Heavyweights have perennially struggled to satisfy the demanding Asian media. However, following the latest round of qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, a selection of teams were able to revel in the pride of praise.
None more so than Australia, who beat Qatar 4-0 to assume leadership of Group 1. "Pim Verbeek afterwards revealed it was Moore - plus fellow senior players Lucas Neill and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer - who ensured focus was retained while the players cooled their heels in the dressing room," read an article titled Fans get four, Moore in the Lithgow Mercury.
Verbeek nevertheless refuses to get carried away. "I'm not the one who is running around with a bottle of champagne in my hand because we have six points," he told the West Australians. "Before we qualify we should not think we are there - we still have long way to go."
The Dutch coach's successor at the Korea Republic reins, Huh Jung Moo, also silenced his critics when his side ran out 4-1 winners against United Arab Emirates. "After being held to a 1-1 draw by Korea DPR in the first match, Huh had been criticised for the lack of tactics and poor organization. But the win means he's very likely to continue his role until the end of the final round of qualifiers," read a story by the Yonhap news agency.
Applause also went to the Korea Republic's Manchester United winger Park Ji-Sung, who played a key role in their triumph, including scoring the crucial second goal. "The Taeguk Warriors were urged to enjoy the game by captain Park, and they did just that. ," commented Sports Donga.
They played as if they were dancing on a swift rhythm, denying all the talk of a crisis in the national team
Support amid disappointment
Japan coach Takeshi Okada, by contrast, has come under fire following his team's 1-1 draw at home to Uzbekistan. Despite dominating the game and creating more chances, their poor finishing again cost them dearly.
Okada was aware of Japan's lack of cutting edge before the match. "It is not a problem I can fix. There is no miracle drug," he told the Japan Times.
Despite the disappointment, the Japan Today quoted Japanese Football Association chief Motoaki Inukai backing the experienced coach. "Things will remain as they are. I trust in Okada and we just have to advance through the qualifiers with our Japanese brand of football," he said firmly.