Thursday, July 8, 2004

Be the Reds 2: The Disappointment

The Olympics are coming up and with the Korean soccer team qualifying we’ll soon be treated to a rehash of Be The Reds hysteria back from the World Cup 2002 days.


Seoul: City Hall during the 2002 World Cup.

By the way, I'm the guy at the bottom-left hand side of the screen wearing a red shirt and eating dried squid.

[Warning: Irrelevant Side Rant]
First of all, a few words about soccer. This is not a real sport. Real sports are all symbolic reenactments of warfare. They require rough, physical contact and displays of brute strength, not just speed and finesse. I’m talking sports like football (“American” football), rugby, boxing and hockey.

Now, some say hockey is just a variant of soccer. This is true in the same way that dodge ball is a different form of playing tag: Same basic concepts but one is played by sissies who cry like 9-year-old girls when they fall down and the other is played by real men who feel the game really hasn’t started until someone is bleeding or spitting out a tooth.

Soccer players in action! Now click on this picture and try to tell me that soccer athletes are real men!

What in the hell is up with that hopping up and down while holding your wiener during a free kick? Is that a rule? If someone doesn’t hold their wieny are they penalized? Do the coaches run drills to make sure they are holding their weenies properly? What do women soccer players do? I’m seriously considering putting all soccer players on the Gaywatch files just for this embarrassing display alone.

[And now back to the main point of this post]

So anyway, back to soccer in Korea. Expect to see “Be the Red” nationalism again at its zaniest. There will be one key difference this time, no home field advantage. That means all the highly questionable calls that went Korea’s way probably just won’t happen again. In short: expect disappointment on a grand scale.


Hey, somebody get this guy a spellchecker before Scott at Mediasin (scroll down a bit)starts throwing candy at him.

The subject came up here with some of my English mates (“mates,” that’s England talk. I’m trying to pick up the lingo) and their view of Korea’s success in the World Cup was, as you might expect, on the negative side. They didn’t mind that Portugal, Spain and Italy were sent home crying, make no mistake, but they still thought the officiating was suspicious as bloody hell (there’s that lingo again).


"Miss World Cup"

Of course, there are some good things that will come out of all this hysteria. As the legendary Forgotit over at the Korean Herald forum once said, "She'd make the Pope stand up and beg for milk and hot biscuits" (whatever that means).

Even Fifa apparently admitted that the officiating was poor (not widely reported in the Korean media, I’d wager). I found a BBC Sport site that reviewed the World Cup. Now this is from a country that has no particular love for Souther European soccer teams so I think it's about as unbiased as you can hope for. Their assessment of those particular games went from questionable to criminal. Here's a sampling:

South Korea 2-1 Italy
Referee: Byron Moreno
• Totti is sent off for diving.
With the match in extra-time, Italian golden boy Francesco Totti goes down in the South Korean penalty box after a challenge from Song Chong-Gug.
His appeals for a penalty are not only turned down but referee Byron Moreno awards Totti a second yellow card for diving, reducing Italy to 10 men.

How bad? Pre-determined and provocative


Tommasi's winner doesn't stand.
Damiano Tommasi latches on to a superbly angled through ball and slips the ball home for a golden goal winner.
But the linesman incorrectly flags for off-side.
Italy eventually lose on the golden goal and riots break out back home.

How bad? Just plain wrong


Spain 0-0 South Korea (South Korea win 5-3 on penalties)
Referee: Gamal Ghandour
• Shoving accounts for Helguera's opener

Egyptian referee disallows Helguera's goal for pushing.
No Spanish player seems obviously guilty of the offence and Helguera is incensed.
At the end of the game Helguera is restrained as he charges at the referee.

How bad? Awful.


Morientes is denied a glorious winner.
Fernando Morientes heads home Joaquin's cross to score Spain's golden goal winner.
But the referee's assistant Michael Ragoonath incredibly rules out the goal after he decides the ball had gone out of play before Joaquin crossed from the byeline.
An atrocious decision that costs Spain dearly. Coach Jose Antonio Camacho brands the match 'a scandal.'

How bad? Outrageous.



So far we think that Morientes' disallowed golden goal for Spain against South Korea is the worst of a bad bunch of decisions by the referees and their assistants.

Sorry to all you conspiracy-mongers out there, but you’ll notice that in each lousy call there was a different referee. Now sure, some Korean could have bribed all of them, but that’s not highly likely. For whatever reason, the refs just blew it. Maybe it was the odd cadence of the “Taehan Mingook” chant that threw them off.

I went through the reader’s comments on this article. The Korean entries were particularly interesting, especially when you consider how outraged Koreans were by the “Ono scandal” in the Salt Lake Olympics in which a ref made a controversial call that took the medal away from a Korean skater (can't recall the name nor summon the energy to look it up). I’ve collected some of the more choice comments below.

Although there were some mistakes made by the referees, if the whistle wasn't blown, the Korean goalkeeper would have definitely caught the ball. I'm sure the Korean team didn't want to win the match either if they knew that the whole world would be thinking the referees played a big role in our win.
In our point of view, we played a fair match. The whistle was clearly blown before the Spanish team had a kick on the ball. Also, nothing had been done in the Olympics when we lost our Gold medal through such poor judgment. Compared to that, this is nothing. Don't attack us because we're weaker than other countries. The world finding only our match as "injustice" is injustice itself.
SJ, South Korea

Ah yes, all countries in the world will agree that one gold medal in speed-skating is much more valuable than winning in the World Cup.
Oh, wait a minute, what planet are you on? Here on Earth speed skating is just slightly more important to the average person than badminton.

Classic quote: “Don’t attack us because we’re weaker than other countries.”
Victim mentality raises its ugly head. We’re not wrong, we are just innocent weak victims suffering from such Big Dick World Superpowers as Portugal, Spain and Italy. I guess some Koreans are so accustomed to using the “we’re just the powerless victim” line that they just can’t come up with new material.

“The world finding only our match as “injustice” is injustice itself.” How poetic. Too bad it’s also retarded.

The problem is that people no longer respect the refs, and rather trust TV broadcasters and ill-angled TV replays. Then why don't we start making the World Cup like stupid American Football? Maybe people will shut up about the refs if World Cup have timeouts, quarters, and commercial TV break in every three minutes.
Young Woo Park, S. Korea & USA

Poor Young Woo, life in the USA must not be going so well. Though this issue has absolutely nothing to do with the US, he can’t keep from taking out his frustration and impotent rage on evil America.

Tip to Young Woo: The “woo” thing doesn’t really work in English. Ever wonder why people always say, “Woo hoo!!” when they first hear your name? It has the same meaning as “Yahoo" and reminds us of a happy Homer Simpson. Get a nickname.

Back up to the first sentence: “The problem is that people no longer respect the refs, and rather trust TV broadcasters and ill-angled TV replays.”

Excellent quote. Naturally, that can be applied to the Ono incident as well, right? Right?

We don't feel we deserve to reach the semi-finals, not because our team is not good enough but because of Italy's childish blame over referees. I know there were mistakes, but Europeans blow up the excitement of the World Cup. I just hope we don't win next time. I don't want to hear German whining!

Sungjae! Wish granted!! Unfortunately, in the German-Korea game the referees were unable to actually kick in a goal for the Korean team and thus the march to the finals was cut short. Sucks when you have to play with the good referees, huh?

Newspapers and broadcaster have spoiled the World Cup. Have you seen the red card on Rivaldinho or Mexico's disallowed goal? Italy and Spain's negative broadcasting has led people to complain.
Y.J.Kim, Korea

Great analysis Y.J., hmmm…you don’t think that would apply to South Korea broadcasting and the Ono “scandal?” Naaaaa!!!

Absolutely not! I don't think FIFA should review the referee's decision.
However, I do suggest FIFA should consider adopting high-tech assistance like video clip reviews at all the matches.
As a matter of fact, quite a lot of Koreans are admitting that there were a couple of dubious refereeing decisions during the match, but I don't think they dictated the outcome.
Jo, Younghee,South Korea

But, didn’t you hear what Young "Woo-Hoo!" said earlier? Having replays like those stupid Americans would be terrible! Anyway, I'm sure Younghee also said the same thing about whether or not the Olympic committee should have reviewed the Ono skating event.

Oh yeah, disqualifying goals never really has much of an effect on the outcomes of games. Sure.
I mean, the refs could have disqualified 5 or 6 goals in the Germany versus Saudi Arabia game and the outcome would have been the same, right? However, for games that do NOT have scores of 8-0, perhaps the disqualification of a goal or two could have a just a teensy weensy little effect on the outcome? Especially considering that Korea only won one game in the whole tournament by more than one goal?

The level of the European team's game was not better than Korea's. Italy and Spain did not have their goals disallowed by referees, they kicked the ball after referees blew the whistle and the Korean team stopped playing.
Sang, Korea

Sorry Sang, but those goals were one-on-one with the goal-keeper (who didn’t stop playing). The other Korean players stopped (actually, most didn't) because they were already beaten. You see Sang "sung Blue," these things happen pretty damn fast and by the time the ref blew the whistle and it registered with the players the ball was already in the net. Good try though.

It's very sad but true. The referee was wrong, and Spain lost two great chances to win the game. Condolences to Spain - Sorry. I hope the game does not destroy the relationship between South Korea and Spain. Eddy Park, S Korea

Nice “Eddy.” Naturally, you need to be hauled back to Corea and given some “reeducation” on how to think appropriately. You have obviously been brainwashed by foreigners as further evidenced by the fact that you have disgraced the mother country by assuming a name of the enemy.

Anyway, As for the relationship between Spain and Korea, I’m sure that dozens of Spaniard tourists will continue to flock to your country each year, don’t worry. And of course, THIS guy will always be there to keep up relations between Spain and Corea (the true Corea, that is).

Fearless Prediction? Miserable showing by the Korean soccer team in the Olympics (one win, tops), to the endless glee of millions of taunting Portugese, Spaniards and Italians. It won't be pretty...

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