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We Cannot Wait Another 4 Years.

Posted June. 11, 2002 00:40,   


The match against Portugal has become a matter of life and death.

The unsatisfactory match against the US has halted the advance into the round of 16, but the nation`s dream is not yet frustrated. There is still a match left against Portugal. Regardless of the result of US-Poland match which will be held simultaneously, if Korea wins the match against Portugal, we are very likely to join the round of 16.

Before the opening of the World Cup, most experts evaluated the Portuguese team to be much stronger than the Korean team, and had expected a loss for the Korean team. However, after the games have started, many experts changed their minds.

During its first match against the US, the Portugal team has exposed many blind points. Louis Figo, who is the leads the van of their attack has been oppressed by American midfielders and hasn`t had a chance to boast his flexible dribble and passes. Also Pauletta in the vanguard and Finto in the center couldn`t give their full plays.

Their defense had more weak points. Right side of the Portugeus foreback line was penetrated several times by Landon Donovan and Brian McBride. Furthermore, after losing some points their concentration was dispersed to allow the space to opponent`s attackers.

This means that the Korean team with physical strength and speed can fight the clash against Portugal without being shoved around. Also the Potugeus players do not outsize the Korean players, so there`s no physical handicap for Korean players. With aggressive tackles of midfielders and defenders, we are not disadvantaged. However, the set-play with Figo who is superb at free-kicks and corner-kicks is a threat, so the team has to mark the opponents man-to-man, and block the passes.

The World Cup this year has shown unusual events where strong teams were beaten by weak teams and the objective ranking does not have much meaning. The Portuguese team that had been expected to win the game is not the absolute strong team and the Korean team with very low ranking is not the weak team any more.

For the Korean team, the match against Portugal is the bout where the pride as the hosting country is at stake. Japan has won a match and scored even, with a match against a weak team, Tunisian team left, so they can easily make it to the second round. If the Korean team fails, the Japanese team will be the strongest leader of Asian soccer. Now the Korean players have to give all they have got, so that there wouldn`t be any regrets.

Dong-Keun Keum gold@donga.com