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The ‘Young Ones’ Have Lit the Fires of the Semifinals

Posted June. 29, 2004 22:16,   


Four teams--Portugal, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Greece--are in the semifinals of Euro 2004 (The 12th European Football Tournament). Out of the final four, which team will hold the prize, the Henri Delone Cup?

The commonality among the four teams that beat the European powerhouses--France, Germany, Italy, England and Spain, countries with strong domestic leagues--is “young blood.” These include Portugal’s “fearless teenager” Cristiano Ronaldo (19•Manchester United), Greece’s “High Bomber” Angelos Haristeas (24•Werder Bremen), the “East European Maradona” Milan Baros (23•Liverpool), and the Dutch talent Arjen Robben (20•PSV Eindhoven)

Portugal, which lost its opening match against Greece, came from behind and made it to the semifinals thanks to the driving force of Ronaldo. His transfer fee to England’s Manchester United, as the first Portuguese player ever, was 17.5 million euros (about 23 billion won). Ronaldo, 1m84, weighing 75kg, with unpredictable movement and strong shooting has scored and assisted a goal in four games during this tournament.

Haristeas, the core of the Greek offense who shocked the world by advancing to the semifinals, has scored the team’s highest three goals during the eight preliminary games, and in this tournament has scored two goals in four games. His main weapon is his heading, which takes advantage of his tall height of 1m91. It is almost certain that Haristeas, who played a vital role in leading Werder Bremen to win the 2003-2004 season Bundesliga, will play in the Athens Olympic Games. Hence, Korea, who will face Greece in the Olympic preliminaries Group A, will have to watch out for him.

Robben, who plays for PSV Eindhoven, the same team as Park Ji-sung and Lee Young-pyo, is known as the Dutch prodigy. Although it was unsure whether he would play during the tournament due to this injury, he has recovered well and assisted three goals in three games. With measurements of 1m86 and 80kg, his specialties are mighty overlapping and dribbling. Robben is confirmed to be transferring to England’s Chelsea after this tournament.

The leading scorer with five goals, Milan Baros is this tournament’s best killer. He has aimed 12 shots at the goal during four games and scored five goals, showing off the highest level of precision and destruction.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com