Blatter offers hope to Asia

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has looked to console teams in Asia given their poor showing at this year's World Cup.

    "Did someone say junket?"

    Of the five Asian teams that came to Germany, only AFC newcomers Australia made it through to the last 16 before being defeated by Italy.

    2002 semifinalist South Korea was overhauled by France in the final group game while Iran, Japan and Saudi Arabia all finished bottom of their respective groups.

    Blatter said that he felt Asian teams would struggle to replicate their performances of 2002 with the tournament being held in Europe, but still saw a bright future.

    "Asia could well have had at least one representative in the round of 16. South Korea nearly made it," he told the FIFA World Cup website.

    "It's not a good thing for Asian football and I find it a shame, but I consider it to be an accident.
      
    "Football continues to develop in Asia and the arrival of Australia can only boost the level of development."

    Australia qualified through the Oceania region, but will now compete as an Asian nation after successfully joining the confederation.

    SOURCE: AFP


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