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Is Team Korea Ready? Experts Disagree

Posted June. 03, 2006 03:12,   


“There were no big issues in today’s game. Our strategy is focused on the Togo match to be held on June 13. We’ll be 100 percent ready by then,” said the coaching staff of Team Korea at Oslo’s Ulleval Stadium. But some experts who were present at the evaluation game assessed the match to be a poorly-fought game riddled with strategic flaws.

Trust me-

Team Korea’s technical adviser Ghotbi said, “We have given Jeong Gyeong-ho and Baek Ji-hun a chance to run for the whole 90 minutes. There were no problems in our stamina or strategy. As soon as our active members join up, we’ll have a smooth sailing.” Ferheyon, the team’s physical trainer also said, “It was a well-fought game, considering our level of stamina which is at about 80 to 90 percent. Norway did not dominate us. We dominated them in the latter part of the game. We’ll get ourselves back in time for the Togo match.”

According to Ghotbi, the Ghana match scheduled on June 4 will provide a clue of how to fight against Togo. Ghotbi also said the team is planning to go to Cologne by June 6, and get itself ready for the Togo match.

Things are different from those of four years ago-

Experts are wary that the national team is not quite what they used to be in terms of their playing record. Four years ago, Team Korea would stand toe to toe with the toughest of evaluation opponents that Europe could provide. It scored 4-1 against Scotland, 1-1 against England, and 2-3 against France. The readiness of the players was at 80-90 percent; but they showed their endurance and confidence.

This year, the recent 1-1 draw with Senegal, 2-0 with Bosnia and Herzegovina and 0-0 draw with Norway leaves something to be desired. We have not seen the team’s usual strong points: the pressure or fighting spirit. Experts agree that, unlike four years ago, the training schedule of one month instead of five has obvious consequences on the team’s readiness. Perhaps we have been too optimistic in the face of grim reality. One expert pointed out that the too-tight warm-up match schedule is wearing out the players. KBS commentator Lee Yong-su says, “Despite some difficulties, we got back on our feet pretty quickly four years ago. But there’s a big difference between playing at home and playing elsewhere. I especially do not like the fact that there are so many injuries on the team.”

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com