World Cup 2018: 7 days to go

Why Asian and African teams are also-rans at the World Cup

South Korea's players had plenty to smile about during the 2-0 win in the friendly against Honduras on May 28. Major Asian stars are few and far between on the world stage, with Tottenham forward Son Heung Min (centre) one of the few recognisable fac
South Korea's players had plenty to smile about during the 2-0 win in the friendly against Honduras on May 28. Major Asian stars are few and far between on the world stage, with Tottenham forward Son Heung Min (centre) one of the few recognisable faces playing in Europe's top leagues.PHOTO: REUTERS

Continents produce good but not great sides; regression and instability are also key factors

The anniversary falls four days after the World Cup final. Perhaps it will be celebrated in North Korea.

As it is North Korea, perhaps no one will know if the special feat will be remembered. Yet July 19 will mark 52 years to the day since one of the World Cup's greatest shocks.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'Why Asian and African teams are also-rans'. Print Edition | Subscribe