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June 19, 2006

Comments

James

It pisses me off too, man. Even more than Japan's terrible performance.

Ashamed Korean

Abiola,

I am not sure whether your accusation of bribery was serious or togune-in-cheek, but I don't think anything nefarious was involved this time.

But I understand where you are coming from, and I do think Moreno & company were most likely bribed in 2002. I am embarrassed to admit as a Korean national, but South Korea has a ignoble history of corruption--both publicized (e.g. the Roy Jones scandal) and un-publicized. In fact, Cha Bum-geun, South Korea's greatest footballer, has come out and alleged that Jung Mong-joon, a Hyundai heir and a really seedy fellow who happens to run Korean football, likes to fix domestic league matches. Of course, Jung has impeccable pedigree. His father (whom I otherwise admire) is infamous in the knowing circles for bribing the IOC voters at Baden Baden to obtain the 88 Olympics--with everything ranging from hard cash and Korean women.

But again, I don't think there was a bribery involved here. Nonetheless, the Koreans are justly impugned whenever something like this happens. Karma is a canine female, as they say.

Finally, can you imagine what would have happened if the reverse had happened? The French didn't complain much except for Henry (how predictable, LOL) and showed a lot of class. Yet if the South Koreans had been similarly victimized, you would've had a flood of complaints that would have drowned out the world worse than Noah's flood.

Not to mention the disgusting, racist conspiracy theories about how white folks are out to get us.

I am sickened by what is happening in my fatherland.

Chuckles

This match was entirely absurd! I thought the French really had it in the bag and I still cannot believe the draw. I had to endure a couple of minutes of "Daehan Minguk!!!" and hand clapping while matching the match with a Korean fellow.

[...Meanwhile, all the usual suspects are already out in force bashing the French side for supposedly complacently "drawing" a game they clearly won...]

Well, comments from the French media do have a point to them. France has been plagued by a slow start - they dont seem to have much momentum; and there just wasnt much zest to their game against SK. For me, the problem isnt so much the draw, as the fact that I expected much more from French play.

Meanwhile, on another planet:

http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200606/kt2006061917123554040.htm

[...It was our fighting spirit that enabled our team to remain on an unbeaten streak in the 2002 World Cup. The inferiority complex toward the European teams no longer exists. It is hoped our Korean warriors put all of what they have into the upcoming match against Switzerland, so as not to leave any regrets...]

While on Foreign Dispatches:

[...with 5,000 years of history, the gift of chopsticks, pure bloodlines or whatever other nationalist B.S. takes their fancy...]

It seems Abiola, that you failed to take into account that unique "fighting spirit" without which chopsticks and bloodlines would be of little consequence.

Frank McGahon

[Well, comments from the French media do have a point to them. France has been plagued by a slow start - they dont seem to have much momentum; and there just wasnt much zest to their game against SK. For me, the problem isnt so much the draw, as the fact that I expected much more from French ]

I wouldn't let the French team off so easily. They look in trouble - Switzerland currently ahead against Togo - and will need to beat Togo and hope that South Korea and Switzerland don't draw to be sure of qualifying. My guess is that Domenech himself is the problem. From what I can see, he seems to be another conservative plodder like SGE: Similar inertia in choosing Barthez over Coupet* - the outstanding keeper in the French league - leaving Giuly out of the squad and worst of all, adopting a formation and gameplan which wastes the talents of the likes of Henry**. If France played a little more like second-half-of-the-season Arsenal, he'd be cracking in the goals.

* See Beckham, D. vs Lennon, A.
** See Gerrard. S.

Kenji

Poor refereeing is part of the game. One thing that amazes me in comparing the Japanese and Korean teams' performances over the last several years during which the two nations did everything possible to become better football nations is that, somehow, the Koreans have done better at winning when it counts. If France really had a great team, it would have won one of the last two matches.

Ross

France could benefit from Zidane being suspended, they might be forced to build their team around the talents of someone who's good now, rather than someone who hasn't been a great player for a couple of years.

Chuckles

Yes, I do agree with Frank that Domenech is part of the problem, and with Ross that the Zidane factor is really a curse on French play. But lads, France *won* this game fair and square AFAIAC - I am just annoyed that their play wasnt zesty enough to ensure a wider margin. I mean, the cheek of that referee disallowing a goal as plain as day! As to Kenji's assertion, there is much truth to it, though I suspect, that were Japanese players to be informed, in no uncertain terms, that they carried the glory of the Yamato race on their shoulders and the Japanese public made to understand the severity of foreign humiliation on the soccer field, Japan's game would be much better than it is today.

Abiola

"I am not sure whether your accusation of bribery was serious or togune-in-cheek, but I don't think anything nefarious was involved this time."

You're right, I was being sarcastic - though I do find it hard to chalk up to mere coincidence *two* disallowed goals for Spain back in 2002.

"Poor refereeing is part of the game."

It wouldn't be so objectionable on this occasion if one weren't so certain that it would be used to flatter hyper-nationalistic conceits. To cheerfully benefit from someone else's oversight is one thing (see Maradona's infamous "Hand of God" goal), but to use it as one more lever to flaunt racial and national superiority is something else again; just look at the way the Togolese team have subsequently been rubbished as "inferior" in the Korean press despite having completely outplayed the Reds until they had a man sent off ... I mean, really, how is one supposed to be happy for a side backed by 48 million people who overwhelmingly think like this:

http://elisabethdivis.livejournal.com/16291.html
["10 million people took to Korea's streets last night to watch the match against Togo. This year marks Togo's first year at the World Cup. When I show my students where Togo is by chalking in its slim shape on the world map painted onto my classroom chalkboard, they all ooh and aww about how small it is. "Smaller than Korea!" they say, rather enthusiastically. When I ask them what they know about Togo, they say not much, "dark skin," "poor," "tall," and "ugly.""]

I could dig up lots more of the same, but it just isn't worth my time. I can't cheer an England side which uses football to rub World War 2 in the face of former enemies, and I can't cheer a Korean side whose every dubious "draw" or "victory" is taken as proof of national superiority over "uglier", less "disciplined/spirited/whatever" races and nations - and the Korean example is even more difficult to stomach in that most of those being gloated over haven't actually ever *done* anything to Korea.

Ashamed Korean

Abiola,

As I said in the previous post, I think the referees in 2002 WERE bribed. So no argument from me there.

I also agree with your response to Kenji. I would in fact add that Kenji ignores that "poor refereeing" is a DISPROPORTIONATE part of the equation when the Koreans are involved--and not just in World Cup soccer. I know it's politically not so PC to say these things, but some countries or cultures are conspicuously less beholden to the modern Western notions of fair play.

Finally, regarding Abiola's comment about Korean racism: He is lucky that he doesn't speak Korean. Among the things I heard on a popular Korean radio show after the Togo game was a comment along the lines of: "The Togolese gave up at the end because Africans are in general lazy and rarely play whole matches."

And the sad thing is, this is not an aberration in Korean broadcast media but an every day occurrence.

gene berman

I don't watch any football except the American kind, so can't comment on that paticularly.

A few years ago, though, i happenned to see the finals of a taekwondo competition--a world championship, I think--held in Seoul.
One of the contenders was a guy, perhaps in his 30s, apparently the reigning champion for a number of years. The other was a 17-year-old Hispanic kid from L.A. (U.S. Korean coach) who had beaten everyone to make the finals but had broken an ankle on the way (heavily taped or casted).

The kid beat the crap out of the champ. Knocked him down several times. Knocked him clear off the mat a few more. Seemed to be able to get one or another kind of blow in almost at will and was nearly untouched throughout.

The "judges" gave the match to the older man. The kid actually didn't get too upset but his coach went ballistic and had to be forcibly restrained--probably from giving some lessons in the art to the judges; I think he refused to accept the 2nd-place trophy.

Also--something else amusing about Korean men. Many, though certainly not all actually believe that their possession of a foreskin is a mark of their biological and evolutionary superiority to those without--an improvement their people developed. I even once heard several Korean men telling "dumb Pollack" jokes--nothing new, just the usual. But, when I innocently asked one "what's a Pollack?" I got a real surprise. He explained (and the others agreed) that a "Pollack" was a particularly dumb kind of people who came from the extreme south of Korea!

Scott Wickstein

I didn't see the France-South Korea fixture, nor did I see the Italy-USA game, but from what I HAVE seen the referees seem to be okay this time around. I know other Australian fans and the Australian team think that we got the rough end of the pineapple against Brazil, but what do they expect when the side plays a very hard-ball, physical style of play?

No, for the most part, I think the referees have done a good job.

Factory

Yar, one has to live with the referees decisions even if there is a certain amount of error. Hand of God FTW. :)

Kenji

Scott, don't you thnk, though, that the ease with which yellow/card cards are being handed out is ridiculous? Making the game less physical would certainly benefit my countrymen, but it makes the game less interesting.

Abiola

Yet more examples of what I was talking about:

Exhibit 1: Cheating is okay if it's done by a Korean.
http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200606/200606140019.html

Exhibit 2: Pointing out the obvious about Vieira's disallowed goal is "disparaging Korea"

http://www.rjkoehler.com/?p=3082

and as several commenters insist, to maintain otherwise makes you a "racist" (though what that makes the Japanese media is unclear to me ...); even Reuters must be part of the racist conspiracy to keep Korea down. What's so hard about saying "hey, we got lucky", graciously acknowledging the talent and hard work of the other side, and then moving on? Why was the guy whose goal was disallowed able to show an equanimity seemingly beyond those who benefited from the wrong done to him?

http://worldcup.reuters.com/southkorea/news/usnL19777729.html

In short, why the need to turn everything into a symbolic contest for ethnic supremacy betweeen Korea and the rest of the world? These aren't football fans cheerfully supporting the home-side we're talking about, but nationalists using the World Cup as yet another vehicle for their tiresome, narrow agenda.

Ashamed Korean

This article ought to tell you the Korean sense of fair play. It's embarrasses me to no end to find an article praising a South Korean footballer's propensity to dive.

The Dan-il-min-jok can do no wrong. When others cheat against the Koreans and get away with it, it's a racist conspiracy, an evil of unsurpassed proportions. When Koreans cheat and get away with it, it's an example par excellence of the Korean ingenuity--an ingenuity that ensured the country's survival through 5,000 [sic] years of invasions by barbarians like the ttae-nom (Korean pejorative for the CHinese) the wae-nom (Korean pejorative for the Japanese).


http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200606/200606140019.html

Ashamed Korean

Oops. Abiola beat me to the article...

Chuckles

Korean inferiority complexes are something else. Really! I think I should write a book. Seriously: "Korea as Number One Nyah Nyah Nyah"

Brian

Just checking to see if I'm still banned here. I hope I'm not.

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