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A-Match for 26 Nations Tomorrow

Posted March. 27, 2002 08:50,   


28th (Korean time) is the `day of A-match (inter-national team match)` appointed by Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

26 out of the 32 participants of 2002 World Cup finals will hold friendly matches. Especially, Poland, U.S.A., and Portugal, which are in the final entry Group D with Korea, are to hold `World Cup rehearsals`, and it will be a good opportunity for Korea to examine the competitors’ power.

∇ Poland = Korea’s first preliminary-competitor, Poland, is to have an evaluation match with Japan at midnight on the 28th. Poland played Northern Ireland on the 14th, last month, and won by 4-1 with mostly domestic players. In the Japanese match, which is like an outpost match with Korea, Poland is to make full use of its foreign-based players.

The team will consist of 17 players belonging to foreign clubs, including `Black pearl` Emmanuel Olisadebe (Greece, Panathinaikos) and `Express GK` Jerzy Dudek (England, Liverpool), and 5 domestic-based players. Because all the best members are participating, it will be an excellent chance for the Korean team to predict results of its future match with Poland, which will be the watershed for the final 16.

∇ U.S.A. = Korea’s second competitor, U.S.A., is to hold a friendly match with Germany in Rostock, Germany, at 4:45 a.m. on the same day. The U.S. team, which claimed the CONCACAF Gold Cup title in February without the foreign-based players, is to put on the elite start-up line in the German match.

Although Claudio Reyna (England, Sunderland) is excluded due to injury, new stars like Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes) and Clint Mathis (MetroStars), and veterans like Kasey Keller (England, Tottenham) and Ernie Stewart (Netherlands, NAC Breda) are to appear.

The fact that the U.S. team is using its full force in the match with Germany, which has 6 starting members excluded, proves its determination to carry on its up-rise. U.S.A. is on a sharp rise with this year’s A-match result of 7 wins and 1 defeat, including the victory over Honduras by 4-0 and Ecuador by 1-0. The year’s only defeat came from Italy by 0-1, but the match itself was on an equal level.

∇ Portugal = Although several starting members like Luis Figo and Rui Costa cannot participate due to injury, Portugal is to face Finland in great attention. As Portugal tied with Spain by 1-1 in last year’s evaluation match in Barcelona, it seeks the year’s first A-match victory in the Finnish match.

∇ Other Big Cards = The most interesting big card among all the A-matches on the day would be the England-Italy match. Led by David Beckham and Michael Owen, `head house of soccer` England is to face `crossbar-defender` Italy, which is led by Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini, in the match of `spear and shield`.

France will test its strength with Scotland, and Brazil is to fight Yugo with returning Ronaldo.