Most Koreans expect Japan World Cup flop
TOKYO, May 12: The majority of South Koreans expect Asian rivals Japan to be knocked out of the World Cup in the first round, according to a survey released today.
A poll conducted by the Japan Research Centre and Gallup in South Korea found that 64 per cent of South Koreans expected Japan to fall at the first hurdle next month.
Only 12 per cent of Japanese polled believed 2002 semi-finalists South Korea would fail to reach the knockout stages.
South Koreans were optimistic about their own team's chances too with 42 per cent saying they would reach the last four in Germany.
The most likely scenario for Japan, according to the home fans polled, was a last-16 finish with 27 per cent saying the Asian champions would match their performance four years ago when co-hosting the tournament.
However, 20 per cent of Japanese believed their team would fail to get beyond the first round.
Just 51 per cent of Japanese said they were interested in the World Cup, in contrast to 93 per cent in South Korea.
The survey was conducted in April.
Japan, playing in their third World Cup finals, are drawn alongside holders Brazil, Croatia and Australia in Group F.
South Korea take on 1998 champions France, Switzerland and Togo in Group G in their sixth straight appearance in the finals and seventh overall.