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Even a Draw with USA, Round of 16

Posted December. 03, 2003 23:12,   


“At least holding the U.S. to a draw will allow Korea to advance to the round of 16.”

Korea lost 0-1 to Paraguay, giving up the decisive goal to Gilberto Velazquez in the 14th minute of first half, at the second match of Group F, 2003 World Youth Soccer Championship (under age of 20) held at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on December 3 (Korean time).

As Germany trounced the United States 3-1 this day, the results leaves all four teams in Group F with three points each, with one victory and one defeat, and all in contention for a spot in the second round. For now, Korea is first in goal differential, but whether it can advance to the round of 16 will be determined by the result of the final third match.

Korea can advance to the second round even if it battles the United States to a tie at the last preliminary match on December 6. The match between Germany and Paraguay will be held prior to this game.

Final content: Beat U.S.

The United States lost to Germany, which Korea had defeated 2-0, while Korea was beaten 0-1 by Paraguay, which the U.S. had subdued 3-1. The U.S. has a similar playing style to Korea based on speed and organization. In addition, the U.S has outstanding physical strength so Korea may be bothered.

Korea coach Park Sung-wha said, “The U.S is a stable team. We used passive tactics at the matches against Germany and Paraguay, but I will command an active strategy focused on stubborn pressing and attacking against the U.S.”

Ed Johnson and Bobby Convey are the core of the speedy U.S. soccer team. With left and right wing” Santino Quaranta and Justin Mapp breaking through the defensive line fiercely, Korea has to use its powerful pressing defensive tactics.

Lee Young-soo, KBS commentator, said, “We could possibly allow a flood of goals if we face the U.S. with a mindset of needing only a tie to advance to the round of 16. We need a strategy which will threaten the U.S. spirit with a face-to-face attack.”

U.S. coach Thomas Rongen, who is from Netherlands, said, “The match against Korea, which is a well-organized team, will be tough. But to go to the second round it is the mountain which we have to climb.”

Soccer Math: “Number of chances which we have to account for again”

Korea will definitely advance to the round of 16 if it defeats the U.S. or holds the U.S. to a tie. If Korea wins, the total winning points will be six, and if Korea plays to a draw, the number of winning points will be four. So regardless of the result of the match between Germany and Paraguay, in which both teams are now even with three points each, Korea is sure to place second in the group.

Counting the goal differential is only necessary if the matches--Korea vs. U.S. and Germany vs. Paraguay-- both end in a tie. If all four teams finish with 1 win, 1 draw, and 1 loss, the ranking is determined by the order in goal difference and the number of goals. Korea is first in terms of goal differential with a +1 to go to round of 16.

If Korea loses to U.S, there is still a possibility of advancing to the round of 16, although slim. If Korea loses by a one goal difference and if the Germany vs. Paraguay match ends with a one goal difference, Korea will be third in the group. In this case, the four wild cards to go to the round of 16 will contend with the other five third place teams from other groups based on the order of winning points, goal difference, and the number of goals.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com