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Raise Your Heads, There Is a Tomorrow

Posted June. 20, 2005 03:01,   


“Although we failed to advance to the round of 16, by competing with good teams in a tough group, we learned our shortcomings and gained confidence.”

Coach Park Sung-hwa looked a bit stiff but talked about the future. The Korean National Youth Soccer Team, led by Coach Park, failed to advance past the preliminary round when it lost 0-2 to Brazil in FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005, during its last game in Group F, played on June 18 at Emmen Stadium in the Netherlands.

Korea lost by allowing Renato’s header in the ninth minute of the first half and another goal by Rafael Sobis in the 12th minute of the second half to the left corner of the goal.

In this championship the 12 teams that place in first and second place in the six groups and the four teams with the highest points out of the six that place third advance to the knockout round. Korea had three points from a win and two losses and placed third, but it was behind other third place teams in winning points and goal differential.

Considering that Japan, with only two points from a two ties and a loss, placed second in Group A and advanced to the next round, Korea’s elimination from the so called “group of death” was due to the misfortune of belonging to Group F. Nevertheless, the basic reason is the gap between Korea and the world’s best teams.

Park assessed, “It was beyond our capabilities. Not because we were lacking, but because our opponents were too strong. It is becoming more difficult to face world-class teams only with good formations and good spirits. It is urgently necessary to improve our technique and our players’ game management abilities.” He added, “Winning against strong teams such as Nigeria will give confidence to Korean players in the future. We planned to make it to the semi-finals, and we are sorry to fail to make the round of 16.”

The National Team will return to Korea on June 20 at 10:05 a.m. via Incheon Airport.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com