South Korea see off disappointing Greece

2010-06-12 14:51

South Korea registered the first win at the 2010 Soccer World Cup,

a richly deserved 2-0 victory against Greece today to give them a live chance of

achieving their ambition of a last 16 berth.

South Korea, semifinalists when they co-hosted, with Japan, the

competition in 2002, were too quick and too smart for Otto Rehhagel’s Euro 2004

champions, who were sent packing by goals from Lee Jung Soo and captain and

Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung.

The United star reflected: “This was my third World Cup goal and it

makes me very honoured but ultimately it’s down to the team winning.

“We had a good result today, and as this is the first World Cup in

Africa I’m thrilled.”

His coach, Huh Jung-Moo, added: “The first game is always

difficult, my team played well, we prepared thoroughly. Our main strategy was

looking at Greece’s set pieces.

And if we had been a little calmer we could have

perhaps scored more goals.”

The Asian side grabbed this Group B fixture by the scruff of the

neck as early as the seventh minute when Celtic’s Ki Sung Yueng’s freekick from

beside the left corner flag skimmed over the heads of the Greek defence for Lee

to volley in at the far post.

Considering that it was Greece with their far superior statures

that were supposed to present the setpiece threat, the manner of Korea’s goal

will have come as a nasty surprise.

Understandably Rehhagel did not look the happiest man among the

crowd at the three-quarter full 42?000-capacity Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in

Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape.

The Koreans proceeded to run rings round the Greeks and were close

to a second goal in the 27th minute after Ji-Sung’s superb through ball found

Park Chu Young only for the Monaco striker’s shot to be deflected over the

crossbar by keeper Alexandros Tzorvas.

Rehhagel made one switch at the break, replacing captain Giorgis

Karagounis with defender Christos Patsatzoglou.

Seven minutes later Greece, who have never had the pleasure of

celebrating a World Cup goal, fell further behind after a masterful charge by

the sparky Ji-Sung.

The talismanic United midfielder beat off defenders Avraam

Papadopoulos and Loukas Vyntra to slot the ball deftly past Tzorvas, triggering

a flurry of flag waving among the Korean fans.

This Group B opener represented a personal milestone for Michael

Hester, the first New Zealander to referee a match at the World Cup, and he

marked the occasion by dishing out a yellow card to Greek defender Vasilis


Ten minutes from time something unusual took place, Greece had a

shot at goal – but Korea’s veteran keeper Jung Sung Ryong lived up to his

nickname of “Spiderhands” to tip Theofanis Gekas’s close range attempt over the


Rehhagel, making his debut as a World Cup finals manager at the age

of 72, said Korea had deserved their win, before adding: “I’m always

disappointed to lose a match, whether it’s in the World Cup or a cup game.

“We’ll go back to Durban now and analyse what went wrong factually

and soberly and try and improve for our next game (against Nigeria).

“The Koreans played very well, they fought hard, they used their

chances, we didn’t.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.