Go to contents

Frustrated by Draw Against Lebanon, Korean Soccer Fans Say, “Let’s Change the Players”

Frustrated by Draw Against Lebanon, Korean Soccer Fans Say, “Let’s Change the Players”

Posted October. 14, 2004 23:22,   


Success in the 2002 World Cup lasted only for a moment. Korean soccer now is only frustrating its fans.

A Group 7 match in the FIFA World Cup 2006 Qualifiers against Lebanon was held on October 14. Korea, which was planning to celebrate its placement in the final round of the Asian qualifiers, was held to a 1-1 draw. The Korean team now has three wins, two draws, and 11 points, and has the lead in Group 7 by one point over Lebanon, which has 10 points (three wins, one draw, and one defeat).

In the end, success or failure to advance to the final round of World Cup Asian qualifiers will be determined in Korea’s final match against Maldives on November 17.

Again, Korea wasn’t successful in making goals. According to the analysis made by the Sports Data Bank (www.sportsdatabank.co.kr), Korea made 13 shots on goal while Lebanon made five. Among the 13 shots, Korea only made one goal, which equates to a successful shooting percentage of only 7.7 percent. In particular, the Korean team’s play was so inefficient that that the team was successful in only making one goal among the nine shots they made inside the penalty area.

The Sports Data Bank said, “While Korea’s percentage of successful shots is under 10 percent, the percentages of the best teams of the world are around 30 percent.”

Jo Bonfrere, the head coach of the Korean national team, said, “Although the team was unsuccessful in making additional goals in the second half, overall their play was pretty good.” However, among the 21 set plays given, Korea failed to make a single goal. Kim Joo-sung, commissioner of Korea Football Association (KFA) pointed out that the team was not playing as a team, which used to be its strength.

Several experts pointed out that more fundamental problems should be solved first. Park Hang-suh, coach of the Pohang Steelers, said, “Although it takes at least six months for a foreign coach to learn about his players, not enough time was given to Bonfrere since there was no consistency in the management of the team. Also, no high motivation was given to the players.”

The audience rating of the match against Lebanon was 23.8 percent, which was the highest among the qualifiers matches. On the KFA’s web site after the match, condemning comments, which stressed the weak spirit of the players and the call for a shift in generations, were left by internet users.

An internet user, with the ID “otlims,” said, “Rather than giving chances to players who are less motivated, let’s give chances to players who are eager to win.” Another web user, “uni1222,” reproached the national team, saying, “Let’s cheer for the rookies who are making an effort.”

There were other comments like, “Let’s prepare for the future of Korean soccer by letting new players like Park Joo-young play.”

Meanwhile, the tied game between Korea and Lebanon was picked as the most surprising World Cup qualifying match in a poll held by the Asian Football Confederation on their website (www.footballasia.com).

Sang-Ho Kim Jong-Koo Yang hyangsan@donga.com yjongk@donga.com