Tag Archives: World Cup

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NKorea In World Cup Final, Says Fake News Clip That Further Distorts Public View Of Country

by TONY KIM

On Saturday, YouTube channel Korea News Backup posted what appeared to be a North Korean news clip of its national team advancing to the World Cup finals to face Portugal. Several news sites even initially reported that the video is an official North Korean state broadcast. The absurdity of the content (um, North Korea didn’t qualify for this year’s tournament), coupled with the public’s oh-those-crazy-North-Koreans view, was enough to make the video go viral. So far, it’s generated more than 5 million views.

In the clip, a female anchor takes viewers through North Korea’s historic run in the tournament. Apparently, the national team first advanced out of the group stage as the number one seed after beating China 2:0. Conveniently, North Korea then goes on to blow out the U.S. and Japan to finally face Portugal. Edited footage of Brazilian fans cheering for North Korea’s victory and its supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, was also shown.

Though we can’t confirm 100-percent, it’s very, very likely that the segment is fake.

Yahoo Sports points out that the anchor’s dialect is wrong and her voice is not in synch with her lips. More convincingly, The Telegraph reported around a month ago that North Korean citizens are actually able to watch the World Cup games, even though some games may be shown after a 24-hour delay. In its report, one North Korean viewer comments that although North Korea did not qualify, he was curious to see other national teams play.

Of course, such details don’t quite fit the simplistic narrative of North Korea as a “hermit kingdom.” With such a lack of information coming out of the closed society, even the most bizarre stories are often reported at face value.

 

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Haters Back Home Throw Yeot Candy at Korean World Cup Team, A Gesture That Means ‘Eat Sh-t’

by STEVE HAN

For some people, blasting a group of young men on blogs, Twitter and among friends isn’t enough.

When the South Korean national soccer team traveled home from Brazil, where they were eliminated in the first round of the World Cup without a single win for the first time in 16 years, players were greeted by two men holding up a sign that read, “Korean soccer is dead!!” at the Incheon Airport.

They were there to represent the online community group “We Lost Because of You,” recently formed to promote hatred towards the team. The group now has more than 4,000 members.

As the players walked through the airport gate, the two men threw yeot candy at them. In Korea, throwing the country’s traditional pine-nut candy at someone is a vulgar gesture that equates to the saying “eat sh-t.”

“They made the Korean people eat yeot with their performance at the World Cup,” said one of the men, a 41-year-old only identified by his last name Cho. “So we’re here to return their yeot.”

Since getting eliminated last Thursday with a loss to Belgium, the Korean players have been under heavy public scrutiny.

The animosity reached its peak when Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong tweeted a picture of himself just before the team departed Brazil with a brief message to thank those who supported the team. The message was removed after many people hurled jabs at Jung, saying he should have a time for “self-reflection” instead for bringing “shame” to the country.

Son Heung-min, Korea’s star forward, told reporters: “Should I eat these? I’m really sad. I feel a responsibility for not succeeding at the World Cup as a player who represents Korea. We all feel that way.”

Photo via Yonhap

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World Cup: Three Thoughts On Korea’s Early Exit

by STEVE HAN

You can’t say it wasn’t expected. Korea will head home after just three games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, after it lost 1-0 to Belgium on Thursday. Finishing last in Group H, Korea exits the tournament with one draw and two losses.

Korea needed to beat Belgium by at least two goals to have a shot at advancing to the next round, but its chances came to a screeching halt when Jan Vertonghen put Belgium ahead with the winning goal with just 12 minutes remaining. While there is no shame in losing to Belgium, one of the world’s best up-and-coming teams, Korean fans and media alike will not be too forgiving about losing to a team that rested most of its regular starters. Belgium was also down a man for more than half the game after Steven Defour was shown a red card for stomping on Kim Shin-wook’s leg in the first half.

Three post-game thoughts on Korea’s early exit from the tournament:

We may have seen the last of head coach Hong Myung-bo, South Korea’s living legend. Hong is the closest thing Korea has to Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Holland’s Johan Cruyff, in that he defined an era for his country both as a player and coach. The now 45-year-old not only earned the nickname “Eternal Captain” by leading the magical Taegeuk Warriors’ team that advanced to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup as a player, he also guided Korea to its first ever medal (bronze) at the Olympic Games in 2012 as its head coach. His undisputed legacy is in danger of being tarnished for good after Korea’s disappointing showing in Brazil this summer, especially after he was accused of favoritism in his player selections. His currently contract with Korea runs through next year, but the public scrutiny may end his tenure early.

In the end, Korea just wasn’t ready to compete at this level. We can debate all day about tactics, players and whether Hong should be replaced, but the problem at this year’s tournament was that Korea just wasn’t good enough. The team consisted of bright young talents, most of whom played integral roles in Korea’s bronze medal win at the Olympics (each team at the Olympics can only have three players older than 23) two years ago, but the World Cup is a different ballgame. Unlike the Olympics where young players compete with each other, the World Cup is where the world’s best of the best go head to head. The key players from the team in London in 2012–Park Chu-young, Ki Sung-yueng and Koo Ja-cheol–were not the same players this time around for various reasons, including injuries and lack of playing time at their respective clubs.

For Team Korea to be competitive every four years at the World Cup, major changes must occur within the nation itself. For Korea to truly become a quality team consistently against the world’s best, substantial changes are needed in how the Koreans as a whole consume the sport of soccer. While it’s no secret that the World Cup fever on the streets of Seoul is rampant, soccer itself has never been a marketable game in Korea. A sad reflection of that is the fact that the average attendance of the K-League, South Korea’s professional soccer league, is only at 7,900 per game this year, while hardly any of those games are televised. Many of Korea’s current national team players grew up chasing after the ball on a dirt field. While the World Cup has turned into something of a “show business,” investment of attention and money at the grassroots level for the sport of soccer is still lacking. Unless this culture changes, Korea will continue to post mediocre performances at the World Cup.

Image via Joy News.

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Photos Of Non-Koreans Rooting For Team Korea In The World Cup

by MICHELLE WOO

They know wassup.

At the World Cup in Brazil, the Wall Street Journal’s Korea Real Time interviewed non-Koreans who were rooting for Korea, asking them why they chose the Taeguk Warriors as their team.

A few of their responses:

Top photo:
“We have close friends who are Korean-Americans. They are here for the game and we are here to support them.” —Carol Cintra, 36, from Porto Alegre

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“I have been supporting Korea since the 2002 World Cup when Brazil became the champion and Korea made it to the semi-finals. I found Korean football to be very good. My Korea jersey is a gift from my friend working at SK Construction.” —Renato Rocha, 38, from Porto Alegre, Brazil

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“I like the Korean people and Korean culture. Koreans are very nice and not too serious. They are also very cute and beautiful. And Korean music is funny.” —Maria Moure de Bainos, 19, from Porto Alegre

See more at Korea Real Time 

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Pic of the Day: Domino’s Korea Has An Insane World Cup-Themed Pizza

by TONY KIM

Koreans are probably in need of some comfort food, especially after the devastating loss to Algeria in the World Cup. The most heartbroken of fans might even turn to Domino’s new Churrasco Cheese Roll Pizza, an ambitious and ostentatious monster of a pie.

The thing is basically Brazil’s traditional Churrasco grilled skewer gone wild. Sprinkles of cheddar, mozzarella and gouda cheese cover the haphazardly-placed chimichurri steak, which is accompanied by an excessive amount of sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers and corn. Under this madness lies a deeply layered mango habanero sauce. Surrounding this party are 16 sizable cheese rolls topped by bacon bits and queso cheese sauce.

Check out the commercial.

Photo via ZenKimchi 

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KoreAm Video: World Cup Watch Party in Koreatown LA

by JOANNE LEE

KoreAm was at Koreatown L.A.’s World Cup viewing party this past Sunday when Team Korea took on Algeria in its pivotal second group stage match, which ended with heartbreak.

The viewing party was hosted in front of the lawn at the Radio Korea building on Wilshire. Watch the video to see interviews of Korean American fans who came out to support the Korean team!

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World Cup: What’s Left For Korea After Devastating Loss To Algeria

by STEVE HAN

So much for exceeding expectations. After tying with Russia five days ago, South Korea took a knockout blow from Algeria in its second 2014 FIFA World Cup match, losing 4-2.

Algeria, which changed five players in their starting lineup after their 2-1 loss to Belgium in the first game, blitzed Korea and scored three goals in the first half alone. The shell-shocked Koreans came back strong in the second half with two goals, but the damage had already been done by the time they tried to turn things around.

Three thoughts on Korea’s loss:

Technically, Korea is still alive in the competition even with just one point from two matches, but they need a miracle to advance from Group H.
The loss to Algeria by a two-goal margin drops Korea down to the very last place in the group. Belgium already clinched its berth to the next round with six points, followed by Algeria and Russia with three points and one point, respectively. Korea must beat group leader Belgium on Thursday by at least two goals and needs Russia to beat Algeria by a scoreline of 1-0. Perhaps the good news is that Marc Wilmots, the Belgian head coach, said he’s likely to start his second string players to rest his regular starters for the match against Korea in order to prepare for the second round.

All of Korea’s attack was a one-man show by Son Heung-min.
The Korean players seemed flatfooted and lethargic on both ends of the pitch. However, there was one player who created all sorts of problems for the Algerian defense when Korea somehow managed to deliver the ball to him—the 21-year-old Son Heung-min, who plays professionally at Bayer Leverkusen in Germany. Son, who scored in the second half to spark the comeback that eventually fell short, had nine successful dribble penetrations in the match, the highest among any other players at this year’s  World Cup. What’s more astounding is that eight of those nine dribble penetrations were in the opponent’s half, which is also a tournament-high among players of all teams.

This Korean team is in severe need of a veteran presence.
The average age of the Korean team in Brazil is just 26.1. Belgium, Korea’s next opponent, is younger on average at 25.6, but it has a 36-year-old veteran Daniel van Buyten whose decision to retire from international soccer at the end of the World Cup certainly serves as a motivation for the rest of the team. Algeria is led by a 31-year-old captain Majid Bougherra and Russia also consists of several veteran players. Korea’s only player above 30 is Kwak Tae-hwi at 32, and has very little international experience. Perhaps the 33-year-old Cha Du-ri, a two-time World Cup veteran who missed the cut for this year’s tournament in Brazil, summed it up best in his post-match broadcast commentary for Korean TV network SBS:

Our players gave the game away in span of about 10 minutes, because they lacked experience. It’s disappointing because I feel like I owe them an apology. It’s important for veterans like me to play well and earn a place on the team, so that these young players have someone leading them. I couldn’t do that, so our young guys had to carry the responsibility that they didn’t deserve. So I want to say sorry.

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World Cup: Post-Game Thoughts On Korea’s Draw With Russia

by STEVE HAN

Despite taking the lead with Lee Keun-ho’s go-ahead goal in the 68th minute, South Korea settled for a 1-1 draw with Russia in its first game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil on Tuesday. Korea is now tied for second place in Group H behind Belgium which defeated Algeria 2-1 earlier that day. Korea takes on Algeria this Sunday at 3 p.m. EST.

Here are three thoughts on the game.

Expect Korea to get better as the tournament progresses. Many Team Korea fans may be disappointed that their team couldn’t hold on to the lead with only about 15 minutes remaining, but head coach Hong Myung-bo has a track record of building a stronger team as these tournaments progress. In his first international tournament in 2009, the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt, Hong led Korea to the quarterfinals after losing 2-0 to Cameroon in the first game of the group stages. At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, Korea only managed a draw against Mexico in its very first game, but went on to beat Switzerland, the U.K. and Japan to win a historical bronze medal. Korea’s renowned Japanese physical trainer, Seigo Ikeda, also worked with the previous two teams. He’s famous for designing a training program for players to gradually peak with more games.

Han Kook-young is a real find. Before the tournament began, Han—Korea’s defensive midfielder—was considered to be the weak link of the team. In his World Cup debut, the 24-year-old midfielder anchored Korea’s defense with a first class performance against the Russians. To put his pleasantly surprising performance into perspective, Han ran a total of seven miles in the game, outworking the Russians whose individuals averaged six miles. What makes Han’s fine performance in Brazil even more special is the heartbreak he suffered in 2012 when he broke his foot days before the Summer Olympic Games and missed the competition altogether. Han, who is currently playing professionally in Japan, is drawing interest from several European clubs. If he maintains his level of performances against Russia for the rest of the tournament, he could soon be on his way to Europe.

Team Korea’s stars—Ki Sung-yueng and Son Heung-min—delivered when it counted most. Head coach Hong Myung-bo emphasizes “balance” between attack and defense as the most important factor for his team to play the way he wants. Two players with critical roles of striking that balance is Ki and Son. Ki completed 84 percent of his passes throughout the game. His contribution to Korea’s ball circulation as well as his smooth touches in the defensive half helped his team free itself from Russia’s high press. Also, even though Son couldn’t score, he played an instrumental role in spearheading Korea’s attack by getting to the end of passes and making electric runs into dangerous areas. Even though it was Lee Keun-ho who scored Korea’s goal, Son’s overall performance was impressive enough for him to earn the Man of the Match honor after the game.