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Posted by Daniel Cho on 06/27/2010

What a horrible day to be Korean-American. Both Korea (my motherland) and United States (my birth place and current home) crashed out of the World Cup today with losses to Uruguay and Ghana, respectively. Now I'm just waiting for the IRS to call me to tell me I did my taxes all wrong, and that I owe the government everything I own.

What an unsweet 16... Yes, I am bummed that there will be no more South Korea (or USA) games for the rest of the World Cup, but I am genuinely depressed that we lost a perfectly winnable game. So turns out, Uruguay was not as good as advertised. South Korea dominated the possession game, and had a lot more chances to score. I mean, we HAD the game...

Despite starting the game poorly by giving away the first goal, we played superbly, especially in the 2nd half, but it was our decision to stop attacking once we tied the game at 1-1, that eliminated us. We almost seemed content with the tie, and wanting to stretch this out to overtime, or penalties. Grrr... more on that in my next post.

Yes, we've achieved that goal of reaching the knockout stage, and I know I should be happy. But I've waited for so long (OK... 4 years), and it's already over just like that, a bit anti-climactic - at least that's how I feel... I mean, we only won 1 game.

Again, I will go into my analysis on the game in my next entry, but I just wanted to quickly post my thoughts, and let you know that I didn't jump off a bridge. Also, THANK YOU ALL so much for reading this section, and for your awesome, well-thought-out comments. You guys are #1.

cheers,
Dan

Now, with Korea and USA out, I'm rooting for England, Japan and Holland. How bout you?

Comments

Posted by charly on 06/27/2010

We're not at the level of the Uruguays of the world. Uruguay's goalie wouldn't make the mistakes that our goalie seems to make. Their veteran players wouldn't decide to dribble and hack in the penalty box. Their strikers, when given some time and space, don't squander their chance. And even if they do make errors, they create more chances to overcome them.

Korea's not in that league. Our goalie can't make up his mind, our veterans make boneheaded decisions, our strikers choke. And the critical difference is we're not good enough to overcome our errors or create enough opportunities to do so.

Which is why Uruguay's first goal just kills me. In almost every other aspect, Korea played well. So to gift that goal to Uruguay is unforgivable.

Could Korea have won yesterday? I suppose. But a decent team reflects on a hard fought second round match and says "Coulda, woulda, shoulda." A good team takes their chances and moves onto the quarter finals.

We deserved to lose. The better team won.

Posted by sohapilee on 06/27/2010

It breaks my heart to know that south Korea is Out :(
and I'm not even korean!

Posted by jimonee78 on 06/27/2010

You're analysis of Huh Jung Moo's decision to stop attacking after Lee Chung Yong's goal is spot on. We had momentum on our side and should have tried to put it away in regulation. Also, Lee Dong Guk's missed opportunity at the end of the game totally gutted me. I know it was only one play, but it will probably be the most vivid memory of this World Cup for me.

That being said, despite an unimpressive record of 1-2-1, they played their asses off. After watching the Korea game at Circle (Korean nightclub) in Manhattan I went over to Stout near K-town to watch the USA match still proudly wearing my Korea jersey. It was incredible how many people stopped me to congratulate Korea on an excellent World Cup and a tremendous effort vs. Uruguay. That made me feel a bit better until the U.S. lost. Then it was back to depression. The future is bright for Korea and I can't wait for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Posted by jimonee78 on 06/27/2010

Also I wanted to say, really really great job on the blog. It has been by far the most informative source regarding the Korea team during this World Cup. My Korean reading skills are poor so I am limited to English media which is woefully lacking in coverage of the Korean squad. Thank you for your insight and I truly look forward to your blog during the next World Cup.

Posted by Steve on 06/27/2010

I'm still bitter.. I still can't get over the fact that we lost. Korea dominated possession (never seem them do that before) & created some fluid "football". I want to point out few things before I return to weeping (tough luck to be korean-american).

1. Huh Jung-Moo did a terrible job of utilizing his bench. Lee Dong-Gook did not look match-fit at all.... Also, by switching to 4-4-2, we lost control of the midfield.
2. Kim Jung-Woo had a terrible game.
3. GK howler gave me a heart-attack, but slack defending & Lee Yong Pyo losing track of Luiz Suarez turned me into a lunatic.
4. I wanted to see Kim Bo Kyung(for Kim Jung-Woo) & Lee Seung Ryul(for Kim Jae-Sung) in the half-time...
5. Park Chu-Yong needs a classic #9 to be his partner.
6. Ahn Jung-Hwan & Unfit Lee Dong-Gook: complete waste of roster spot... Should have been Lee Keun-Ho, Koo Ja-Chul, & Suk Joo-Hyun (to give him experience as young striker)

Sigh, I'll continue to vent on your next post..

Posted by Joseph G on 06/27/2010

I got totally sick when I saw how Korea gave away that first goal. And till now I still couldn't get over how that goal went in. No complaints for the 2nd Uraguay goal. Beautiful, not many GK can saved it. But having said that, life goes on. So we will look forward to Brazil 2014, and hopefully, by then, I will be watching the world cup with my wife.

Dan, hope you will continue to be the correspondent for the next world cup, love your style of writing, humorous and yet real. See you in 4 yrs time!

Posted by Philosopher on 06/27/2010

It was around 1 am in Seoul when the game ended.
I couldn't go to sleep because I felt so saddened and frustrated at the outcome.

I've been watching the World Cup closely since 1986 and this has to be one of the games where Murphy's Law came in the worst way possible. It is up there with Brazil vs. France in the 1986 quarter-finals.
Reading comments by 'charly' above, you can say all you want that Uruguay is a better team based on the end score and actual goals scored, but you can't deny that soccer is a game where sometimes the results are clearly influenced by pure luck or poor refereeing. There was a clear penalty kick that should have been awarded to Korean team in the second half. Had it not been for the heavy rain, Lee Dong Guk's shot at close range would have been gone through the goal post before the Uruguayn defender had chance to clear it.

Posted by keomeri on 06/27/2010

Korea played a valiant game - would have done better with a better coach who does not give a crap about personal relationships. Do not understand his fixation with two players who are clearly only suitable for K-league / Asian football - Yeom (Yeom's father in law went to same college with Huh) and Donggook Lee. How many times did you see Lee lose possesion then stand still or miss that glorious chance in 82nd minute - or see Yeom could not hack with a trial at Blackburn - lose possession or break the rhythm in attach!! I agree with the post above that Huh should have used Seungryul Lee and Bokyong Kim - Hiddink would have done that. I think Korea progressed in spite of Huh. Unfortunately, the word is that Huh will remain coach of Korea after World Cup. Korea needs a good foreign coach - Martin Jol would be great.

Anyways,

Posted by charly on 06/27/2010

@ Philosopher:

I agree football is influenced by referees and luck (and weather). Maybe the rain affected LDG's shot. Maybe it affected JSP's header in the second half. Or our free kick in the 5th minute that hit the post. But it wasn't just raining when Korea had the ball. The bottom line is Uruguay adjusted to the rain; Korea didn't or couldn't. It's like that cliche, good teams create their own luck. Korea is clearly not there yet.

As for penalty appeals, you could also say Uruguay deserved a penalty when the Korean defender blocked a shot with his arm. And what about our goalie half walking into his own goal after catching a routine shot?

At the end of the day, the weather affected both teams and the referee had some dodgy calls for both teams. Uruguay made the adjustments it needed to win; Korea didn't. That's why Uruguay deserved to win.

I'm hopeful for the future. I think Korea is close, but I agree with keomeri. Until we get a foreign coach, we are only going to regress.

Posted by Joe on 06/27/2010

Here's a 2 part post. I was born in London, so I have English (UK) citizenship. I was hoping to support the three lions from here on out, but Germany absolutely exposed them. Which led me to the conclusion that we had a great world cup (much better than England), and we're almost there. Good defence can be built over the next four years. I wish Song Chong Gug's career didn't fall off the precipe, b/c he should have been in his prime in the RB slot. I also wish Kwak wasn't hurt, as we needed him in CB. But in the end, we need to develop more kids who relish defending, so when players get hurt (or lose form or careers collapse) others can step in. As for a No. 9, let's hope Suk Hyun Joon and others from the U-21 side develop as expected. Most countries don't have a true No. 9, but with more investment in our academies, we will find one. I just saw Mexico fall to the Argies, and in retrospect, we didn't do too bad. Yes, I'm disappointed, but I'm also more hopeful after this WC.

Posted by Joe on 06/27/2010

Part 2: thanks Dan for putting this all together. You were great. As for manager Huh, let's take the positives. He identified LCY and KSY's talents and integrated them into the setup at the right time during qualifiers. He had the guts to go w/ our next gen GK for this WC. Yes Jung had a rough WC, but he will have matured greatly from his experiences. We did the best we could w/ a limited defence. But great defences can be rebuilt. We also scored a lot this WC. Yes we missed a lot of chances, but we created a lot too. Anyway, I think we need Hong Myung Bo as the next manager, as he will integrate more kids from the U-21 side. He will also bring swagger and rebuild our defensive focus as our former best defender. I hope we focus on creating great sweepers again rather than focusing on just wingers and second strikers. Finally, if not Hong, let's go for a German coach this time (Klinsmann anyone?). We have Dutch passing down. We need German efficiency, defence and winning mindset now.

Posted by Steve on 06/27/2010

@ Joe

Am a great admirer of Hong Myung Bo, but 2014 might be too early for him. Klinsmann will be brilliant, but he has great affinity to America & I'm sure USSF will be offering him a contract at this point.

The 2nd half against Uruguay was breathtaking to watch. The Taeguk Warriors aren't about work-rate or great fitness anymore. It finally has its own brand of football, a style that proudly represents Korean Culture.

Posted by Matthew Park on 06/27/2010

Korea's Future:

It does look bright, and I am so excited for Suk Hyun Jun (Ajax) and Nam Tae Hee (Valciennees, French 1 Ligue). They already have broke out their reserve team and into the first club, but again, these are attackers. I think one of the hardest things in football is finding a relentless smart defender. I love the styles of Vidic, Terry (personal information aside) Puyol, and Mascherano. These kind of players can totally disrupt the rythmn of the opposing style's offense. I agree, Korea needs to focus on defense these next four years. We need to make them confident, smart and careful and also adding our own KOrean kimchi flavor as someone mentioned about our having our own style. I feel optimistic but at the same time, futbol is growing. Look at this world cup, it is not only us that are getting better, but Koreans are smart so I am pretty sure we will have consistentsy. WBC is in a couple of years, and we are a powerhouse in that.

Posted by harold on 06/28/2010

That match seemed perfectly winnable, especially had Park's free kick not hit the post!

We spent way too much energy getting the equalizer that the players were spent mentally, so I don't think we could've kept up the pressure, especially since our dominant effort was really caused by Uruguay's decision to defend their one goal.

But in the end, we've scored 6 goals in this WC, 3 of them from set pieces, 3 of them thanks to errors by the other team. This may be enough for a team with good defense, but when you allow an average of 2 goals per match, you can't win at this level.

So yeah, the match itself was winnable, but in the long run, we either need to really play mistake-free defense and/or get a true striker.

Posted by jadon on 06/28/2010

A quick glance at Wolfgang Stark’s Wikipedia entry reveals a man with a taste for flashing plastic at players. The two red/seven yellow card combo he showed to Chile in the 2007 U-20 World Cup semi-final resulted in him needing a police escort to get off the field safely. Always the sign of a good referee.

Posted by Philosopher on 06/28/2010

Apologies for the long reply in two parts.
part1: @ charly
I have to disagree with your claim that "Uruguay adjusted to the rain; Korea didn't or couldn't" Really? When it started to pour, you think Uruguan players thought to themselves, "gee.. it is pouring so I guess I will have to take into account the amount of increased friction between the ball and other possible effects" Well, their 'rain adjustment' failed because Korea still dominated the game throughout and broke the Uruguan defense which allowed clear open chances for goals. When LDG had the 1:1 chance with the Uruguay goalkeeper towards end of the game, was it part of the Uruguan 'rain adjustment' for the goalkeeper to not catch LDG's shot but let the ball slip away, taking into account the wet grass which would slow the ball down just in time for the Uruguan defender to clear it? Even before that, what has the 'rain adjustment' have to do with their defense letting LDG give that open shot?

Posted by Philosopher on 06/28/2010

part 2:
I never mentioned the 5th minute free kick in my first post at all, and it wasn't even raining at the time, so totally irrelevant for your 'rain adjustment' argument. And I don't consider it 'unlucky' at all since it was PJY's skill that led him to hit the goal post and nobody else's fault.

All I'm saying is that sometimes external factors that have nothing to do with skill can influence the outcome of a game. A soccer team tries to do its best, and more often than not the better team plays a better game, and the team that plays a better game wins. That's why we generally say that the team that ended up winning is the better team.
It was not the case for this match.

Posted by daniel kim on 06/28/2010

As a korean american i'm dissapointed but the future is BRIGHT. what we must do is get most of our whole 2014 wc roster play in europe. This year we only had like 6 euro players in our best 11. The aforementioned young guys from ajax or whaterver (we never hear about those guys...hhmmmm...hopefully very soon!) lee seung yeoul and kim bokyung must go to the epl (or big league) and me must get some legit defenders. we could be so sick with lcy, ki, pcy, all in their prime and the above mentioned young ones established and starting. i agree that we should get hong myung bo as a coach, he has the respect of the players, seems fair, has a good record, and was such a beast i wish he still played:)
ANYways- korean futbol is on the rise and we will have a lot of parks, kims, lees in the big leagues soon hopefully:)

Posted by charly on 06/28/2010

Philosopher: Your original post suggested that the only reason LDG's shot didn't end up in the back of the net was because of the "heavy rain." But is it possible that the only reason the ball even squeezed underneath the Uruguayan goalie was precisely because it was raining and the ball was slippery?

Your facetious (and literal) treatment of my comment about Uruguay adjusting to the rain is amusing, really. But hey what do you know, Suarez still managed to score, LDG didn't. Don't know about you, but their "rain adjustment" seemed successful to me.

Don't get me wrong, I think Korea played well (minus the boneheaded error for the first goal) and yes we had a lot of possession. And as I said before, yes maybe we could have won. But I agree with Harold: the main reason we dominated was because Uruguay sat back and allowed us to. If you honestly think the better team lost, then you were either watching a different game or are blindly (perhaps admirably) supporting your country.

Posted by Steve on 06/28/2010

@ Philosopher

Truthfully speaking, the only external factor that can determine the outcome of a game is "luck". The referee had a terrible game, but his poor decisions equaled out considering Uruguay had 2 legitimate chances to score that went against them (Ki's handball & offside call against Suarez). Korea played an excellent game, by far the best I have seen them play (aside from defense, although Cha Du-Ri had a good game), however.. ultimately, it was our undoing that cost us the game. Not having a legitimate #9 is a skill that Koreans lack. Not having a legitimate ball-winning centreback is another skill that Koreans lack.

@ Matthew Park

I have to disagree. Korea focusing on "defense" will only regress the National Team. Huh Jung Moo did well to play an "attacking" football, and I hope its academy continues to focus on this aspect.

Posted by Joe on 06/28/2010

Btw, I'm going to support Uruguay (and Holland) now. They played a very clean match. It definitely helps when their enforcer, Perez, is PCY's protector at Monaco.

@charly & steve, I agree with you. Although we were the better side in attack/aesthetics, Uruguay played perfect catennacio absorbing wave after wave of attacks. Defence is a skill ppl forget to admire.

And although I want to see more of our little brothers in Europe, I hope we support and grow the K-League even more. FC Seoul (its past manager Gunes and its academy) developed KSY, LCY and LSY. We need every K-League team to follow.

I want us to develop like the Dutch. Well supported league that develops tactically and technically superior footballers that will not only play but star in the bigger leagues.

And Steve, although I worry Hong MB is still young/inexperienced, all the other countries with young managers (Brasil, Germany, Holland) are besting those of the older generation like England, Italy and France.

Posted by Joe on 06/28/2010

As an aside, we need to figure out the white elephant problem in our footballing development. What should we do about military service? We can't keep avoiding the issue. I see four options: (1) round of 16 in WC - automatic exemption (b/c football is an incredible boost to our national image and economy), (2) Turkey's method - after a set number of caps, their footballers fulfill military duties every summer for a set number of years (keeps them in shape), (3) push back service till after retirement if in Europe (make them serve as ambassadors to the game or coaches to youth development), (4) expand military clubs to three or four and make kids on the U-17 19 or 21 teams go through with it early with the best coaching available. Basically identify our best youth members, develop them at the academy, play them on the military teams and if they don't make it give them an education and college credits. By the time they are 20/21 they won't have a career stumbling block. What do you think?

Posted by Hans on 06/28/2010

Well-fought game, with Korea looking dangerous often, but of course looking dangerous is different from being dangerous. Wish we did better with our chances, especially Lee Dong-gook's shot that went through the goalie’s legs, deflected off his instep, and rolled parallel to the goal line for- oh, about 30 seconds before being cleared. Uruguay should have had a penalty kick on the handball by Kim Jae-Sung in the Korean box. Good luck to Uruguay - they can go to the final, or at least the semifinal, as I think Suarez is the most in-form South American striker in the WC (better than that cherry-picker Higuain), and the best one in that side of the bracket.

Posted by Steve on 06/28/2010

@ Joe

Dutch coach, Bert van Marwijk isn't young or inexperienced. He coached Feyenoord to 2002 UEFA Cup, and had success in Germany with Borussia Dortmund. Joachim Low is another coach who isn't young or inexperienced. He was the brain in World Cup 2006 for Germany & he coached other club teams in (although minor) Europe. The only inexperience coach in that list is Dunga.. but really.. he is coaching Brazil. Heck, even Diego Maradona is doing well with the immense talent at his disposal. Korea doesn't have the talent to appoint inexperience coach.

We focus a lot on players needing European experience. As true as that may be, it is even more urgent that we have Korean coaches adventuring into Europe. Truthfully speaking, I don't even know if Huh Jung-Moo has UEFA badges.

Posted by Sal on 06/28/2010

I really enjoyed this blog. I hope you would consider continuing your blog about the Korea National Football Team, including the youth leagues like U21 and U23, even after the World Cup ends.

Posted by Joe on 06/28/2010

@ Steve, sorry you're right re: Bertie. I was thinking of van Basten for some reason when i wrote about Holland. Anyway, I just hope our next manager is flexible (unlike Capello or Lippi) and bloods the new generation like Loew is doing now in Germany or Hiddink did with us in 2002.

Encouraging story from the Guardian... Cha DR is flying to Glasgow today before heading home to complete a medical at Celtic. Although I think Scotchland is a terrible place for KSY to develop, it's a perfect place for Cha to play good ole kick and rush football. At the very least, if Ki doesn't move to England this season, I hope Cha takes him under his wings. As an added benefit, I hope KSY hits the weights w/ Cha. How awesome would Ki be if he had Kaka or Gerrard's frame?

Seems like the Korean newspapers weren't bluffing w/ this one. I hope Kim Jae Sung is next and makes it out to PSV.

Posted by DoriAhri on 06/28/2010

Let me start out by saying that I am still recovering from our loss, my life has been destroyed by sorrow and I feel I need to take off a month from work just to grieve. However, I am extremely proud of our taekuk warriors how they fought their hearts out; you could tell they were playing with everything they got if not more. Everything on paper said that we will be dominated, we will miserably loose yet towards the end of the 1st half and throughout the 2nd half Korea had more ball possessions, more goal chances, we clearly had more control. Therefore I have to disagree with some of the posts above how the “better” team was Uruguay and we deserve to loose (it was against Nigeria I felt we deserved to loose). It is more hurtful since I honestly think it was such a winnable game.

Yes, the first goal went in too easily and it was pretty dumb on our part, yet the second one was too beautiful. I believe what differentiates a star player is they are able to score when they are one on one with the GK we have seen it countless times with Messi, Torres, Villa, Ronaldo, Fabiano, Kaka etc. – and Suarez did just that, he was there at the right time at the right moment, he managed to maneuver, get passed the two defenders and score beautifully- whereas LDG could not and that is why he is not in par with PJS or PCY or LCY, who could have done that. That is why they are at a different plane than the rest of the Korean team members.

Having said that star players alone is not always enough to win a game – see what happened to England, Germany still won the game with “lesser star players”, and with more team play, more fire, more determination, more team spirit. I think against URU we had all of that – apart from the big hole in the defense at the beginning we had great team play, great determination +헝그리정신, yet luck was just not on our side which you absolutely need at such a close game.

I cried with Cha Duri but I am extremely hopeful for our team in 2014. Dan, please keep us updated, thanks for sharing your knowledge, I really enjoyed reading everything you wrote.

Posted by Philosopher on 06/29/2010

@ charly
In your own words, you said "The bottom line is Uruguay adjusted to the rain; Korea didn't or couldn't."
The comment I made about your 'rain adjustment' theory is facetious to me and most other people, but it is in not any way facetious to you if you really meant your above statement. Again, you haven't given any example of how Uruguay's "rain adjustment" was successful. Did you personally interview Suarez after the game, did he tell you how he thought about the rain and hit the ball deeper because there was rain? Or were you able to just look at the TV screen and see that the "rain adjustment" difference in Suarez's shot from others he took while it didn't rain?
Seriously, I will try contacting Korean media and enlighten them about your 'rain adjustment' theory because nobody has put this theory forward.

Posted by Philosopher on 06/29/2010

I have to disagree with the statement that "the main reason we dominated was because Uruguay sat back and allowed us to". So Uruguay was OK with giving good scoring chances when they were leading 1-0 and 2-1? Well, it clearly failed because LCY scored the tie. Even after getting back on lead with 2-1, their defense failed giving LDG clear shot and other good chances.
Again, it is nonsensical and unintentionally laughable to say that, after team A scores a goal against team B, team B says team A dominated and score a goal only because we allowed them to.

Posted by Hans on 06/29/2010

I just want to post verbatim what an Uruguayan colleague of mine wrote me after the game (in 2 parts):
"You would be surprised to hear what the players were saying to the local media about the Koreans, as if they had just beaten some super-human players in terms of physical conditioning and discipline. The Uruguayan players were dogging in the second half. There's a difference between giving the ball to the other team because you know they cannot do much with it - as in the first half - and giving it away simply because you are overwhelmed, as in the second half. The only explanation I could think of was that they were exhausted, so when Korea equalized it looked like it was a matter of time until they score the second." (continued in next post)

Posted by Hans on 06/29/2010

(part 2 of quote)
"...Yet a miracle happened and they recovered their strength once they needed to score again - which means that they were relying too much on what they thought was an unbeatable defence up to that point. Then again there's quite a mental component to fatigue, so probably it was a mix of both. Korea's mistake (apart from not having a real keeper) was probably not maintaining the pressure right after they score, when their opponent was close to KO." (Sound of Huh Jung-moo smashing his head into wall repeatedly)

Posted by harold on 06/29/2010

I think with 2010, we've finally graduated the 'participant' stage and have placed our selves in the 'competitor' stage.

We still need to straigthen our defense in order to be a solid competitor, but that's doable and it's not that big of a leap compared to what's needed to get to the next step, the 'contendor' stage.

Get us somebody with the scoring instincts of Rooney, at least, and we can be a legit contender.

Of course we'll have ways to go until we are considered a dominant side, but it's encouraging to know that we've passed the stage of being 'happy to be here.'

Posted by charly on 06/29/2010

Philosopher: Yes, Uruguay allowed Korea to dominate, meaning they sat back and allowed Korea to attack while they waited for chances to counter. Sometimes good teams do that. It's fairly common. In fact, this team with yellow jerseys does it quite well. I think they're called Brazil.

Your issue is that you equate possession (or what you call "domination") with success/excellence. I recognize that Korea had lots of possession and shots on goal. But the objective isn't to have possession; the objective is to score. And an excellent team (with excellent strikers) if given the kind of chance that LDG had, would have buried it.

You want laughable? How about your claim that LDG would have scored had it not been for the rain. Which is almost as laughable as your literal interpretation of my comment that Uruguay adjusted to the rain. Sure, I interviewed Suarez telepathically and he told me he took out his invisible barometer to adjust for the difference in air pressure due to the rain.

Posted by Honky Tonk on 06/29/2010

Korea is one of the best team in asia if not the best. (let's see what japan can do.)

BUT...many people are saying that korea is good EXCEPT:
GK is weak
defence is weak
don't have good strikers

then is it only korea midfield is good? and if only the midfield is good then can we really say korea is a good team?

i think maybe korea played better attacking football than uruguay in that match. (except for the second suarez goal wow that's amazing) BUT overall uruguy is still a better team.

good luck to uruguay. hope you get to final.

Posted by Matthew Park on 06/29/2010

For the comment above, I believe Korea's strikers are pretty good in getting set pieces, taking shots, and being in the right place (we have the opportunities in every game). But its the ability to finish we are lacking, and that is what counts. Yes, under our breathes, we really mean just give us 1 Korean Villa, Tevez, or Van Persie. But its all pure imagination. I believe we also have the future of Park Chu Young to be excited about. This was really his breakout year scoring a hot streak of goals for Monaco and kind of taking that chip off his shoulder. I must admit I was impressed after my feelings of him in the Swiss 06 Game. Park Chu Young has 1 last world cup, and he has 4 more of possible experience in Monaco and who knows maybe with a stronger team. Hopefully, Ki Seung Yong also becomes more mature with confidence passes, start shooting free kicks, and scoring our needed long range goals. We have raised the bar for Korean Soccer, lets see if we can raise it higher.

Posted by Joe on 06/29/2010

I was going through some WC withdrawal today. It helped to watch our players land and get a nice reception back home.

And I was really looking forward to watching Japan lose (I know it's unhealthy, but I don't want them to do better than us). But sadly, the way Japan lost on penalties was heartbreaking, and I ended up feeling sorry for them, which didn't cheer me up at all.

So I decided to compile three clips of Suk Hyun Jun, who Ajax see as the real deal. And they know how to develop strikers (discounting Mido of course). Hopefully, he becomes the next Suarez, Ibra or Huntelaar.

It's nice to know many in Amsterdam are really excited about him. It's also encouraging to know that he went from the youth academy/reserves to training with the first squad within a couple of months after arriving in January. So do enjoy everyone!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKcRMbau77E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pazUoX2zFrk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUfQabDQJ-0

Posted by Anonymous on 06/30/2010

@charly
Again you've avoided answering what is 'rain adjustment' and failed to give any specific example of this. For those new to this post, charly claims that Korea lost because, direct quote below
"The bottom line is Uruguay adjusted to the rain; Korea didn't or couldn't."
Making outlandish claims without anything substantial exposes yourself for who you are. And I'm glad you've further exposed yourself with the statement that you think my view that rain had nothing to do LDG's late goal shot being cleared by Uruguan defender at last second is 'laughable'. Obviously, you don't live in Korea because my view is the view of many if not most Koreans living here. This idea was originated by the former Korean soccer player and coach turned sportscaster Cha Bum Geun. During the live broadcast on SBS, Mr.Cha commented that had it not been for the rain, LDG's shot would have scored. Laugh all you want.

Posted by Philosopher. on 06/30/2010

Forgot to enter my 'Name' in the post I submitted above

Posted by Steve on 06/30/2010

After re-watching the group stage & game against Uruguay.. Korea really missed Kwak Tae-Hee's presence in the middle. Lee Jung-Soo scored 2 goals, but aside from that.. he was absolutely pathetic throughout the whole tournament. The guy just doesn't have any awareness & always error-prone. He did not look in sync with his partner & rest of the backline either.

Posted by Steve on 06/30/2010

@ Philosopher

I'm surprised that you took that quote literally. Let's be honest.. weather withstanding, LDG shanked it. Plain and simple. As far as I can tell, based on his playing days in Middlesborough, he could have easily blasted that into thin air even in perfect condition.

Also, listening to Cha Bum Geun is like listening to Alexi Lalas(or John Harkes in play by play). He's a legend & once a great player in Germany but as a broadcaster, it is difficult to take him seriously (and to be fair, all Korean broadcasters).

Posted by Hans on 06/30/2010

Just saw the Suk Hyun-Jun clips (thank, Joe) and read some stories about him. Seems like the real deal, and he embodies both the potential and the maddening backwardness of Korean football. Such a great talent should not have had to go off on his own to try out for a team in Holland, but otherwise he would have been stuck behind inferior senior players on Korea's youth teams, then funnelled into Seoul FC or other establishment teams. Korean society is pretty rigid in its seniority system, and people in any kind of group setting (military, company, school, or sports team) are bound by it to a greater degree than people in the US. Being special or talented only invites more hazing if you don't "pay your dues". Expect him to have haters in the KFA establishment, as this kind of thing is looked down on. Park Ji-sung would never have made it onto the 2002 team if it were not for Hiddink, because he had the guts to bypass the establishment and go play in Japan.

Posted by captain park on 06/30/2010

@ steve

I agree. LDG is well past his prime and although its a shame he didnt get his chance at his peak in 2006, he is the last player you would want to take goal scoring opportunities (other than the rare volley). Given the world class pass from js park that led to the goal scoring opportunity, only a goal would have done that pass justice.

Re: the weather argument. Yes Korea had their opportunities but so did Uruguay. Yes LDG's shot may have gone in if it wasnt raining. But then can you also say that suarez's goals wouldnt have gone in if it wasnt raining? The korean papers wrote about the "advantage" that we would have in rainy conditions as we play the ball more on the ground. We were not able to use this advantage we supposedly had..there is no use complaining about the rain & discussing "what if" situations.

It is because of commentators(& others) like Cha who come up with excuses all the time that korea will be unable to rid themselves of their tag as mere participant

Posted by harold on 06/30/2010

re: LDG's shot

it was mis-kicked, plain and simple. Rain or no rain, it didn't get off right, and that's what Cha said although he could've attributed it to rain, for the simple fact that Lee couldn't quite kick it right.

Knowing LDG, if it wasn't for the rain, it would've rocketed above the crossbar, so I think rain didn't matter one bit. ;)

Posted by harold on 06/30/2010

re: Hans

Hiddink 'finding' Park Ji-Sung is a myth. He was first 'found' by Cha in his soccer camp, then by Huh who got him to a university, then by Kyoto who actually played him professionally.

Now, it is entirely probable that Park may not have made the national team despite playing professionally in Japan and being recognized by Cha and Huh, but if you were to give credit as to who 'found' him, it should be Huh since he's the one that arranged the scholarship.

Posted by Joe on 07/01/2010

@ Hans, no problem. Glad you enjoyed those clips. And it's not only Korea that has a pay your dues/heirarchy problem. It's every country as footballers vie for limited spaces.

Look at England's problem in the WC this year. Seniority stifled the younger generation that were in form. And look at Italy, where Cassano can't get on the team. Or David Villa became Spain's best striker despite being overlooked by every club b/c of his size (I think he had to start off at Real Zaragoza).

And we should give coach Huh credit for first spotting Park JS and bringing him into the set up before Hiddink cemented his place.

Every country has politics to deal with. And every country misjudges talent. As long as we can quickly adjust for mistakes along the way, I can live with our Sun-Hu-Bae structure. We always have team unity and it shows on the pitch. That above all else is paramount and a point of pride in our teams. I rather have what we have than what Holland inevitably goes thru.

Posted by Hans on 07/01/2010

Harold and Joe,

I didn't know it was Huh who discovered Park JS, but my point is that he was not highly regarded in Korea and was "too young", and he did show a maverick streak in going to Japan. I do remember him playing in a 3-0 win over Nigeria in an Olympic team friendly (or something), assisting on a Seol Ki-Hyeon goal, way before 2002, so he was in the system.

The team unity thing is sort of tricky - yes, we want there to be clear leadership and a sense of responsibility to the rest of the squad, and chemistry matters in any sport, but in the player development process, it seems we have too much invested in getting chances to the older guys first. It may not be an exclusively Korean soccer problem (On the Red Sox, Terry Francona's maddening loyalty to his starters is a similar situation.) but I've seen it happen too much in real life to discount the damage it does and its systematic nature.

Posted by Hans on 07/01/2010

But I agree, the Sun-Hu-Bae (seniority) structure is better than what we see in Holland all the time, and what we saw from England and (gulp) France this WC. I seriously think some of these guys have brain damage.

I guess the baseline Korean system/mentality is what it is, and those who would overcome it and be outstanding just have to demonstrate that spark of initiative and pioneering spirit, as Suk Hyun-Jun did. Bodes well for his future.

Posted by Honky Tonk on 07/01/2010

@ Philosopher:
I am Hongkonger, i love asian football and i wanted korea and japan to do well. very sad they are both out but as an asian, i'm also VERY PROUD of their achievments.
let me explain to you the 'rain adjusment' thing. It rain on both korea and uruguy right? so after the game if you or your sports announcers say 'oh korea could of won if only it didnt rain', that sounds like weak excuses. maybe korea was affected by rain but of course uruguay also was affected by rain!! as captain park said above, you can say rain prevented that guy from scoring but you could also make up similar 'what if' situations for uruguy. BECAUSE IT WAS RAINING ON BOTH TEAMS!!!
if you keep saying 'he woudl of scored if it didn't rain' you sound like a person who is just making excuses. PLEASE STOP MAKING EXCUSES! korea played well and you should be proud.
korea didn't lose because of rain, they lost because they couldn't take advantage of their chances and uruguay did. trying to blame rain is silly.

Posted by jcsolid on 07/01/2010

to DAN:

As a korean who reads/watches both US and Korean media coverage of the world cups, obviously the korean media gives you tons of insights and news about the korean team, but you are doing a great job covering the korean team during these world cups. ESPN commentators, especially ALEXI LALAS tends to be too pro-american(understandably) and it gets REALLY annoying how much he lacks knowledge on the other teams. In contrast, Roberto Martinez has been a HUUUGE plus to the espn worldcup alalysis team. His uncanny knowledge of the teams is definitely a breath of fresh air. (He also had nothing but admiration and respect for TEAM KOREA!!). Anyways, kudos to people like you and Roberto who are making ESPN more of a legitimate source for futbooooooool!!

Posted by H on 07/01/2010

Jungwoo Kim is the worst player I've seen in the WC.

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