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“Korea Will Surprise the World”

Posted May. 02, 2002 09:19,   


“There will be several secret sessions during the Seoguipo field training, so please do not fly a helicopter.”

The Korean national soccer team’s manager Guus Hiddink (55), who leads every interview with witty speech, said another joke while explaining the selection of the 23 players in the World Cup final entry and future plans at Korea Football Association’s conference hall on the 1st. He was referring to the end of last year, when a broadcasting helicopter appeared during the Jeju field training.

Then, he immediately overwhelmed the press interview room with his unique confidence. “We will do our best to surprise the world,” said he.

His topic during the day’s interview was `brightness`. It meant that the World Cup and the Korean soccer’s future are as bright as the lighting of the conference room.

Hiddink said, “Soccer will continue even after the World Cup. I am recently feeling the Korean soccer’s potentiality all over again,” and explained that for Korea’s future, 3 rookies including striker Choi Sung-Kuk, defender Yeo Hyo-Jin (both Korea Univ.), and GK Yeom Dong-Kyun (Junnam) will especially be joining the Seoguipo field training from the 2nd.

-Explain in detail about the preparation plan for the time until the World Cup.

“Physical and strategic training will continue, and we will be working on adjusting our weaknesses. Besides, there will be evaluation matches with the world’s renowned teams like Scotland (16th), England (21st), and France (26th), but we won’t be hurt even if we lose. Actually, fighting these teams will give us a big opportunity to leap onto a higher level. What I want to emphasize is that the players are confident enough to put out all their best against any team.”

-Yoon Jung-Hwan and Ahn Jung-Hwan barely made the entry, and Lee Dong-Kuk and Koh Jong-Su were excluded after all…

“First of all, the two Jung-Hwans are full of potentials. But Ahn had fell behind in terms of stamina and technique, because he constantly missed his team-games. Yoon’s fatal blow was that his team had stepped down in the minor league. Also, he had troubles maintaining high-quality performance in the minor league. But the both displayed impressive actions in the recent trainings.

Lee faithfully participated in training, despite his stardom. So, it was a difficult decision, but I couldn’t help it because of the limited entry. The same goes for Koh, who failed to use the given opportunity in last year’s Confederation Cup. As the two are still young, they can find other opportunities even after the World Cup.”

-If you predict Korea’s group league outcome at this point…

“There are not too many teams, which win all 3 games in the preliminary. I have full confidence in the players, but do not be disappointed even if Korea loses in the future preparation matches. Even Netherlands was cornered out, recording a 0-0 tie in the first World Cup match with Belgium, even after winning complete victory against Nigeria and Paraguay in evaluation matches just before the 1998 France World Cup. But we didn’t freak out, because we had confidence. Besides, the rest of the world is underestimating Korea’s chance with the final 16, and when we do our very best we will surprise the world.”

-Korea Football Association’s president Jung Mong-Jun recently expressed his intention to remain you in office even after the World Cup…

“I want to concentrate only on the World Cup right now. President Jung’s intention is perhaps for the Korean soccer’s long-term advancement. I am happy in that sense.”

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com