“Of all the unexpected lessons learnt so far at this World Cup, perhaps the biggest one is that you write Japan and South Korea off at your peril,” says award-winning Singapore coach Jita Singh, in an SMS to me from Doha.
Together with Australia, they are the three Asian teams that have qualified for the knockout stages. “Now their next opponents must be on their toes because the trio emerge as the comeback kings of Qatar,” Jita adds.
South Korea stunned, too, with a last-gasp goal to outwit the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal 2-1.
And deserving of credit are Saudi Arabia and Iran, who did not qualify but put on their best shows.