중앙데일리

South Koreans now spectators

United States, North Korea advance to round of 16 in tournament

Aug 27,2007
The South Korean team, acknowledging fans in Ulsan Friday after beating Togo 2-1, has been eliminated. [YONHAP]
In the end, winning just one game in the group stage wasn’t enough to get South Korea into the round of 16 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The host country did its part to stay alive in the tournament, beating Togo 2-1 Friday and securing third place in Group A with three points. South Korea was hoping to take one of four wild card spots, awarded to the top-four third-place teams from six groups.
For South Korea to advance, it needed a lot of help, specifically: Belgium had to beat the United States and Tunisia had to defeat Tajikistan by at least three goals in Group E, and Colombia had to beat Ghana by five or more goals in Group F.
Those hopes were lost when the United States beat Belgium 2-0 in yesterday's Group E action.
South Korea, which scored two goals and gave up four in a win and two losses, is the fifth consecutive host to be eliminated in group stage of the tournament, dating back to New Zealand in 1999.
In the tournament’s 22-year history, no host has claimed the championship.
“We prepared for the tournament the best we could, but we failed before our home fans,” Korea coach Park Kyung-hoon told Yonhap.
“It’s all my fault,” Park said. “But our young players gained valuable experience here, and I hope they don’t lose their hopes and dreams for the future.”
In another Group E game, Tunisia edged Tajikistan 1-0 to finish at the top of Group E, and joined Group D’s Nigeria as the only nations with three wins in the first round.
The United States, despite losing to Tajikistan and Tunisia, sneaked into the round of 16 with the win over Belgium, which played short-handed after Christian Benteke was red-carded on a hard tackle in the 36th minute.
The Americans completed the group stage tied with Tajikistan and Belgium in points and goal differential, but finished ahead of both because they scored more goals.
In Group F yesterday, Germany routed Trinidad and Tobago 5-0 to finish as the top team. Ghana edged Colombia 2-1 to finish second in the group.
Finishing first and second in their groups are: Peru and Costa Rica in Group A; England and Brazil in Group B; Spain and Argentina in Group C; Nigeria and France in Group D; Tunisia and the United States in Group E and Germany and Ghana in Group F. The four wild cards went to North Korea, Colombia, Syria and Tajikistan.
After off days today and tomorrow, the round of 16 matches will take place Wednesday and Thursday across seven South Korean cities.
On Wednesday, Spain faces North Korea in Ulsan; Tunisia plays France in Changwon, South Gyeongsang; Peru meets Tajikistan in Suwon, Gyeonggi; and Brazil battles Ghana in Gwangyang, South Jeolla.
On Thursday, Argentina meets Costa Rica in Goyang, Gyeonggi; Nigeria faces North Korea in Gwangyang; England plays Syria on Jeju Island and Germany faces the United States in Cheonan, South Chungcheong.


By Yoo Jee-ho Staff Writer [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]



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