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A Match Is a Match Nonetheless

Posted August. 04, 2005 03:13,   


The national soccer teams of South and North Korea, both men and women, will face off against each other at the 2005 East Asian Football Federation Cup to be played on August 4 at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

In particular, the men’s teams will play their first national match (A match) in 12 years, the last being at the Asian qualifying round for the 1994 U.S. World Cup held in October 1993 in Doha, Qatar. South Korea won 3-0. It is also the first inter-Korean match to be played in Korean soil after the South-North Unification Soccer Match played in October 1990 in Jamsil Stadium, where South Korea won 1-0. In all, South Korea’s record against North Korea is five wins, two losses, and a tie.

However, for the South Korean squad, the significance of the match goes beyond the inter-Korean game. It needs to recover its pride lost after a poorly played game against China on July 31, in which three ejections left only eight players and ended up in a draw.

After it was pointed out that Korea was too focused on defense during its game with China, Korean team coach Johannes Bonfrere plans to use many offensive midfielders. Soccer prodigy Park Ju-young (FC Seoul), who couldn’t fully train due to a foot injury, is expected to play late in the game.

North Korean team will use its stamina and determination to win. The team skipper Kim Myung Sung showed his strong will to win, saying, “Even if father and son play, a match is a match, isn’t it?” The North Korean offense is centered around Kim Young Joon, with Kim Myung Chul, Park Sung Gwan, and Kim Chul Ho having great breakthrough abilities.

The women’s team, which beat the “Great Wall” China after 15 losses, will also duel with North Korean counterparts in the same day and place.

Ranked seventh by FIFA, the highest among Asian countries, the North Korean women’s team is expected to play superbly. However, the South Korean women’s team, which is in high spirits after finally beating China for the first time ever, is also determined and preparing for a win.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com