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Hiddink, "Oh! Yes" Troussier, "Oh! No"

Posted April. 22, 2002 09:23,   


The Korean national soccer team coach Guus Hiddink was not even on the list of last year’s national team coaches selected by International Federation of Football History And Statistics (IFFHS) at the beginning of the year. On the other side, Japanese coach Philippe Troussier, who put the Japanese national team on the semifinals of the Confederation Cup, took the 10th rank, enjoying the `top 10` enlistment for 2 years in a row.

The decline of Hiddink continued onto the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the year’s beginning, and fans of the 2002 World Cup’s co-hosts, Korea and Japan, had mixed feelings.

However, the two commanders are recently having different looks on their faces. After recording 1 win and 2 ties in 3evaluation matches during the European field training, last month, Hiddink also beat Costa Rica by 2-0 on the 20th, wide-opening the hope for the World Cup’s final 16.

Especially, Korea is beginning to show its underlying strength attained by the stamina program, which has been applied systematically since last year, and now has a good balance between offense and defense. In brief, there is acceleration in the steps towards the best results in the history of all World Cups.

Hiddink has volunteered to live with the players for the national team’s camp training that began on the 21st at the team’s exclusive training center in Paju. He said that “he will continue on just like he has been”.

Hiddink’s popularity is also on a sharp rise. The national opinion, which criticized about the issue of his girlfriend, turned in favor of him, and besides, a FIFA authority recently said that “Hiddink is being considered to be the head coach of the world’s all-star team for the commemoration match of Spainish Real Madrid’s 100th anniversary on December 18”.

In contrast, Troussier seems little downcast. Along with so, rising star-players of the Japanese national team are being injured one after another.

Troussier left a bad impression with his utterance of `Japan’s impossibility for the final 8` last month, and he also recorded a 1-1 tie with Costa Rica in an evaluation match on the 17th, earning severe criticism.

As if he sensed such atmosphere, he said after the day’s match, “It was my mistake to choose players like Akasawara and Yanakisa for managing offense and defense on the day.”

As Korea beat the Costa Rican team on the 20th, the Japanese media attacked Troussier by saying, “What must be done? Korea is stronger than Japan. Korea easily broke into the Costa Rican defense, when Japan could not.”

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com