National team finally shows spirit in beating North KoreaSixty five thousand spectators attended a friendly soccer match between the two Koreas at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday, cheering not only for South Korean players but also those from the North. The match was the opening event of the joint Liberation Day celebration marking the 60th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule.
Instead of the usual chant of “Daehan Minguk,” which means Republic of Korea, the crowd chanted “Unified Korea” during the game, which was attended by delegates from both Koreas and from overseas.
The national team had a relatively easy 3-0 win, with goals scored by Chung Kyung-ho, Kim Jin-ryong and Park Chu-young. The match was the second meeting of the current teams, 10 days after the four-nation East Asian Football Championship 2005, in which the North finished third and the South ranked fourth.
South Korea was under pressure to play better this time and sought to dominate from the start. With the victory, South Korea now has six wins, three draws and one loss against North Korea.
South Korea’s manager Johannes Bonfrere employed a 3-5-2 formation in which Kim, Chung and Park, recently recovered from an injury to his right foot, played up front.
In the midfield were Baek Ji-hoon and Kim Do-heon, who both showed superb passing and individual skills during the match. Bonfrere employed midfielders on either side on defense, and Chung as a right-wing forward on offense.
The first goal came in the 34th minute, when Chung headed in Kim Do-heon’s free-kick cross from the right of the penalty box. This was the team’s first goal from a set play since a game against Paraguay in January.
Two minutes later, the second goal came from Kim Jin-ryong, who threw himself forward to slot in a cross from Baek on the left wing. The ball bounced over the North Korean goalkeeper, Kim Myong-gil.
In the 21st minute of the second half, Bonfrere replaced Kim Jin-ryong with Lee Dong-guk as forward. Two minutes later, Kim Jin-kyu passed the ball between North Korean defenders in a counterattack and 19-year-old Park Chu-young rushed in to send a right-foot shot past the goalkeeper.
The North Korean team had no luck with their shots, as seen in the 36th minute of the second half when a free kick ricocheted off the South Korean goal post.
The national team will play Saudi Arabia in the last game of the qualifying round for the 2006 Germany World Cup tomorrow.
by Jeong Young-jae, Limb Jae-un