World Cup 2002… soccer that is 🙂
The World Cup Bronze Medal game became one of the most memorable match in the World Cup history when Turkey beat Korea 3:2. It displayed a fast-paced and hot match making us sticking to our seats and watched the entire performance of high spirit, endurance, stamina, strategy and talent. I take my hat off to Turkey and Korea who managed to break the mold of traditionally dull and lifeless affair in the World Cup’s bronze medal contest. Note: I-Ha, you must love this game! A lot of adrenaline 🙂
Hakan Sukur, Turkey’s all-time leading scorer, finally showed his talent and netted a splendid goal at 11 seconds into the first half of the match, making it the fastest goal in the history of World Cup’s finals. He wriggled out of the intense pressure for failure to score in the six previous World Cup matches. Then, he assisted Ilhan Mansiz to score two more goals. Another hat off to Sukur that placed teamwork above self-importance.
Although Korea ended on a down note; we bore witness to the beautiful goals shot by Lee Eul Yong and Song Chong Gug. Korea had several opportunities but none with killer touch. Hiddink admitted that they made some big mistakes in the first half in defence and slacken in discipline. The second half picked up where the opening frame left off, as both teams continued to attack and press forward. A goal from Song Chong Gug in extra time brought the Koreans another goal… A consolation but yes, it was too little and too late. Yet, the loss could not erase the memory of its remarkable achievement at this tournament.
Three minutes after injury time the game was over and Turkey reigned as the bronze medallist. It left Lee Chun Soo tearful in the background of deafening cheers in Daegu’s soccer field. However, the Saturday’s result couldn’t dim the indomitable spirit of Korea’s fervent supporters. Players from both teams left the field locked in arms while fans continued to cheer and holler in a display of their appreciation for South Korea’s miraculous World Cup run. The Turkish side appreciated the atmosphere of bonhomie extended by the Korean fans, too. Sukur and Turkish defender Fatih Akyel ran around the pitch holding a South Korean flag to salute the crowd following the game.
After the game, Turkish coach Senol Gunes said, “We wanted to give hope and happiness to our people and we have managed to do that.” He is looking forward to his squad’s reception upon returning to Turkey. “It’s going to be the meeting of two lovers tomorrow.” It is indeed a sweet vindication! Their first appearance in soccer’s showpiece paid off the 1950’s bitter memory when they were deemed to poor to pay for the ticket to play the World Cup in Brazil.
What did we learn from this game?
* That the tenacious Turks could overcome the Koreans home field advantage and didn’t let the hang over from their disappointment against Brazil spoiled their performance.
* That team play is more important than self-importance, self-indulgence and self-centered of individual players.
* That you owe the game and your supporters every bit of your talent and undying effort.
* That at the end of the day, after men’s toil and hard work, they still return home to their loved ones and telling stories of how the best performance should be conducted for the zest of sportsmanship…. play the game, play it hard with zealous effort and whether you win or lose you still can hug and holding-hand with your opponents.
Tomorrow we’ll see the most anticipated match that took half a century to happen, Brazil vs. Germany. While both struggled in qualifying and came to the World Cup with discredited teams that many thought would get knocked out early, tomorrow they will perform a match of contrasting styles and strengths: offence vs. defence, Ronaldo vs. Kahn, artistry vs. discipline, Latin heat vs. European cool. Who wanna bet?