Korea beats its nemesis of 2002Korea’s soccer players boosted their morale considerably Sunday by exacting revenge on Germany with a strong 3-1 win in a friendly match held in Busan. Germany ousted Korea in the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup.
Without calling in more experienced players who participated in the teams’ last meeting two years ago, head coach Johannes Bonfrere managed a victory over the Germans with a team of players mainly in their early 20s.
At the start of the match, the home team seemed vulnerable, allowing a series of corner kicks. Then Cha Du-ri’s aggressive play lifted the Korean team’s spirit. In the sixth minute, he dribbled the ball for 50 meters (164 feet) along the right touchline and won the home team its first corner kick.
Korea scored first, 16 minutes into the first half. Kim Dong-jin unleashed a left-foot shot after rushing from the left side of the box, and found the net in the right corner.
This followed a Lee Dong-gook cross, which a defender failed to clear properly, leaving German goalie Oliver Kahn, the 2002 World Cup MVP, stranded and unable to block the ball.
Veteran midfielder Michael Ballack equalized the score in the 24th minute, bending a free kick past goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae into the right side of the net. Ballack had scored the winning goal in the World Cup semifinal of 2002.
After scoring the goal, the Germans began to apply pressure, mounting continuous attacks against the home side, and nearly scored a second one on an unmarked Miroslav Klose shot in the 25th minute, which Lee managed to clear off the line.
Four minutes later, a crucial moment came when teenager Kim Jin-kyu headed away a free kick and the ball bounced off the Korean goal post.
The Germans continued to put the Korean goal under tremendous pressure, but to no avail, and the first half ended tied. Twenty-six minutes into the second half, the Koreans finally reversed the momentum of the game. Lee Dong-gook blasted the ball into the top right corner from another bad clearance of a shot by Park Gyu-sun.
Park Jae-hong’s handling led to a penalty kick by Ballack in the 39th minute of the second half, only to have it blocked by Lee Woon-jae’s dive.
Another opportunity for the home team saw their third goal come a few minutes later, when Cho Jae-jin sent the ball into the net from a Cha Du-ri cross.
“It was a good game,” said a cheerful Bonfrere after the match. The coach said the players did not do well in the beginning, but after scoring the first goal they managed to lead the game and did not miss opportunities.
Bonfrere also said that to prepare for a final World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait, whose team has many young players, he employed young players. Both Korea and Kuwait are in Group A of the qualifying rounds. Bonfrere said the players still need better speed, power and passing skills.
German head coach Juergen Klinsmann said the Koreans were fast in counterattacking and were good at man-to-man marking. He said he was disappointed with the result but added that the Korean team was stronger than he had expected.
Klinsmann took the helm of the German soccer team in July, and the match with Korea was the first loss on his record. The German team tied with Brazil in September and beat Japan 3-0 last week.
As a player, Klinsmann scored two goals against Korea in 1994 in a qualifying round for the World Cup in the United States.
by Jeong Young-jae, Limb Jae-un
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