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14th Is `the Day of A-Match`

Posted February. 06, 2002 09:23,   


The Korean national soccer team recorded a disappointing performance of 1 victory, 1 tie, and 3 defeats during the CONCACAF Gold Cup, due to lack of decisive playing and focus on defense. However, the team’s head coach, Guus Hiddink, affirmed that "The situation will be different once the foreign-based players, including the European ones, join the team." This will be confirmed on the 14th.

`A-match day`, on which Korea and the other 3 competitors of Group D have evaluation games, will take place on the 14th. Also, Korea-Uruguay, U.S.A-Italy, Portugal-Spain, Poland-Northern Ireland matches will be performed on the same day.

The Korean team will move to South America after taking a short rest in San Diego on the 6th, and is to seek new possibilities with additional players like Sul Gi-Hyun (Belgium), Shim Jae-Won (Frankfurt, Germany), Lee Yim-Seang (Buchon SK), and Shin Dong-Kun (Yonsei Univ.), as it fights 2-time World Cup winner Uruguay.

The national team’s most important concern is the `two-top system`, which was pointed out as the biggest problem during the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Sul Gi-Hyun, who has good breakthrough capability, will use previous post-play styles, including Kim Do-Hoon and Lee Dong-Kuk. Although Sul’s European team did not give a definite answer yet, the Korea Football Association is not expecting any problems, as many European based professional players will join their own national team for the A match.

Also for defense, Shim Jae-Won, who is currently playing in the Bundesliga, known for its power and speed, will join the team with new air in the previous line-up. J-League based players and Ahn Jung-Hwan, who is currently fighting for survival in the Italian league, are excluded from the draft list.

Being more confident than ever after the Gold Cup championship, the U.S. team is to play the renowned `defense-soccer` team, Italy, in Catania, Italy. If the U.S. confirms the second place in the World Cup group, it will most probably play Italy in the quarterfinals. The team is calling in its European based players like Earnie Stuart and Joe Max Moore to fill its `best 11`.

Portugal will face a difficult rival, Spain, in Barcelona. All the super star players, such as Luis Figo, Rui Costa, and Nuno Gomes, are to appear. Spain is also announcing a `big bang` as its veteran players, including `Golden Boy` Raul, Enrique, and Hierro, as rookies like Tristan will be leading the team to victory.

Poland is to fight Northern Ireland in an evaluation match on the same day. Before that, Poland will also play a friendly match with Faeroe Islands on the 11th.

`Matches on the 14th` are, of course, only the beginning. U.S.A. will face Ecuador on March 11, and Germany on March 28. After playing a couple of evaluation matches in March (competitor, not yet decided), Portugal will face Brazil on April 18. Poland will also fight Japan (March 28) and Rumania (April 18).

Korea is also to wrap-up the World Cup preparation by playing Finland (March 21), Turkey (March 27), Costa Rica (April 20), China (April 27), England (May 21), and France (May 26).

Keuk-In Bae yjongk@donga.com · Jong-Koo Yang bae2150@donga.com