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“We`re Not Going to Miss World Cup Semi-Quarter Finals“

“We`re Not Going to Miss World Cup Semi-Quarter Finals“

Posted December. 04, 2001 09:05,   


"With Hwang Sun-Hong, we can do it."

Guus Hiddink, head coach of the Korean national soccer team, heaved a sigh of relief after receiving word that `Stork` Hwang Sung-Hong (33, Kashiwa Reysol) would join the team at Paradise Hotel, Seoguipo, Cheju Island in the night of Dec. 2.

The Korean team is scheduled to play with the U.S.A team belonging to the same group in next year`s World Cup on 9th, which will be the last game this year and will be the best opportunity gain a good grasp of the tactics and abilities of the opponent.

However, as it became uncertain whether Hwang Sun-Hong as well as the players in European leagues are participating in this game, Head Coach Hiddink has been struggling to form the offensive line.

Hwang Sun-Hong is an indispensable player for the offensive line of the national team, because he still retains his prime time physical strength even as an experienced veteran player. In particular, among the current national team members, he is the only player who scored against the USA team. And with big physical feature, great power and quick speed, he has been evaluated as `a best weapon` to beat the USA team playing soccer in the European style.

Hwang had scored a game-deciding goal in the Marlboro Cup at Los Angeles just after joining the national team in August, 1989, and he had participated in two evaluation games (1 draw and 1 loss) during the training camp in the U.S. in 1993.

Hwang Sun-Hong has also desired to join the national team. He won high praise from coach Hiddink in the Confederation Cup in June and in evaluation game with Nigeria in September. However, since then, he had to stay in Japan due to his thigh injury and circumstances within his team. So, Hwang must have felt a sense of impending crisis that he might fall to a bench warmer in next year`s World Cup.

Hwang Sun-Hong, who is scheduled to join the national team on 9th with Yoo Sang-Cheol, expressed his enthusiasm, saying that "I am so glad to return to the national team after a long time. I will do my best to beat the USA team making use of my experience."

Park Ji-Sung, who joined the team yesterday, is also winning confidence for Head Coach Hiddink. Seeing Park`s excellent performance linking the offensive and defensive lines properly with the indefatigable physical strength in the Confederation Cup, Hiddink had evaluated him as `a player just to be desired`. So, Park has been expected to deal with the powerful American players well. Park Ji-Sung is also showing his strong desire to win this game, which will be his first national team appearance since the Confederation Cup due to the circumstances of his team pursuing to advance to the first league.

Meanwhile, the Korean national team had a practice under the harmonious environment at Gangchang practice ground northern Seoguipo yesterday. Head Coach Hiddink said, "I am so glad to meet the players again. I will try to give a boost the team`s energy in beautiful Seoguipo city."

Yang Jong-Koo yjongk@donga.com