Go to contents

Now Comes the Final Shot

Posted June. 28, 2002 23:09,   


Who’s Gonna Be the Final Legend?

On June 29, 2002 at the World Cup Stadium in Daegu City, Korea and Turkey have to decide who will grab the bronze medals.

Prior to this World Cup, Korea wished for just one winning in the main matches. Surprisingly, however, Korea made powerful European opponents pack their bags: Portugal, Italy and Spain, and advanced to the semifinal. Likewise, Turkey made its appearance in 48 years, first ever since the ’54 World Cup in Switzerland. The Turkish team also surprised the world by its landing in the semifinal match.

▽It’s not a match of underdogs = Both teams are eager to win in the upcoming match. Guus Hiddink, the coach heading Korea, vocalized, “It’s a down-sized final match. The third spot conveys meaning and importance to us. I will pitch in our best members and win.” In the meanwhile, his counterpart, Senol Gunes, is honing his team’s determination for victory, saying “No second chance.” Actually, people expected this match would be a friendly one in nature. They thought bench members of the teams would be entry members. Now, it will be a sink or swim type of match.

▽Whose “waist” stronger = Victory depends on which team dominates the middle field. The two teams lack world stars. But, both boast of physical strength lasting throughout the whole 90-minute period, speed, pressing defense line and ability to make goals through thunder-like passes deep into the opponent’s side. Unlike Brazil, which has scored 16 goals, 6 goals brought Korea to the semifinal and 7 Turkey. These records mean that Korea and Turkey are not a multi-goal scorer. But at the same time, it is hard to score goal against them. Park Ji-Sung will make up for the absence of Kim Nam-Il nicknamed “playmaker killer.” He has not recovered from injuries.

▽Spear v. Spear = Ahn Jung-Hwan of Korea and Hasan Sas of Turkey have secured themselves as world stars through this World Cup. They are of same age (26), and each has scored two goals. Ahn is now considered the number one striker to take place of Hwang Sun-Hong, who will retire as national player by the end of this World Cup. On the other hand, Sas contributed significantly to the “reinvigoration of Turkey’s soccer.” His fame now exceeds that of Hakan Sukur. Ahn is 177cm, 1 cm taller than Sas. But both weigh the same, or 71kg each. Their similarity does not stop there. Also identical is their pattern of attack. Both are considered a hassle by the opponent’s defenders, due to their excellent personal techniques.

▽Watch out for Snipers = For the Turkish team, Ilhan Mansiz is the “sniper” shooting down the opponents. In the quarterfinal against Senegal, he was changed into the game in the latter half. In the continuing overtime (’94), he scored a golden goal, giving his team victory and himself the title of hero.

He seldom misses chances. For example, he scored 21 goals in the last year’s Turkey season, putting him on top of the race for the best scorer. Brazilian defenders had a hard time in the semifinal, once he joined in the match.

On the other hand, Cha Du-Ri functions the same for Korea. Ever since Ahn was put on the staring members’ list, Cha had been a change-in, shooting ceaselessly at the opponents. Yoon Jong-Hwan and Choi Tae-Uk, who have sit tight on the bench, may have a chance as entry members.

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com