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Rivals Japan and South Korea vie for Olympic medal

india Updated: Aug 11, 2012 09:37 IST

AP
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Regional rivals Japan and South Korea meet on Friday in Wales to battle for an Olympic bronze medal -- and new rights to the title of Asia's top footballing nation.

While political tensions between the two neighbors may have cooled in recent decades -- they co-hosted the 2002 World Cup -- competition on the pitch has only got sharper as the stature of both has risen in the global game.

South Korea has never won an Olympic award before, while Japan's sole success came 44 years ago, when it got a bronze, the last time that an Asian football team won a medal at the Olympics.

Both nations were well beaten in the semifinals of London 2012 -- Brazil pushed past South Korea 3-0, while Japan downed Mexico 3-1.

The last time the two teams met in a tournament was the 2011 Asian Cup, when Japan won on penalties in the semifinals. It went on two claim the trophy for a record fourth time.