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Vote for your best Asian team at the FIFA World Cup: Forwards


Kuala Lumpur: With international football not set to return until later in the year, the-AFC.com continues its look back at some of Asia's greatest performers at the FIFA World Cup and asks you, the fans, to vote for the Best XI.

We're just one position away from finding out who you want as your best Asian team at the FIFA World Cup. The best goalkeeper has been decided, as has your defence and the midfield in front of them, so now it's time to find the men to lead the line up front.

So, without further ado, here are the six players in contention for the places in attack. Review the nominees and then choose your favourites for this all-star XI in the poll below.

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Tim CahillAustralia (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)

  • 5 goals (#1 by a forward)
  • 24 shots (#2 by a forward)
  • 9 appearances

Tim Cahill came off the bench to mark his FIFA World Cup debut with a late brace against Japan as Australia reversed a 1-0 deficit in their 2006 opener to win 3-1 in dramatic fashion and seal their first-ever World Cup victory. The performance secured him a place in the starting line-up for his side's remaining games as they advanced to the last 16 before a late defeat to eventual winners Italy.

The World Cup generally brought the best out in Cahill, although a red card in Australia's 2010 opener against Germany was not the ideal start. Ruled out of the game against Ghana, he returned to score a trademark header against Serbia as the Green and Gold claimed a 2-1 win only to miss out on a place in the next round on goal difference.

Asia’s Greatest FIFA World Cup Goals – Semi-final 1

While 2014 ultimately ended in three defeats, Cahill produced a moment of magic in Brazil. Another header in a loss to Chile saw him notch his fourth World Cup goal, before the forward then lit up Porto Alegre's Estadio Beiro-Rio by smashing home a left-foot volley to draw his side level with the Dutch in a 3-2 defeat. A brief substitute appearance against Peru at Russia 2018 then brought the curtain down on a tremendous World Cup career.


Ahn Jung-hwanKorea Republic (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010)

  • 10 appearances (Joint #1 by a forward)
  • 3 goals, 10 chances created
  • 14.3% shot conversion rate

Charismatic Korean striker Ahn Jung-hwan produced one of the most famous moments in Asian footballing history when he headed in a late winner against Italy at the 2002 World Cup on home soil to delight a nation and stun the mighty Italians.

Ahn, who had already shown his capabilities in the air by rising to head home in similar fashion to secure a 1-1 group stage draw against the United States, then held his nerve from the spot as the Taeguk Warriors overcame Spain on penalties in the last eight to become the first and, to date, only Asian side to reach the semi-finals.

Left on the bench for the opening game at Germany 2006, Ahn came on to fire in a stunning effort from distance to seal a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Togo. Despite following the victory with a 1-1 draw against France after the striker had again been brought on, the Koreans exited on goal difference. While Ahn was selected in the 2010 squad, he received no game time in South Africa as the East Asians reached the knockout rounds for the second time.


Sami Al JaberSaudi Arabia (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006)

  • 9 appearances
  • 3 goals
  • 33% shot conversion rate (Joint #1 by a forward)

Saudi Arabia legend Sami Al Jaber appeared at four successive FIFA World Cups between 1994 and 2006 and marked his competition debut with a goal from the spot as the Green Falcons recorded their maiden victory, seeing off Morocco 2-1. A place in the last 16 followed before the Gulf nation eventually fell to Sweden in what remains their best performance at the tournament.

Four years later in France, the Saudis suffered back-to-back defeats to Denmark and the hosts, but Al Jaber scored another penalty as they closed out the competition with a 2-2 draw against South Africa. The striker then began the 2002 edition as captain but it proved a disastrous campaign as his tournament was ended through injury following a heavy defeat to Germany and his side were eliminated after three defeats.

Al Jaber's last World Cup appearance came at Germany 2006 when he netted his third and final goal – and his only one from open play – in a 2-2 draw with Tunisia, but losses to Ukraine and Spain followed as the Green Falcons exited at the first hurdle.


Son Heung-minKorea Republic (2014, 2018)

  • 6 appearances
  • 22 dribbles completed (#1 by a forward)
  • 3 goals

Son Heung-min's greatest World Cup moment came just seconds before Korea Republic exited Russia 2018, the Tottenham Hotspur forward sprinting onto a long ball over the top to tap into an empty net for a goal that secured an incredible 2-0 win over defending champions Germany, eliminated the holders and brought what had been a disappointing campaign to a magical end.

The Taeguk Warriors' star man had earlier scored a brilliant left-foot goal from distance against Mexico but it proved little more than a consolation in a 2-1 defeat as the losses to the Central Americans and Sweden had dampened the mood ahead of that glorious win over the Germans in Kazan.

Son's first appearance at the global showpiece, meanwhile, came in his country's disappointing 2014 campaign, in which he scored his first goal at the competition in a 4-2 defeat against Algeria as the Koreans exited with just a point to their name. Still in the prime of his career, however, Son will likely be showcasing his talent at the World Cup for years to come.


Shinji OkazakiJapan (2010, 2014, 2018)

  • 10 appearances (Joint #1 by a forward)
  • 33% shot conversion rate (Joint #1 by a forward)
  • 2 goals

With Denmark chasing a way back into the final group stage match at South Africa 2010, substitute Shinji Okazaki put the final nail in their coffin as he finished from close in to seal Japan's place in the knockout rounds for only the second occasion and first time outside their homeland. The Samurai Blue, however, would exit to Paraguay on penalties.

Okazaki added his second World Cup goal at Brazil 2014, heading in a Keisuke Honda delivery to draw the Japanese level against Colombia, but the game ended in a 4-1 defeat as the highly fancied East Asians were eliminated after picking up just a solitary point in South America.

While Okazaki failed to add any more goals during limited game time in 2018, his typically industrious work in the build-up to Honda's equaliser against Senegal was a crucial factor in a goal that ultimately helped Japan advance to the next round. Now 34, it remains to be seen whether the striker will be seen at the global showpiece again.

Hwang Sun-hongKorea Republic (1990, 1994, 2002)

  • 10 appearances (joint #1 by a forward)
  • 21 shots, 11 on target
  • 2 goals

After debuting at Italia 90 in a campaign that saw Korea Republic eliminated without picking up a point, Hwang Sun-hong was part of a Taeguk Warriors side that performed admirably four years later in the United States, playing his part in a 2-2 opening-day draw against Spain that, at the time, was the East Asians' most notable World Cup result to date.

Three down against Germany, Hwang started what was almost a memorable comeback by netting his first World Cup goal but, despite a monumental second-half effort, the Koreans lost 3-2 to the reigning champions and exited. At 29 and in the prime of his career, injury dealt the striker a cruel blow as he was ruled out of the 1998 edition in France.

But Hwang made up for that disappointment in 2002 by volleying in the Koreans' opening goal of the campaign to send the crowd in Busan into raptures as the hosts claimed a 2-0 win over Poland and their first-ever World Cup victory. That goal proved Hwang's last for his country, although he did net in the quarter-final penalty shootout win against Spain before defeat to Germany in the semi-final brought the curtain down on his international career.


The polls end on July 7 at 4pm (UTC+8). The Best XI chosen by fans and the best XI based on OPTA statistics will be announced later in the month.

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