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Korea’s World Cup Run Begins June 13

Posted December. 12, 2005 08:20,   


According to FIFA’s official 2006 Germany World Cup website (fifaworldcup.com), Korea and France will likely finish at the top of Group G.

At the 2006 World Cup main round grouping lottery held on December 10 in Leipzig, Korea was allocated Group G along with France, Switzerland, and Togo.

Korea will start the tournament with a match against Togo on June 13 in Frankfurt and go on to face France in its second match on June 19 in Leipzig. It will then move on to its third match against Switzerland in Hanover on June 24.

Togo, 56th in the FIFA rankings, is playing in its first-ever World Cup. However in the African preliminary round, they beat Senegal 3-1 and took the lead with 7 wins, 2 ties, and 1 loss. France, with Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, and other football stars, is ranked fifth by FIFA. Switzerland is ranked 36th, and it will be their first main round in 12 years since 1994 World Cup.

The FIFA website forecasted that “the main bout in group G will be the Korea vs. France match,” and added that “all depends on how Korea will perform in their first match against Togo.’

Korean football experts agree that the grouping was relatively favorable.

Sejong University professor Yi Yong-su, a KBS commentator, said, “The grouping is relatively fine. Meeting France is better than meeting Brazil or Germany as the first-seeded team, and Switzerland is easier to deal with than other European teams. Togo is another favorable match for us compared to other African teams such as Ghana or Côte d`Ivoire.”

Yi Young-mu, KFA’s chief technical committeeman, said, “Dodging the worst group is a good enough result.” Shin Mun-seon, SBS commentator said, “We must watch out for Switzerland; although considered to be relatively weak among European teams, they beat Turkey in the preliminaries and played an even match against France. They have a very tight defense and swift turnaround.”

MBC commentator Seo Hyeong-uk pointed out, “Togo is hidden under veil to us. Collecting information on that team is a priority.”

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com jaeyuna@donga.com