Posted December. 20, 2004 23:13,
I couldnt block that ball. It was a great shot; no goalkeeper could block it, not me, not anyone in the world.
Such were the words of the German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn (35), selected as the best goalkeeper at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. The score that called for this statement was the attention-grabbing shot of Lee Dong-gook well into the 26th minute, during the latter half of the match between Korea and Germany held on December 19.
As Park Kyu-suns high-flying cross at the right side of the German camp bounced off the head of the German defender Owomoyela, falling into the left pole, Lee Dong-gook, who had his back against the goal, twisted his body and kicked with his right foot, volleying the ball into the right-hand side of the goal.
Coach Johannes Bonfrere had tears in his eyes, unable to contain his elation.
Was the shot that stunned Kahn simply a fortuitous occasion?
Lee Dong-gook confessed after the game that it was a shot I hadnt planned. Experts profess otherwise. It was a masterpiece that couldnt have been achieved if he hadnt had the will to make it happen.
Training center chief Cho Young-jung of the Paju Soccer team said, Its simply the result of steady determination that Lee Dong-gook was able to shoot the ball after almost falling over. We couldnt see that in him before Bonfrere had taken the lead.
Coach Lee Gi-gun of Gaegun Middle School, Yangpyung, who scored the most points in 1988 and 1991 in the K-League, analyzed the game, Lee Dong-gook was in a favorable position when the ball bounced, which aided his kick by allowing him to twist his body 120 degrees, sending the ball spinning into a location that the goalkeeper could not reach. He added, This kind of shot is not impossible, but its also not achievable without regular practicing on shots that the goalkeeper cannot reach.
Sun Moon University coach Cho Keung-yeon stated, I saw Dong-gook score a few goals during practice when he was on the Pohang team. But its the first time Ive seen him do that in the actual game.
The best shot in the World Cup history was at the Brazil-Sweden finals during the 1958 Swedish World Cup, when the then 18-year-old Pele scored a goal by lifting the ball slightly with his foot, causing it to sail past the head of the Swedish defender, and kicking the ball before it hit the ground. At a game against the French national team in 1997, Brazilian Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid), the worlds foremost left-back, made the ball spin a U-turn at the scrum with his left-foot free-kick, causing it to careen into the goal. This score was later dubbed as the UFO Shot.
This years highlight in the Korean soccer field was at the quarterfinals match against Uzbekistan during the October AFC Youth Championship, where Shin Young-rok (Suwon) scored an overhead kick after swiftly passing the opponent. But Lee Dong-gooks shot was a more sophisticated one.
The flat-footed Park Ji-sung (Eindhoven) declared, My feet hurt a lot, but I played the game to the fullest because I couldnt disappoint coach Guus Hiddink, who believed in me.
Lee Dong-gooks goal must have been a shot of appreciation for being selected as an attacker under Bonfreres lead, after having been passed over at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup.