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Soccer Magazines Predict: Korea Won’t Make the Final 16

Soccer Magazines Predict: Korea Won’t Make the Final 16

Posted March. 07, 2006 03:35,   


How far will Korean soccer go in the 2006 Germany World Cup? Unlike Korean soccer fans, who hope their national team will make the final four once again, foreign sports authorities doubt the possibility of Korea even making it to the final 16.

German, French, and South American Journalists Analyze the 32 Countries-

A Japanese soccer magazine World Soccer in its latest March 16 edition analyzed the strength of 32 countries which will compete in the 2006 World Cup main round by rounding up the opinions of three journalistic authorities on soccer: A German sports magazine Kicker, the France’s France Football, and Conmebol of South America.

All three magazines ranked Korea below France and Switzerland in Group G, and projected that it would fail to advance to the final 16. Categorically, Korea scored 38 points in total; eight points in offense, seven in defense, eight in leadership, seven in experience, and eight in abundance of athletes; below France’s 57 points and Switzerland’s 43. Korea scored lower than its major opponent Switzerland in all categories except for the abundance of athletes. Togo, another main round opponent of Korea, received 18 points in total.

Things were the same in sports betting oddsmakers’ dividend rate projections. A dividend rate is the return rate a bettor can receive when a team he bets on makes it to the final 16 with the top score in the group. Therefore, a lower dividend rate means a higher possibility of the team ranking first in the group. William Hill Online Sport Betting set Korea’s dividend rate at ten fold, much higher than France (1.3) and Switzerland (5). The analysis was based on the most recent data including World Cup regional preliminaries and friendly matches.

All three magazines pointed out that although Korea had some success employing 4-3-3 system, its weakness in goal scoring remains. Conmebol’s director editorial Jorge Barazza made the most acrid observation: “Korea knows that its advancement to the final four in 2002 was a fluke, and will realize it once more.”

France and Switzerland in the Top 16; Brazil Still the Best-

All three magazines predicted that France, coming back with vengeance since dropping out of the 2002 World Cup preliminary contests, will take the top spot in Group G. The French team regained stability after the return of Zidane; and there could be no doubt about the strength of Trezeguet and Henry.

Switzerland was appraised highly for its refined and compact play in defeating Turkey in the playoffs. Swiss striker Alexander Frei, who underwent surgery, will return in April; and the team will no longer suffer the shortage of defenders thanks to young aces such as Johan Djourou (Arsenal). Brazil, with 69 points, is considered the top candidate to win the World Cup. Italy with 61 points, England with 60, Argentina with 59, and Netherlands with 59 points followed.

Group C the Fiercest, Holland and Argentina Will Survive-

The strongest contenders in Group C are Argentina and Netherlands, who are projected to advance to the final 16, leaving behind Serbia-Montenegro (43 points) and Ivory Coast (36). In Group F, Croatia (45 points) and Brazil are likely to advance to the second round leaving behind Japan (43). Korea was ranked 21st among the 32 countries.

But predictions are predictions, and the football is round. Who among us had ever guessed that Korea would make the final four in 2002?

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com