Out of all the teams who Taiwan were grouped with in the Asian Games I thought Hong Kong would be the one side who would be the most closely matched to Taiwan’s level.
Palestine and Indonesia were expected to be strong opponents, and Laos were expected to be slightly easier, but the Hong Kong game was looking to be the tightest match for Taiwan. It was a game Taiwan needed to win to have any real hope of getting into the second round.
Hong Kong flew out the traps all guns blazing
Hong Kong came flying out of the traps and looked determined to get a win that would put them in a good position of making it into the next round. That determination paid off after only four minutes when they went 1-0 up from a long Rory Delapesque throw.
Launched into the box, somehow there were two free Hong Kong players stood right in front of Taiwanese keeper Pan. It was odd, where the hell were the markers, anyway the Hong Kong attacking player just had to nod it past Pan and that put Hong Kong a goal to the good after only four minutes.
It got better and better for Hong Kong, but went from bad to worse, to a bloody nightmare for Taiwan. Roughly ten minutes later a lovely ball was played through to the splendidly named Jorge to run through onto a through ball, go one on one with Pan and calmly slot it past Taiwan’s only standout player from the tournament so far.
The third came from another long throw and prompted another tap in, the fourth was a little similar to the second, through ball down the side with Hong Kong’s attacking player latching onto it, and playing it across the goal for a spawny FIFA style tap in goal.
That put Taiwan 4-0 down at half time. The game was over in 45 minutes.
Taiwan attempted to save face in the second half
Taiwan battled hard to save face in the second half but the damage was already done, which is unfortunate because they opened the tournament so well, if somewhat a bit fortunately to get a positive result against a strong Palestine side.
Thankfully no more goals were conceded by Taiwan but they again offered nothing as an attacking force which should be worrying. Impotent explains it.
Taiwan set up to play the same way every game
Taiwan set up with the same formation and tactics for every match they’ve played so far at the Asian Games, and so far it hasn’t yet worked. It seems odd that after two games of not working that something different wouldn’t be tried against Hong Kong, but Taiwan came out and tried to play with the exact set up and tactics as they did against Palestine and Indonesia.
I think one of the big reasons why Taiwan have stuck to the same tactics and ideas is because of the insane schedule implemented by the hosts, with Taiwan practically having a match every two days it must be near impossible for the management staff to change the tactics, formation or ideas.
Not many players have stood out for Taiwan, the two lads at centre back Wang Rui and Cheng have done well, and Pan in goal has been outstanding despite conceding 8 goals.
Datong and Taipower let Taiwan down
Datong and Taipower are the biggest sides in Taiwan and as far as I’m aware these two sides don’t do anything to nurture footballing talent in Taiwan, I could be wrong and if I am please leave me a message to let me know. But I believe they don’t run any kind of kids football or run any youth teams.
Not many teams who play in the Taiwan Premier League have youth teams, most players who come through the disorganized and disjointed ‘system’ in Taiwan have either played through school and university or have played for a privately run football club/school.
I understand that teams in the Taiwan Premier League may not have the resources to run youth teams, but if any of them stand a chance of running them it has to be Taipower and Datong as both clubs are the only two sides in all of Taiwan who have been paying players full time ‘wages’ for years now.
Without any kind of youth system other than playing for school teams, university teams, or private clubs then Taiwan won’t improve because where are the next generation of players coming from?
No youth league hinders youngsters
What was clearly evident in the game between Hong Kong and Taiwan is Hong Kong’s youngsters clearly have a better level of competition from an early age. There were things Hong Kong’s players did that should be natural to an international footballer at this point in time that Taiwanese players still need to think about or learn.
There was one point in the match that really made this stand out for me, Taiwan had the ball in the second half and were breaking on a counter attack. The bloke with the ball was aiming to play a through ball to his teammate making an attacking run. The runner never once checked where or when the pass was made, or had a quick look to see where the ball was, he just kept running forward Forrest Gump style and ran away from the ball.
This kind of thing would be ironed out at an early age if kids had a youth league they could play in on a weekly basis and a youth league would raise the level of competition and give those Taiwan Premier League sides a place to go to check on players coming through creating a pathway from youth to senior level. It’s vitally fundamental that Taiwanese kids get a chance to play competitively earlier in life or they’ll continue to fall further behind other countries who give kids a chance to play competitive football earlier in life, and don’t rely on the school or university systems to provide this.
It’s evident how vital Taiwan’s professional players have been in the recent progress
Taiwan’s professional players aren’t playing in this competition because of club commitments, and it shows how crucial they have been to Taiwan’s recent upturn in form. Led by the mighty Chen Po-Liang who captains Hangzhou Greentown in China’s League One.
Without Taiwan’s few professional players in the side they have looked poor, and struggled to compete against every side they have come up against. On the flipside this really shows those guys who are currently playing in the Taiwan Premier League what it takes to make it professional. It shows how far they need to go and how hard they need to work at it if they want to become like Chen Po-Liang or Chen Hao-Wei and get the chance to join a professional club in China.
Other than Crystal Palace’s Will Donkin there isn’t any other Taiwanese player currently coming through to replace these guys playing in professional leagues. If Taiwan can’t bring through any more players like Chen Po-Liang or Chen Hao-Wei then Willy Donks is going to have a lot of pressure on his tiny shoulders to drag Taiwan through games like Chen Po-Liang does at times.
Taiwan are now likely eliminated
I don’t have time to work out the maths involved in the group at this stage. The group however looks like this:
Palestine 7 Hong Kong 6 Indonesia 3 Taiwan 1 Laos 0
In my opinion that is Taiwan out of the competition now, Hong Kong could do them a favour because they still need to play both Indonesia and Palestine, and if Hong Kong beat Indonesia then that would put Hong Kong to 9 points and Indonesia would still have 3, but Indonesia still need to play Laos and it is expected that Indonesia will beat Laos.
Taiwan also still need to play against Laos, but if Taiwan end up in third place in the group somehow the result against Laos gets taken away anyway which would leave them with only 1 point in the best third placed group. So even if results go in Taiwan’s favour now I can’t see them getting through even if the maths claims there is still potentially a way for it to happen, it won’t to be perfectly honest.
I’ve stopped hoping for a Taiwan win – I now just want a goal!
I thought Taiwan were going to perform better than they have at the Asian Games. The first game got the hopes raised further by fighting to get a promising draw against a tough opponent like Palestine, however two 4-0 defeats have punched the hope of Taiwan getting to the second round right out of me.
With Taiwan mustering less than ten shots in three matches, and scoring no goals; the hope now is that I just see them score a goal. 1 goal will do, but more than 1 would be lovely. I’m beyond caring if they win or lose now, just get a goal lads and that will do.
So the Asian Games hasn’t went well at all for Taiwan, as they went into the tournament with optimism high of doing well, they have so far played 3, lost 2, drew 1, had one fella sent off, and haven’t looked like scoring in any game they’ve played.
We have to pray that Gary White doesn’t join Hong Kong after this amid conflicting reports that he has, or he hasn’t because the future looks bleak again without him at the helm.