Korea lands at No. 26 on World Cup power ranking
Korea came in at No. 26 on the Guardian’s power ranking ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, rising two places despite some fairly lackluster performances over the recent international break.
“Korea qualified convincingly under the former Portugal coach Paulo Bento,” the Guardian said, “winning seven and drawing two of 10 third-phase qualifiers, but form since has been mixed, wins over Egypt and Chile rubbing alongside convincing reverses against Brazil and Japan.”
Despite pushing Korea two spots higher up the ranking, the Guardian reporters were unimpressed with the Taeguk Warriors’ recent performance.
“The recent unconvincing draw against Costa Rica and 1-0 win over Cameroon haven’t cleared the picture,” the article said.
At No. 26 on the list, Korea sits above recent opponents Cameroon, at No. 27, and Costa Rica, at No. 31, as well as No. 28 Tunisia, No. 29 Ghana, No. 30 Qatar and No. 32 Saudi Arabia.
Ghana is the only of Korea’s Group H rivals to rank lower, with Uruguay in at No. 13 and Portugal at No. 14. The Guardian pointed out significant flaws with both higher-ranked squads that Bento could look to exploit in Qatar.
“Diego Alonso saw them to Qatar with four straight wins but they’re struggling to find the right balance,” the Guardian said about Uruguay. “One forward leaves them short of firepower (and Darwin Núñez is an implausible wide man) but two renders them open through midfield.”
Portugal’s disappointing 1-0 loss to Spain this week raised doubts about the team’s potential, the Guardian said, with further confusion on the bench after manager Fernando Santos admitted he forgot which players were on his own bench.
Unsurprisingly, Brazil, who haven’t lost to anybody except Argentina in the last three years, took first place on the list, followed, equally unsurprisingly, by Argentina. Spain, the Netherlands and Germany round off the top five.
Local rivals Japan rose five spots up the ranking to No. 20 after decisively beating the United States and drawing with Ecuador over the international break.
The 2022 World Cup kicks off on Nov. 20 in Qatar. Korea will play their opening game against Uruguay at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar on Nov. 24.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]