Go to contents

Park Ji-sung: 2010 World Cup Will Be My Last

Posted June. 15, 2009 06:54,   


Soccer star Park Ji-sung yesterday said next year’s World Cup in South Africa will be his last international competition.

In a media day event at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, the Manchester United midfielder and Korean captain expressed confidence ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Iran at Seoul World Cup Stadium. The game is the final qualifier for both teams.

Iran head coach Afshin Ghotbi, however, said his team will beat Korea, adding, “A win is essential for us.”

Ghotbi was technical analyst for the Korean team in the 2002 World Cup, helping the Taegeuk Warriors advance to the semifinals.

○ Last World Cup?

Despite his incredible stamina, Park seems to have his limits. “Next year’s World Cup will be my last World Cup. I will devote everything to attain a good result,” he said.

On if he can play in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil at age 33, Park, 28, said, “I don’t think I can maintain my stamina until then,” adding, “In the 2010 South Africa World Cup, the realistic goal for Korea is to advance to the round of 16. My biggest goal is to perform 100 percent of my capability on the pitch.”

Next year’s tournament will be the third World Cup for Park, following the 2002 and 2006 editions. “The 2002 Korean team was the strongest ever, and younger and veteran players achieved good harmony. The national team for next year’s event is quite similar to that in 2002,” he said.

“Depending on how thoroughly we prepare for the event, we can attain a good result.”

○ Crucial game for Iran

Iran coach Ghotbi said after finishing his team’s first practice at the National Football Center yesterday morning, “It is the dream of all Iranians to advance to the World Cup by adding three points in the match versus Korea,” adding, “It’ll be a tough match but we’ll do our best to beat Korea without fail.”

“I hope many soccer fans visit the stadium to cheer for both Korea and Iran.”

Iran is fourth in Group B with 10 points. South Korea is first with 15 and North Korea and Saudi Arabia are tied for second at 11 each.

A win Wednesday will give Iran third place in the group, which will qualify it for a playoff with the fourth-place finisher. If Iran beats South Korea and North Korea and Saudi Arabia play to draws Thursday, Iran will grab the group’s second automatic berth.