spent a season with Blackpool, which was then a big club in England.  He was one of the first Asian players playing in Europe.  Cheung Chi Doy and his brother were the first two players ever signed by Bobby Robson.  Unfortunately, his career was cut short after Bobby Robson left Vancouver Royals.  He earned honorable mention.
  • Shinji Kagawa was orginally dropped because he had not played a lot of first team football when I was writing the blog while there are many Asian players making impacts around the world.  In 2018, I decided to drop Hwang Sun-Hong.  Kagawa's status with Borussia Dortmund improved. Hwang Sun-Hong lacked exposure outside Asia.
  • Lee Wei Tong's football career was relatively unknown, but some experts claimed that he could be the best ever Asian player. 
  • Paulino Alcántara's record with Barcelona FC spoke for itself.  Some of the greatest ever players could not break his record. 
  • Son Heung-min was put on the team in February, 2019.  He reached stardom in the English Premiership. Keisuke Honda was moved to honourable mention.  I selected Kim Joo Sung, Lee Wei Tong, Kazu Miura and Yasuhiko Okudera over them because they contributed to the history of Asian football. They were pioneers of the game.
  • Keisuke Honda was dropped basically lacked the exposure by playing with AC Milan when the club was in crisis. As mentioned, I went with historical players.

Starting lineup
Formaation: 4-4-2
Both Nagatomo and Lee Young-Pyo are almost the same level.  I can start either of them.   I prefer a midfield of Nakata and Nakamura.  Son Heung-min, Paulino Alcantara, Cha Bum Kun and Park Ji-Sung are the best Asian players in history.


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