World Cup Reds

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Follow how Korea's tournament unfolded in our World Cup Reds blog.

Five journalists each adopted a nation containing a United representative at this summer's World Cup. Unfortunately, they've all been eliminated, so this week we're reviewing their campaigns.

30/06/2010 08:43, Report by James Tuck

World Cup review: S. Korea

South Korea emerged from a tricky group, but couldn't repeat their semi-final heroics of eight years ago...

Our man in Africa: Ubiquitous national-team captain Ji-sung Park.
Nation: South Korea
Appearances/goals: 4/1
Results: 2-0 Greece; 1-4 Argentina; 2-2 Nigeria; 1-2 Uruguay
In short: Not enough quality, but Park was one of a handful of players who can be proud of their efforts in South Africa.
So, what happened? Korea had gone through their entire qualification campaign unbeaten, but insisted "expectations were too high" when they arrived at base camp in Rustenburg. A commanding win over Greece raised hopes, only for a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina to bring them back down to earth with a bump. However, the Taeguk Warriors played out a fraught draw with Nigeria to book their place in the last 16 for the very first time on foreign soil, and coach Jung-moo Huh declared his side could emulate their 2002 run to the last four. But despite giving their all in the driving rain, they found Uruguay too tough a nut to crack.
Anything to tell the grandkids? "Have I ever told you about my amazing solo goal against Greece...?" Dictating play from central midfield, Park was probably his side's outstanding performer, seemingly intent on covering every blade of grass (he ran 44km in total). If this was Ji's first and last World Cup as skipper of his nation, he should have few regrets.
If they were an animal on a South African Safari, they'd be... An impala. Quick out of the blocks, loads of energy but inevitably hunted down in the end.
Back home in a bar, they're saying... Darn you, Luis Suarez. But we're still the best team in Asia and have proved that football in the continent is going places. Roll on 2014.


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