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“Trust Me” in the Soccer Match against Kuwait

Posted January. 31, 2005 23:13,   


“Leave it to me.”-

The 2006 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Kuwait, which will be held on February 9, the lunar New Year, in the Seoul World Cup Stadium, is receiving much attention from the people since it is the opening match of the qualifiers’ round.

A Korean player, “Lion King” Lee Dong-guk (26•Gwangjoo), is smiling before such a big match. He is the striker of the Korean national soccer team, who has found to be very strong against Middle Eastern teams.

Since 1998, Lee Dong-guk has scored 15 goals in the 21 games against Middle Eastern teams. In the 12th Asian Cup (2000), which was held in Lebanon, he scored six goals, and he held the top-scorer title. In the 13th Asian Cup last year, he scored two goals in the game against Kuwait, and one goal each in the games against United Arab Emirates and Iran.

The Kuwait national soccer team plays a typical Middle Eastern style of soccer. According to Kim Ho-gon, the strategy analyzer of the Korean Football Association (KFA), Kuwait uses a “3-4-3 formation,” putting three defenders in the back.

Analyzer Kim Ho-gon forecasts that Lee Dong-guk will easily score goals and that even though the Kuwait team has star striker Bashar Abdula, there are many weak points in their defense line.

Why is Lee so strong against Middle Eastern teams? He says, “The defense of the Middle Eastern teams is loose, and they are weak in physical strength.”

Scoring eight goals in the 10 games he played under Coach Johannes Bonfrere, Lee Dong-guk is now called the “Prince of Bonfrere.” He will again be the key offensive player in the upcoming match against Kuwait.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com