Tag: South Korea

World Cup 2010: Nigeria 2-2 South Korea

It’s the fault of Germany, Austria, Argentina and Peru, although it was bound to happen one day, although as Mexico and Uruguay proved earlier, some teams can enter a game knowing that a specific result benefits both sides, and still treat the game as any other. But, just in case the last two games kick off simultaneously, which is a shame for the viewer. The first game, especially this time round, is cagey, not losing is more important than winning. The second game is about putting a marker down, showing everyone else what you have as your Plan A. And the third game is usually the one where you have to go hell for leather. A ninety minute version of injury time when you’re one-nil down. ITV went for the ratings and going for the likely “dead rubber” featuring France and the hosts, while BBC take a similar tack by showing the Argentina (or “we’ll assume Argentina will top the group” to give them their new full name according to most of the media) game on BBC1. Yet, that is a game where one team only needs to avoid defeat. This one is the “sleeper” game, yet both sides know that a win sees them through. For Nigeria, only a win will do. The night starts with the group set up like this: 1. Argentina 2. South Korea 3....

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World Cup 2010: Argentina 4-1 South Korea

“There’s enough material here for an entire conference,” said the psychiatrist in the Fawlty Towers episode entitled, funnily enough, ‘The Psychiatrist.’ Argentine coach Diego Armando Maradona, we are told, is a modern day Basil Fawlty. A six-one loss to Bolivia, selected 107 players, scraping through to the finals, picking his 36-year-old mate who hadn’t played for Argentina this century, not picking Esteban Cambiasso…or any full-backs, or getting the best out of Lionel Messi. That’s been the narrative. The reality was high altitude in Bolivia, a mix of Argentine A & B teams, “scraping” through by the considerable feat of winning in Uruguay, his 36-year-old mate, Martin Palermo getting the winner against Peru which set up the chance in Uruguay. And he’s not the first national coach not to get the “best” out of Messi (although Messi’s display against Nigeria looked pretty “best” to me). The lack of Cambiasso and full-backs I’ll let you have. But is Maradona as mad as they say, or does it all stem back to one handball incident on 22nd June 1986? His last press conference before this South Korea game was reportedly gave credence to his “mad as they say” theory. But, in truth, the reality was little more than the usual pro-Argentina, anti-Pele rhetoric with a little added Platini, both in response to criticisms they made of him. There was some stuff about...

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World Cup 2010: South Korea 2-0 Greece

Statistics are often as misleading as they are informative. On one hand this game is between the 2004 European Championship winners and the 2002 World Cup Semi-Finalists. Another way of describing the game is between a side whose World Cup finals record outside their own country is just one win in seventeen games (and that over African minnows Togo) and the only European nation ever to play at a World Cup without scoring. At the outset, that may be harsh, as the South Koreans are showing that the co-hosting of the Cup in 2002 has been beneficial in the long-term as the 1994 World Cup was for the United States.

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World Cup Preview: Group B

The 19th FIFA World Cup kicks off in eight weeks today, and as such Dotmund continues his almost-in-depth look ahead to this summer’s festivities. Today he continues his preview of each of the eight groups, having been sent foraging for facts on the internet with only his trusty big pencil for company. Up for examination in this week’s post, Group B.

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The World Cup Of National Anthems (Part One)

For many people, major sports tournaments are the only occasion that national anthems are heard. These peculiar tunes have become a genre of their own, transcending the mere hymns that many of them were in first place, and they range from the gloriously uplifting to mournful dirges. The selection of words has, in many countries, brought about national debate that has been all-encompassing. In the case of Spain, it was decided that it would probably be for the best just to not bother having any for the sake of national unity. Still, one of the distinguishing moments of excitement of any World Cup is to see the two teams line up and have a bash at singing the national anthem. Who belts it out at top volume, utterly out of tune but blissfully unaware of their atonality? Who is standing there silently with the look of a dead man walking? Who doesn’t know the words? Coaches could do worse that scan their opposition for signs of the mental state of their opposition and call their players back in. You can almost imagine Fabio Capello in the middle of a huddle of England players, explaining that they should push the ball wide early on because the opposing full-backs stood like rabbits caught in the glare of a car’s headlamps throughout the duration of, “O Greenland, Land Of Ice & Mellow...

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