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Prospects of Korea facing Japan at WBC tournament in 6 years

Prospects of Korea facing Japan at WBC tournament in 6 years

Posted July. 11, 2022 14:17,   

Updated July. 11, 2022 14:17


At the World Baseball Classic (WBC), which will be held in six years, Korea will play head-to-head against Japan from the first round of the tournament.

On Friday, the Major League Baseball (MLB) secretariat confirmed and released the 5th WBC pools, which will be held starting March 8 next year. Accordingly, Korea is grouped with Pool B countries including Japan, China, Australia, and a country to be advanced through preliminary rounds. Pool B countries will play the first-round match at Tokyo Dome on March 9-13 next year.

A game that attracts the most attention from baseball fans is by far the Korea-Japan match. It is the first time in 14 years that Korea will play against Japan in the first round of the WBC since the second tournament in 2009. Back then, Korea lost to Japan 2-14 in the first qualifying round but Korea won 1-0 in the seed match. In the 3rd and 4th tournaments, the two countries were in different pools and Korea was eliminated in the first round, ridding a further chance of a re-match.

Next year’s WBC is expected to be an important gauge for Korean baseball, which lost face greatly at the Tokyo Olympics last year. KBO President Heo Goo-yeon who took office last March, emphasized this point as well, “In order for Korean baseball to enhance its international competitiveness, it needs to take a leap forward next year using the WBC as a springboard.” He also added, “To that end, Tommy Edman (St. Louis Cardinals) and Dane Dunning (Texas Rangers) of Korean descent playing actively in the MLB, can also be included in the national team roster.”

As President Heo is very determined, the KBO is planning to rush setting up a new technical committee to prepare for the WBC and expedite the appointment of the national team coach. "The list of the technical committee will be announced next week, and the committee will decide a coach for the national team." Unlike the national team for the Asian Games, which had the full-time coach at the helm, the WBC national team is likely to be headed by a professional team coach.