An age of Korean footballThe Korean national football team won its first game at the World Cup in South Africa yesterday. It was an overwhelming victory that was nearly error-free. Korean football’s chronic problems - which typically involve mishandling the ball in front of the goal - were more or less absent in this match. The players dominated the field throughout the entire game, showing much more movement and stronger teamwork than their competitors. Particularly impressive were the outstanding strategy and stable play the team displayed during the game.
When Lee Jung-soo kicked the ball into the net in the first half and Park Ji-sung added another goal in the second half through brilliant dribbling, the entire nation erupted in cheers. The Korean football team is now off to an impressive start by defeating Greece 2-0 in its first game, moving it a step closer to the second round.
As a matter of fact, Korea has long been a leader of football in Asia.
However, we have always fallen short of our expectations because the team has traditionally struggled during away games, except for when it downed Togo 2-1 in the 2006 Germany World Cup.
Also, the coaches behind the team’s previous biggest victories were from the Netherlands: the legendary Guus Hiddink at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup and Dick Advocaat at the 2006 Germany World Cup.
But it is different this time.
Under the outstanding leadership of Huh Jung-moo, Korean football has firmly moved from the periphery of the sport to the center of it from an international perspective.
Huh’s brilliant judgment and our players’ ability to concentrate on the game were also remarkable. Needless to say, all the support from the Korean people made the unprecedented triumph possible, not to mention the help of the Red Devils - the cheering squad that enthusiastically roots for the national team wherever it goes.
In the world of sports competition, there is no permanent winner or loser. It’s about performing as well as possible and having no regrets. Our national football team appears destined to write a new page in the history of the World Cup.
The unified power of our 23 players is capable of creating a sports miracle by overwhelming other forces in the football world. Yesterday’s thrilling victory is just the first step toward moving on to the second round, and the real tournament begins now. We hope our players will do their best because the entire nation will be supporting them with shouts of “Daehanminguk!” as it did so fervently yesterday.