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Ref’s Calls Spell Doom for Team Korea

Posted June. 26, 2006 07:49,   


Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo made calls that appeared partial and disadvantageous to Korea in its decisive loss to Switzerland today. Some are even suggesting that it had something to do with FIFA president Sepp Blater being Swiss. Adding to the pain was the first goal Korea allowed early in the match.

On June 24, at Hanover World Cup Stadium, Korea was defeated, 0-2 by Switzerland, ending Korea’s hopes of advancing out of Group G into the elimination round of the World Cup.

The Swiss scored two goals, one by Philippe Senderos at 23 minutes on the clock, and another by Alexander Frei at 32 minutes into the second half. Senderos’ goal was initiated by a foul call which seemed rather frivolous. The second goal was netted when the chief referee ignored the whistle of the line referee who had just called an offside.

Park Ju-young, starting for the first time after his absence in both Togo and France matches, fouled a Swiss player and allowed a goal opportunity, which the Swiss did not miss. A warning was handed out to Park who at 23 minutes into the first half grabbed Tranquillo Barnetta who was penetrating to the right. On a free kick chance at right midfield, Hakan Yakin lobbed the ball to the center where Senderos waited and headed the ball into the net as he butted his head against Korean defender Choi Jin-cheol.

Korea allowed the first goal. But attackers Lee Chun-su, Park Ji-sung, and Jo Jae-jin and wingers Kim Dong-jin and Lee Young-pyo joined forces to ceaselessly threaten the Swiss goal.

There were many near misses. At 41 minutes in the first half, Lee Chun-su took a shot at the left of the penalty area, but it was blocked by Pascal Zuberbuhler, the Swiss goalie. Two minutes later, Park Ju-young took a shot from the left, but the ball went just wide of the goalpost.

Korea in the second half made several assault attempts at the Swiss goal, often involving both attackers and defenders. But at critical moments, and repeatedly, they missed the target and failed to tie the score. About 17 minutes into the second half, Dick Advocaat replaced defender Lee Young-pyo with striker Ahn Jung-hwan in a daring attempt to level the game, but nothing came of it.

Exacerbating Team Korea’s frustration, the referee issued many doubtful calls. At 32 minutes into the second half, Frei got a pass while visibly positioned behind the Korean defenders. The linesman held up his flag immediately; but the referee ignored the call as Frei added another goal for the Swiss side.

A similar questionable call that seemed to favor the Swiss occurred in the Switzerland vs. France match held on June 14, when the ref did not call an obvious handball foul and denied France a clear penalty kick chance.