As the rest of the world gets to decide the World Cup, Asian football heads home.

On your bike, that's the way home. Jan Vertonghen's goal sinks Korea in São Paulo.

On your bike, that's the way home. Jan Vertonghen's goal sinks Korea in São Paulo.

As The FIFA World Cup heads into the knockout phase every corner of the world has been invited.

Except for Asia that is (and our cousins in Oceania). 

We'll have our faces pressed up against the glass on the outside looking in like poor kids ogling a chocolate shop as the cream of the globe's football talent battle to get their hands on The World Cup.

Simply, Asian football stank in Brazil.  

The numbers tell the story.

All 4 teams, Australia, Korea, Iran and Japan have been knocked out at the group stage. Asia is the only confederation represented at The World Cup not to qualify a team for the round of 16.

None of them at any stage looked likely to progress, except for a brief 5 minute window when The Socceroos lead The Netherlands in Porto Alegre.

In all, just 3 points were collected from an available 27 from all 4 teams.

The Asian teams scored 9 goals but were battered at the other end, conceding 25 goals.

Ahead of The Asian Cup it's a rude wake up call. In this, the so called Asian Century, football is dragging the chain. 

And it started so well. Japan celebrates Honda's goal against Cote D'Ivoire 

And it started so well. Japan celebrates Honda's goal against Cote D'Ivoire 

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) sensing a backlash was quick to respond to the disappointing results in Brazil, issuing a statement immediately after the group stage ended.

 “This World Cup serves as a lesson to all Asian nations." Said AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa.

"The Asian teams are rather young on average so they can only get better, but what is of particular importance now is that we stay united. We have shown time and again that we can compete with the best of the global game, and with total commitment from everyone we will definitely improve ourselves and catch up on the rest of the world." He claimed.

A rallying cry for unity is as much a plea for clemency for the games administrators in the region as much as anything.

What can't be simply wished away with motherhood statements such as these is just how far off the pace Asian teams were. Apart from Iran taking Argentina to the wire and Australia showing a bit of cheek against Chile and The Netherlands, Asian teams were cruelly outclassed.

This lack of quality was encapsulated by Korea playing a clueless brand of football against a ten men Belgian team and suffering a 1-0 loss as a result.

The Koreans were unable - or unwilling - to exploit their advantage. Their football was too narrow and impatient. They didn't stretch the Belgian defence at any stage who sat back, waited for their moment and  took it. 

 

It was dumb football. Poorly coached and executed, The Koreans got exactly what they deserved.  

The AFC is the most diverse of federations, covering the greatest geographic footprint with huge political, cultural and economic variations. This is both it's great strength and weakness. The variation in quality of football across the region makes it virtually impossible to take the pulse of the game at any one time and know where it stands.

And where is China?

Whilst the most populous and powerful nation in the region remains a minnow in the AFC on the pitch the game will never really catapult itself to the status it aspires to in Asia.

Harsh lessons have been learned here in Brazil. Hopefully with the Asian Cup just about on our doorstep the challenges that FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 have thrown up can begin to be addressed immediately.

There's no time to waste.

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