South Korea waited for him so long and now he is here. Son Heung-Min, the biggest star in the Asian Cup made his first appearance in the tournament. The change in South Korea was immediate, as they easily defeated China 2-0. Paulo Bento can feel calm before the knockout stage. South Korea qualified from the first place in the group and they demonstrated why they are favorites to win the title.
Due to their top spot finish, South Korea will face a weaker opponent, as they will play against a third-placed team at the round of 16. Yet, their road to the final wouldn't be easy. There is even a possible clash against Australia at the semi final. It may be a good chance to revenge for the 2015 final, but there is much more to do until that moment.
China will play against the surprising team of Thailand in the round of 16. Lippi's players may have a chance to win and qualify for the quarter finals. His decision to field today some of his reserve players could bring his team some advantage, as his leading players got more time to rest.
In the second match of the group, Kyrgyzstan made history with a 3-1 win against The Philippines. Vitalij Lux scored a hat-trick and brought his team their first ever Asian Cup win. From the other side, Stephan Schröck scored the first Filipino goal in the tournament.
In that case, the Kyrgyz team finished at the third place in the group. At the end of the day, Kyrgyzstan found that their goal difference was enough and they secured their place in the round of 16. Their will play against the host nation, UAE, and it’s not going to be easy at all.
The Philippines finished their campaign, but they can feel proud with their performance. In their debut tournament, after years of being minnows, The Azkals played well and were a challenge for their opponents. The next mission of this team will be to keep this level and maybe we will see more from them in the next years.