AFC National Team of the Year (Men): Korea Republic Olympic
Kuala Lumpur: The 2012 Olympics bronze medal-winning Korea Republic side has been named the AFC National Team of the Year.
The Koreans had a brilliant run at the London Games before their progress was halted in the semi-final against silver medallists Brazil.
They started their campaign by drawing 0-0 against the eventual champions Mexico followed by hard-fought 2-1 win over Switzerland as Korea finished second in the group behind the Mexicans after they played another goalless draw against Gabon.
The Koreans defied the odds to oust Team GB, one of the pre-tournament favourites, with a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over the hosts in the quarter-final. After losing 3-0 in the semi-final, Hong Myung-bo's charges convincingly defeated traditional Asian rivals Japan 2-0 in the third-place playoff.
“Every team wants to win every single match they play and to go to London and at least come up with a medal is brilliant,” KFA President Cho Chung Yun said after receiving the award from AFC Vice President Yousuf Al Serkal.
“Maybe it’s too early for us (Asians) to challenge the world but apart from Japan and Korea there are teams like Iran, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia who also have the potential to give a good challenge to the rest of the world," Cho continued.
“We should be pleased with what this men’s Olympic team achieved in London because we played outside home. Yes, we managed to seal a semi-final place in the World Cup but that was at home. Therefore, the best we have done so far outside Korea is to book a Round of 16 place in the World Cup so this achievement could be easily termed as one of the biggest we have produced."