중앙데일리

Koreans go online to force rematch

June 25,2006
The Korean national soccer team’s 2-0 loss to Switzerland at the World Cup may have happened Saturday, but the furor over the controversial play that led to the second goal of the game refuses to die down among angry Korean fans, leading FIFA, the sport’s governing body, to shut down its Web site for users logging on from Korea to demand a rematch or simply to disable the site in protest.
The fans here have argued that the play, on which the Swiss forward Alexander Frei walked in alone on Korean goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae for the goal, should have been called back because Frei was offside. Referee Horacio Elizondo of Argentina did not stop play even after an assistant referee, Dario Garcia, raised his flag to signal the offside violation.
The loss eliminated Korea in the first round of play of the tournament finals. The Swiss advanced to the knockout stage and will play Ukraine Tuesday morning, Korean time.
Korean “netizens” have bombarded online message boards with posts calling for Elizondo’s head and raising suspicion of a conspiracy by officials in the match to aid the Swiss side, noting darkly that the president of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, is a native of Switzerland.
One particularly fervent fan began a campaign to get his compatriots to visit the feedback page of FIFA’s World Cup Web site to request a rematch. The fan, showing more passion than rationality, argued that if 5 million Koreans demanded a rematch, FIFA would grant it. As of yesterday afternoon, more than 4.2 million messages from Koreans had been written. Given other controversial calls in the round-robin play, other rabid fans in other countries may be standing in line.


by Yoo Jee-ho


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