[FOUNTAIN]Don't let Korea get a red card

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[FOUNTAIN]Don't let Korea get a red card

"You should still be careful after scoring a goal," a sportscaster said while the local television was airing the scene of the Brazilian striker, Ronaldinho, trudging off the field after being given a red card during the World Cup match between Brazil and England last Friday in Japan. Ronaldinho had been splendid throughout the game: He assisted an equalizer to Rivaldo right before the end of the first half and scored a sublime free-kick five minutes into the second half.

Maybe he was still overwhelmed. Just seven minutes after he succeeded in the beautiful goal, Ronaldinho was sent off for kicking an English defender in the ankle. The press dubbed Ronaldinho's misfortune as his "joining the Garrincha Club." Garrincha Club is the name jokingly given to soccer players who were sent off after scoring a goal. Garrincha was a forward for Brazil who, with the legendary Pele, led Brazil to victory at the 1962 Chile World Cup. Garrincha scored two goals during the semi-final game, but was sent off right before the end of the game for kicking a defender.

Garrincha means a little bird and is actually the nickname of Manuel Francisco Dos Santos. His right leg was slightly shorter than his left leg because of polio contracted when he was a child, but he ruled as the "king of dribble."

If you are overjoyed over scoring a goal, thus overly excited, you are more likely to commit unnecessary fouls. I remember the frustration I felt when a Korean player, Ha Seok-ju, was sent off for back tackling two minutes after he scored the first goal in a match against Mexico during the 1998 France World Cup. The 10-man Korean team lost the match.

Not only players on the field but also fans outside are at risk of falling victim to overreaction. A good example is those few among the crowds who violate law and order. On the day Korea made it to the quarter-finals, beating Spain, several teenaged boys were killed while driving under the influence without a license.

The Korean economy, overshadowed by the joy of the Korean team's victories, also needs some attention. While Koreans were intoxicated by the World Cup excitement, stock markets have tumbled and the Korean won is continuing its upward march.

The U.S. economy's delayed recovery and the aggravating economic crisis in Latin American countries cast a dark cloud over the prospect of the global economy after the World Cup ends this week.

Let's be careful after we host the World Cup, so we do not have to be an "off the field" member of the Garrincha Club.



The writer is a JoongAng Ilbo editorial writer.

by Sohn Byung-soo

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