Preview: Bronze medal match: South Korea vs. Japan

Preview: Bronze medal match: South Korea vs. Japan
© PA Photos
Sports Mole previews Friday's men's Olympic football bronze medal match between South Korea and Japan.

South Korea and Japan both suffered disappointment in their respective semi-final clashes on Tuesday, but both sides still have the chance to gain an Olympic medal this summer.

The two sides have endured a bitter rivalry throughout their history, with one set to end their search for a medal which has long eluded them. It is 44 years since Japan last won a medal in the men's competition, while South Korea have yet to claim one.

Although the relationship between the two countries has become calmer in recent decades, there is still underlying ill-feeling after the battle for the 2002 World Cup – which was hosted by both sides after an agreement could not be reached.

Both enter the match in good form, with South Korea on an unbeaten 14-game run prior to their loss to Brazil, while Japan had won every game this summer – and were yet to concede – before their 3-1 defeat to Mexico in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Korea were eliminated from the competition after losing 3-0 to Brazil, who have long been considered as the favourites for the gold medal.

Both sides have no injury concerns ahead of the bronze medal encounter at the Millennium Stadium and are expected to remain unchanged, although Korea could recall Park Chu-young to their forward line.

Possible lineups:

South Korea: Lee; Oh, Yun, Kim Y, Hwang; Ki S, Kim B, Koo J, Ji D; Kim H, Park C

Japan: Gonda; Tokunaga, Sakai, Yoshida, Suzuki; Ohgihara, Higashi, Yamaguchi, Kiyotake; Otsu, Nagai

Sports Mole says: 1-2 (Japan to claim bronze)

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Stuart Pearce
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