National anthems Korea-Holland in Seoul
Games against the Netherlands are often ones to remember and last Saturday night in Seoul was no different for hosts South Korea.
The game was arranged to mark the five-year anniversary of the start of the 2002 World Cup, which was of course, hosted by Korea and Japan.
The Netherlands didn’t even qualify for that competition while South Korea, coached by Guus Hiddink and assistant Pim Verbeek, reached the semi-finals.
Dutch coach Marco van Basten
Despite that non-appearance, Holland are still part of the footballing elite and were expected to defeat the Asians. They did just that with a 2-0 victory. The Dutch may have been without the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Arjen Van Robben and Edwin van der Sar but the squad that traveled east was still a skilful one.
Korea were missing their Premier League quarter of Park Ji-sung, Lee Young-pyo (sitting in the commentary box instead), Seol Ki-hyeon and Lee Dong-gook. The strength in depth of the Taeguk Warriors doesn’t, unfortunately, match that of the Europeans.
Lee Young-pyo in an unfamiliar pose
Rafael van der Vaart got a goal in each half, the first a penalty, to silence the home fans. The second came with 18 minutes remaining and Korea’s subsequent lack of fight and energy annoyed their Dutch coach Pim Verbeek who launched a scathing attack on the administrators of the K-League.
“I can’t believe the K-League organized a cup semi-final three days before a national team game,” said Verbeek after the game.
“If that’s how they want to treat the national Bandar Poker Online team then we need to have serious discussions. It is stupid, disrespectful and bad for Korean football.”
“It’s the first time in my life that I have seen a Korean team lose so much energy at the end of the game. They have played 22 games in less than three months. The players were tired and after it became 2-0, they were finished.”
Verbeek was not finished there and when asked why he didn’t bring on substitute midfielder Kim Doo-hyun before the last 15 minutes, the coach launched an uncharacteristic attack on the Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma midfielder.
“I really regret bringing him on. He was terrible. I told him that if he wants to play that way then I will kick him off the national team. He can stay in Seongnam.”
Naturally, Seongnam coach Kim Hak-bom was not best pleased at the criticism of his star midfielder.
“I didn’t hear what Verbeek said but if it true then it shows a problem of leadership,” Kim replied.
“As far as I could see the team balance improved when Kim Doo-hyun came on. One player can’t change the situation of the whole team. Managing the game with that intention is a stupid way.”
“Verbeek said that the Netherlands game was a rehearsal for the Asian Cup,” Kim added. “but the team was playing not to lose and packed midfield with three defensive midfielders. That won’t be the case at the Asian Cup so I don’t know what is going on.”
Korea have two more friendly games before leaving for Jakarta and the Asian Cup. The first is against Iraq in Seogwipo on Jeju Island on June 29 and the second is back in Seoul against Uzbekistan on July 5.
More of the same in K-League
Back in the K-League,little has changed. Seongnam show no sign of stopping. The champions are still six points clear and still undefeated. Last season’s runners- up Suwon Samsung Bluewings stay second, just a point ahead of the impressive Gyeongnam FC and their goalscoring duo of Popo and Cabore.
Apart from the two ‘nams’ Gyeong and Seong, the other form team is Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i. The Tigers have won their last three with Premier League target Lee Chun-soo in the middle of most good things the Tigers are doing.
FC Seoul are still struggling for goals as the nightmarish statistic of five in 13 games clearly shows and further down the table Andy Egli and Busan I’Park are struggling.
At least they are doing better than Gwangju Sangmu who are still looking for a first win in 2007.
Copyright: John Duerden & Soccerphile
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The domestic football season is now the equivalent of Princess Di; it was a great ride for a while, but it’s time to let go. Luckily, we now have the ‘Camilla’, the ugly nine-pinter that is the European Championship qualifiers.
England’s participation is hanging by a thread and fingers are pointing at the manager. Danny Mills, Massimo Maccarone, Fleet Street journalists and fans of attractive football have all been quick to put the boot in; but for once, the grinning buffoon deserves a little credit.
It takes a big man to admit when he’s made a mistake, I know I’ve made two of the little buggers. McClaren has finally realised that the decision to dump Beckham like a Scottish girlfriend was extremely short-sighted. Goldenballs remains an archetypal, if extremely camp, match-winner in the big game scenario.
I can’t accept the argument that selecting Beckham is a step backwards as he’s taking the place of a youngster with a long- term future. The less experienced players won’t learn much from watching the finals on television.
McClaren’s groundbreaking policy of selecting his best players is possibly the first correct decision of a woeful tenure. One swallow does not make a summer though, but it does practically guarantee an enjoyable evening. England will leave Estonia with the win on Wednesday night at a pleasant 2/9.
Ryan Giggs has shocked Welsh football by deciding to hang up his boots. His team-mates will undoubtedly miss his presence in one out of every five Internationals. The Czech Republic are the pick of the weekend punts at 8/11 against a moribund Welsh side.
The Danes and the Swedes once landed a betting coup so great; Harry Redknapp could only look on in earnest admiration. Another draw wouldn’t be the end of the world for either team; the 9/4 looks a reasonable shout.
There’s a widespread belief that Spain hack up in the qualifiers before collapsing like Lindsay Lohan in the finals. The Spanish are currently four points shy of Northern Ireland this time around, so that theory has fewer legs than Heather Mills. Only a win in Latvia will do for our siesta-sneaking brothers, I’ll be on at 4/11.
The French are lovers, not fighters; I’m not particularly skilled at either. I can spot a value punt when I see one though, France are overpriced at a colossal 8/13 against Ukraine.
Greece are still in a state of shock from the most unlikely result in European football history; they somehow managed to survive the Scouse invasion. The Greeks can practically guarantee qualification by seeing off Hungary at a tragic 8/15.
Last week’s accumulator couldn’t have gone in any quicker without being assisted by Henri Paul. This week’s acc is also in the bag; France, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece and a Denmark draw will all oblige at an explosive 16/1.