Go to contents

“China, Beware!” Korea’s U-20 Soccer Team Vows Victory against China

“China, Beware!” Korea’s U-20 Soccer Team Vows Victory against China

Posted October. 07, 2004 23:14,   


When you have reason to believe that it would be hard to beat your opponent by conventional means, you would probably resort to your star players for help.

This is the story of the U-20 Korean National Football team, which is scheduled to play against China at 10:00 p.m. on October 9 for the 2004 AFC U-20 Soccer Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The finals against China will determine whether Korea will be able to take the championship title for the 11th time, while the Chinese will be going after their second title since 1984.

Unlike the Korean National Soccer Team’s notorious no-loss record against China, the U-20 team has been suffering from what is known as the “fear of China syndrome.” Last February, the two teams met in the Stars Cup Tournament held in China’s Hubei province, where Korea lost 1-3. Later, in a home game against China in August, the Koreans lost once again, 0-1.

Moreover, the Chinese have geared their resources to prepare their athletes not just for the AFC U-20 championships, but also for the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics. Early on, athletes who displayed potential were selected and sent overseas to Brazilian and European soccer camps. At these camps, the players have formed a special bond over the years.

During the preliminaries, Korea lost to Iraq 0-3, and had to endure many other struggles before they were able to make their way to the finals. The Chinese, on the other hand, were able to make it to the finals relatively easily. Only against Iran did the Chinese allow a 0-0 tie. Against Indonesia they won 5-1, against Qatar, 1-0, against Malaysia, 3-0, against Syria, 1-0, and during all these games, the Chinese defense allowed only one goal.

However, the Koreans have Park Joo-young (19, Korea University), their star player who they hope will lead their team to victory. With much faith, coach Park Sung-hwa plans to utilize the goal hungry Park Joo-young to lead the team to victory against China.

During the team’s October 6 match against Japan, Park Joo-young displayed his superb dribbling skills on a goal he made in the seventh minute of the second overtime. He also scored four other goals during the tournament, leading his team to the finals.

His determination is also stronger than ever. In all three matches against China this year, Park, who was not able to score any goals against China, vowed to turn things around this time. In a recent interview, he announced, “I’m happy I’ll meet the Chinese in the finals. This time I’ll make sure I score and win.”

Coach Park also said, “We did not collect any information on the Syrians, which personally made me worry that we would be playing against them during the finals. It’s a relief to know that we’ll be playing against the Chinese. It’s another reason why our players will be all the more determined to win.”

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com