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Park Joo-young: “I’ll Crush You, Hirayama”

Posted January. 24, 2005 23:07,   


Park Joo-young or Hirayama Sota-

The Korean youth soccer team (under 20) will match up against its “fatal rival” Japan for what is hoped to be its first victory of the year at the final round of the 2005 Youth Championship in Qatar, in which eight countries are participating in, to be held at 2:00 a.m. on January 27.

All eyes will focus on the battle of the stars between Korea and Japan, 20 year-old striker Park Joo-young (Korea University) and Hirayama (Tsukuba University).

Selected as “Youth Soccer Player of the Year” in 2004 by the Asia Soccer Confederation, Park Joo-young led the Korean team to the finals by recording a total of seven goals, including two goals at the semifinals against Algeria on January 24.

Nicknamed “Monster” in high school, Hirayama was the prime target of scouting for the J League, and though his statistics for this competition were lackluster with one goal and one assist, his potential merits steady attention.

Resisting pro status and entering college, this will be the second match since last year that Park Joo-young and Hirayama have played against each other.

Meeting last October at the semifinals in the 2004 Malaysia Youth Championship, the two players displayed similar stealth in their “assist-score-shoot-out” in a match that resulted in a shoot-out.

With an initial goal by Paek Ji-hoon following Park Joo-young’s skillful assist, Hirayama assisted in Watanabe’s tying goal during the first half of the match. Park Joo-young scored within the first seven minutes of the second half of the game, followed by Hirayama’s head goal 15 minutes into the match, concluding with the failure of both players in the shoot-out.

Park Joo-young possesses an animal instinct that seizes every opportunity to score, while “Human Weapon” Hirayama possesses both height and flexibility, with his shooting and heading techniques.

The victory of the match, along with the joys and sorrows of Korean and Japanese soccer fans, rest at the feet of these two players.

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com