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Not Afraid of a Hellish Race

Posted May. 25, 2005 03:37,   


“The schedule seems tough. But I will do my best.”

“Soccer Genius” Park Joo-young (20, FC Seoul) started his hellish race. The Korean national soccer team looked determined to win as they got together for training on May 24 in the Paju National Football Center (Paju NFC). They will leave for the 2006 World Cup Asian qualifiers of Asian Group A against Uzbekistan on June 3 and Kuwait on June 9.

Park Joo-young, who is on both the U-20 national team and the national team, seems especially resolute for victory. After the Uzbekistan and Kuwait matches, he has to play in the U-20 national team’s game in the Netherlands for the World Youth Championship on June 10. After that, he plays again on the U-20 team in matches against Switzerland on June 13, Nigeria on June 16, and Brazil on June 18.

Park appeared very nervous at the NFC. “I feel burdened because I will travel a long distance and play against Switzerland, on which the U-20 team is pinning its hopes for its first victory, only two days after my arrival in the Netherlands,” Park says. “But now that I have been selected for the national team, I will compete with other players and try to learn from them. I will also work hard on my physical conditioning so that I can contribute to a victory.”

“New Striker” Kim Jin-yong (23, Ulsan) was the first to reach the NFC, demonstrating his desire for becoming a starting member. Kim said, “I was so happy that I couldn’t sleep a wink. I feel nervous but will do my best and give a good performance.” Ahn Jung-hwan (29, Yokohama), who was not able to play on the national team for a while last year due to a fracture, displayed his strong determination when he returned with his long hair style.

“Bonfrere team’s prince” Lee Dong-guk (26, Pohang) had a brightened face, saying, “I am very happy to be back on the national team after a long time away. I will live up to the fans’ expectations by winning.”

In the meantime, 16 players of 24 preliminary entries started their training at the NFC for two victories in overseas matches. Park Ji-sung and Lee Young-pyo (PSV Eindhoven) will join the team in Uzbekistan.

Won-Hong Lee Jong-KooYang bluesky@donga.com yjongk@donga.com