true faith : KOREA OPPORTUNITIES – Group G Match Round Up

by • June 21, 2014 • tf blogsComments Off on true faith : KOREA OPPORTUNITIES – Group G Match Round Up394

Hello! Let me start off by saying how much I’ve enjoyed the first lot of games of this WorldKorea2 Cup. For the most part, teams have been having a go at each other and genuinely trying to win their matches instead of some of the negativity we’ve endured in previous competitions. Korea is 8 hours ahead of the UK which means that instead of games kicking off at 5pm, 8pm and 11pm, they’re kicking off at 1am, 4am and 7am. I have to get the 8am bus to work every morning. You can see my problem.

I don’t want to step on the toes of any other writers so I won’t go in-depth on other games, I’ll just list a quick few personal highlights of the games so far:

l  Watching Spain get hammered – well worth getting up at 4AM on a Saturday morning for;

l  Costa Rica beating Uruguay – England’s group could well be one of the most interesting when it gets to the final round of games;

l  Korean World Cup coverage – instead of making you listen to somebody else’s opinion of the game so far, Korean TV simply shows you adverts and first half highlights for 15 minutes. Lovely.

So, onto South Korea’s involvement. Group G was the last to kick off with Belgium beating Algeria 2-1 (I predicted 3-0). I can’t comment too much on this game as it was kicking off at the inhumane hour of 1AM, but from what I gather, Belgium only turned up with 20 minutes to go having fallen behind to a first half penalty. Perhaps their dominance of the group isn’t going to be as straight forward as many predicted.

Wednesday morning at 7AM brought the last of the first games: Russia v South Korea. A large number of natives will have watched this game on their way to work. They’ll have been aided in this by the fact that many South Korean mobile phones have aerials built into them so your average Korean consumer doesn’t have to miss his favourite telly programme if he’s out and about. For the most part, the reception is crystal clear as well! Perfect. I watched the first half at home while getting ready for work and the second over some bloke’s shoulder on the 8 o’clock bus.

After a fairly even (boring) first half in which the ball was contested pretty solidly in the middle of the park and any forays into the opposition’s penalty area inevitably petered out or ended with a spectacularly terrible effort on goal, the second brightened up. Korea opened the scoring thanks to a goalkeeping ‘howler’ from Russian custodian…hang on while I check the internet….Igor Akinfeev. That’s him. Russian custodian Igor Akinfeev. The captain of CSKA Moscow (according to Wikipedia) looked to be dealing comfortably with catching a fairly tame shot at head height from Lee Keun-ho until he contrived to throw it over his shoulder into the net. 1-0 to Korea and scenes of jubilation erupt on the bus as strangers punch the air, high-five and even applaud their phone screens.

Unfortunately, the bloke whose shoulder I was snooping over got off the bus not long after this so I was left checking my phone for updates and by the team I’d got off the bus and popped into the little corner shop next to work, the Russians had equalised (through Aleksandr Kerzhakov, I later learned). ‘Il tae il,’ as the woman behind the counter informed me as I squinted at her little portable’s screen. 1-1 to you and me.

This was how it remained for the rest of the game giving Group G a slightly more balanced look than I’d anticipated going into the second round of games and I’m now slightly more optimistic about South Korea’s chances of going through. However, the tournament so far has shown us that it’s pretty pointless to try and predict these things, so I’m just going to sit back and wait for Sunday 22nd of June when Group G recommences.

Til then, blog on!

P.S – Does anyone still refer to Man United as the ‘Red Devils’? Just it’s the South Korean national side’s nickname as well but I can’t quite bring myself to say ‘howay the Red Devils,’ loath as I am to associate myself with the red half of Manchester.



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