By Friday evening, Korea Republic and Japan will have had three days to get over their respective semi-final defeats to contest the bronze medal match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, the scene of teh South Koreans penalty shoot-out win over Great Britain last Saturday.
Both Korea Republic and Japan started their semi-finals brightly but were soon pegged back and ultimately defeated by in-form opponents. Japan took the lead against Mexico through Yuki Otsu, but Marco Fabian, Oribe Peralta and substitute Javier Cortes turned the game around. Korea Republic threatened in the opening 20 minutes against Brazil but a Romulo strike and a brace from Leandro Damiao ended their dreams of gold.
It has been 44 years since Japan won an Olympic medal, the only Asian side to achieve this feat so far and after winning Group D, containing Spain, Honduras and Morocco, they will be looking to bounce back after their Wembley to claim bronze. Remarkably, Korea Republic have reached this stage after winning only one game during the tournament (a 2-1 victory over Switzerland). They drew three matches, most notably the penalty shoot-out win over Great Britain and lost once.
13 – This is the 13th bronze medal match between two teams from the same confederation. All of the 12 previous fixtures involved two European teams, the last one being in 1988 when West Germany beat Italy 3-0.
"I believe our players can do the job for the last match and we will prepare to win. We know a lot about Japan and we know have to control the midfield. It is good that we have a lot of players in the J.League and that should really help us to prepare. I want to finish the tournament with a good result." Hong Myungbo, Korea Republic coach.
“There was a lot of disappointment in the dressing room after the Mexico game. We wanted to win that so much. But we need to change our emotion and prepare well for the bronze medal match," Takashi Sekizuka, Japan coach.