[FOUNTAIN]The Pele Score

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[FOUNTAIN]The Pele Score

Children usually watch animation for about 20 minutes. That is the limit children can concentrate. After that, their brain cells’ function drops and the concentration decreases. If a drama does not evoke excitement every 20 minutes, people soon lose interest. In hospitals, they schedule treatment sessions for people with concentration disorder or aphasia for 15 to 20 minutes every time.
Watching a sports game is similar. In baseball, the Kennedy Score is the most exciting. After former U.S. President John F. Kennedy remarked, “8 to 7 is the most exciting score for a baseball game,” during a presidential candidates’ debate, it became a general term. When the score gap is large, baseball games are no fun. Some viewers get bored watching a pitchers’ battle, too. The final score is 8 to 7 when the teams keep scoring every 15 to 20 minutes.
In soccer there is the Pele Score. It originates from Pele’s remark, “Winning by one goal, especially 3 to 2, is the ideal score in soccer.” From a viewer’s point, it is most exciting to see a goal every 18 minutes. Many games ended up 3-2, including the 1982 Spain World Cup match between Brazil and Italy in the second round, England versus Cameroon in the quarterfinals of 1990 Italy World Cup and the game between Brazil and the Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the U.S. World Cup in 1994.
These are the experts’ choices as the best games in history.
In great matches, losers are not just losers. Brazilian fans warmly greeted their national team after it lost to Italy, because they had shown the essence of aggressive soccer. Contrastingly, the team was treated coldly in 1994 after winning the World Cup for the first time in 24 years, because they played only defensive soccer.
The case is similar for Cameroon, which raised a sensation in 1990. Their national broadcasting station even changed its name to Roger Milla and organized a soccer committee under the direct supervision of the president.
The great match of the Netherlands in 1994 is also famous. Dick Advocaat, then head coach of the orange troop, gained international fame. He is preparing another big match as the coach of Korea.
The match between Korea and Togo is to be held today. What difference is there if the score is 3 to 2 or 1 to 0? The victory would be the same. The 48 million red devils are prepared to become excited.
I hope Korea passes the first round and advances to the semifinals. I hope to greet the morning sun with the news of victory from Germany.


by Lee Chul-ho

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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