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Egypt Match an Indicator for World Cup Qualifier Against Kuwait

Egypt Match an Indicator for World Cup Qualifier Against Kuwait

Posted February. 03, 2005 23:05,   


The Korea-Egypt warm-up match to be held at 8:00 p.m. on February 4 in Seoul World Cup Stadium in Sangam-dong, Seoul, is the last mock test for the Korean National Team in the run up to the match with Kuwait, the first game in the Asia final preliminary for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany (February 9). Johannes Bonfrere, who recruited five Korean players from overseas professional football clubs, said, “I’ll select the 18-member entry after watching their play in the actual game,” signaling that the game will be a place for fierce competition.

Seize the Opportunity to Be Selected as the Final Entry-

The five players from overseas professional football clubs, including Seol Ki-hyun (Wolverhampton), Lee Chun-su (Numancia) and Park Ji-sung (PSV Eindhoven), who have been selected as final entries, will not participate in the game with Egypt. Accordingly, 21 players among 26 who reported for training will play in the game, and only 13 among them will be selected.

The “eldest brother,” Yoo Sang-cheol (Ulsan), who will cover the duty of center defense for the national team, will not play in the match with Egypt. This is partly because he is yet to recover after injuring his left thigh last November. But it seems that Bonfrere is sparing him for the match with Kuwait.

The New Year’s First Win?-

The national team under Bonfrere scored two draws and one defeat in their three warm-up matches this year. Although the ultimate goal of the coach is winning the Kuwait match, he is also under heavy pressure to show an exciting victory in a warm-up match. Unlike the youth national team (under age 20), which continued its winning streak by defeating the Japanese team in a friendly match in Qatar at the beginning of the New Year and creating “Park Joo-young Syndrome,” the adult national team’s performance has not been so spectacular. Against this backdrop, the “elder brother” team should take the match with Egypt as an opportunity to recover its pride.

A Virtual Match with Kuwait-

Egypt ranks 33rd in the FIFA rankings, which is lower than Korea (21st). Although Korea is better in the record of past matches with five wins, six draws and three defeats, Egypt is a North African dark horse which cannot be ignored. As Egypt shows a combination of Arab and North African styles of play, the country is the best partner for the national team in preparation for the Kuwait game. If Korea defeats Egypt, it will be a good measure of their chances in their game against Kuwait.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com