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West Asian Teams Win Better Results, But Not Superiority
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Teams from West Asia won better results in Doha Asian Games soccer tournament, but it does not suggests their superiority over those from East Asia.

West Asian teams look like gaining huge advantage with all medals in hand, but the process of the competitions told a different story.

China and South Korea were beaten by their respective West Asian rivals but they played well during the competition.

China lost to Iran 8-7 in penalty shoot-out after the two sides drew 2-2 after extra time in the quarter-finals on Dec. 9. But China played well and gained slight advantage in second half and extra time even after they had a player sent off.

China's performance won the respect from Iranian side. Iranian Coach Rodrigues Simoes praised Chinese team and some Iranian players admitted luck was on their side.

South Korea totally controlled the semi-final match against Iraq, with 22 shots and 10 of them on goal. But South Korean side lost 0-1 to Iraq, who only had five shots in 90 minutes, two of which on goal.

For Iraq, it was a miracle.

South Korean coach Per Verbeek said his players wasted too many chances while Iraq grasped the sole opportunity and won the match.

During the bronze medal match with Iran, South Korea also gained huge advantage but again failed to score. They lost the match 0-1 after extra time.

Iranian coach Rodrigues gave credit to South Korea after the match.

He also admitted the results did not mean West Asia now gained superiority over East Asia in soccer, saying it was "too early" to say that.

He also cited the match between Iraq and South Korea, suggesting South Korea was the better side but lost the game.

Meanwhile, Japan, another soccer powerhouse from East Asia, did not send its best players to Doha, and failed to enter the last eight after losing to North Korea.

As for women's soccer, East Asian teams do have superiority in Asia, with last four teams all from East Asia, including champions North Korea, Japan, China and South Korea.
(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2006)

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