Asian Cup 1956: A South Korean record beating the drums of war
Amid war cries between the two Korean neighbors, South Korea's Samson Stars won the first four-team Asian Cup in Hong Kong in 1956. : Israel and Vietnam except South Korea and the host country.
Although an initial list of 19 teams was included to participate in the first Asian Championship, only 7 teams continued the journey and participated in the final qualifying round, and finally 4 teams qualified for the final, which was won by South Korea.
South Korea was not living in an economically prosperous state, but was in dire straits as a result of the effects of the war that plagued the country in general.
The South Koreans returned to the capital Seoul after buying tickets to Chinese Taipei to attend the final qualifying round, before a new trip to Hong Kong was planned for them to compete. There was one international flight per week. For this reason, the team's delegation was delayed and did not travel until the day it started. Championship.
Park Kyung-ho, one of the pillars of the Asian title-winning team for South Korea, says: “Israel had already beaten Hong Kong when our plane landed at Kai Tai Airport. The match had really started. A few hours separated us. From the first clash.”
The star of the team that won its first continental title continued: “We were obviously tired. All the players were from the army, so we had a week to prepare for the tournament.”
At the start of its tournament tour, the South Korean national team met Hong Kong, the host nation, and the match was on the same day that the South Korean national team representatives arrived in the country.
Park Kyung explains: “On the day we arrived, at four in the evening, we played against Hong Kong. We scored two goals in the first half. Everyone was tired and the atmosphere was hot, but the rain woke us up. We managed to score two goals in the second half and came out with a draw.
The effects of the war on Koreans were also evident from the shirts worn in the match. Kyung explains: “We wore the first uniforms made in South Korea after the war, so the color scheme was not good, and the colors of the shirts were washed out by water droplets after the rain.” He added: “We managed to find a South Korean living in Hong Kong and he helped us get some new uniforms made in England. competition.”
South Korea made steady strides after the title following their first draw, and scored two goals against Israel in the second round of the group stage competition, while Vietnam and Hong Kong also won. Positive balance.
When South Korea met Vietnam, they found themselves in a decisive game to reach the championship, and after a thrilling game, the South Korean team won 5-3 to tighten their grip on first place and win their first Asian Championship titles. in its history.
The South Korean national team's players achieved a record-breaking victory abroad for the first time. Everyone was busy with their lives after the war. , which lasted for many years and greatly exhausted their country.
Kyung continues his speech to the AFC website published in 2019: “People in South Korea were in a difficult situation. Everyone was busy with their lives, but we were invited to the Blue House where the president lives, and we were there. Officially received, those pictures were the first pictures that the president of Korea appeared in.” With any athlete in South Africa.”
Details about the South Korean team participating in the first Asian edition were the consequences of the war. They played the match without the participation of a doctor with the delegation, as the players carried an injured teammate off the field and treated them. As Kyung points out, all he has is water.
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