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“Korea, High Possibilities for 16 Finalist Team“

Posted December. 01, 2001 13:26,   


The prospect for Korea to join the 16 finalists, which will be strongly influenced by the draw, turned out `rosy`.

Prior to the draw ceremony for 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan in BEXCO in Busan on Dec. 1, international soccer experts and the press anticipated the high possibility of Korea to join the final 16 finalists.

German reporter Loge Schulze (51), who has observed the Korean games without missing a single game since Korea joined the final entries for the first time in Mexico World Cup, 1986, said "Korea has been defeated by the physical strength of Europe teams even though its players had excellent skills and team strategy. However, since the worldly renown director Hiddink is training the team, the possibilities are very high." He also emphasized that " thanks to the enthusiastic cheers of the home fans and the perfect adaptability, the host team plays the game with over 50 percent of winning chance."

Jung Mong-Jun, vice president of FIFA and chairperson of Korean Football Association confidently assured in the press conference that "no hosting country has failed to join the 16 finalists in the history. France had no significant winning record until 1994 but won the championship in 1998. We can make it as well." In terms of the draw on Dec. 1, Mr. Jung said, "every draw is a good draw." wishing a good luck to Korea.

Johan Cruijff, `soccer emperor` of Netherlands who is visiting Korea as a drawer, also said, "Korea will yield good result if they trust and support director Hiddink."

The most concerns lie in the draw of the second group that assigns at least one European team to a group.

Former director of Korean soccer team Cha Bum-Geun said, " among the nations without having a seed, we need to avoid Portugal and England. Sweden is also evaluated as stronger than England or Portugal.", anticipating that the result of the draw of the second group is more important.

However, some indicated that we cannot only wish for a luck in the draw. They say `Luck is just a luck` and reiterated the word of Hiddink, "there is no Europe jinx any more. We will fight with any opponent with our own skill."

Jong-Koo Yang bae2150@donga.com