The Hangzhou Asian Games women’s soccer quarterfinals, which were supposed to be a ‘group winner-take-all’ affair, have been slightly changed, raising the possibility that the Korea-Japan match could be postponed.
According to the Asian Games women’s soccer quarterfinal bracket posted on the tournament’s website on Aug. 18, the winner of Group D will face either Group C or Group E’s second-place team.
The winner of Group E will play either the second-place finisher from Group D or the first-place finisher from Group C for a spot in the quarterfinals.
The women’s soccer group stage at the Hangzhou Asian Games has been divided into five groups, with three teams each in Groups A through C and four teams each in Groups D and E. The top five teams in each group will face off in the quarterfinals.
The five top-ranked teams from each group and the best three finishers from each group will meet in the quarterfinals.
The original bracket had the winner of Group D and the winner of Group E meeting in the quarterfinals.
As a result, South Korea, led by head coach Colin Bell, would face Japan, a women’s soccer powerhouse that was expected to finish first in Group E, in the quarterfinals.
This is because the two teams in Group D and E, respectively, are objectively very likely to finish first in their respective groups.
However, with the shuffling of the brackets, the chances of facing Japan in the quarterfinals have dropped significantly.
If South Korea and Japan finish the tournament atop their respective groups, a Korea-Japan matchup in the finals is possible.
The Korean Football Association was unaware of the change in bracket.
“We are checking to see if a letter has been sent to the association and teams regarding the rescheduling,” said an official from the association.
The change will also alter Bell’s game plan.
Previously, the coach had questioned the Asian Games bracketing system, expecting to face Japan in the quarterfinals.
“If you finish first in your group, you play Japan,” he told reporters at the National Training Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on May 5, “I don’t understand. I don’t know why you have to play the first place. It’s complicated. Let’s see what happens,” he said with a determined expression. 토토