The World Cup is ominously close! So that you aren't caught offside (they have that in soccer, … Read more Read more
Your live blogger is the always excellent Thomas Moyles from
The Middle Foam Finger, who is doing his third live-blog in three days. Impressive. Play along in the comments, and enjoy the game. FULLTIME: The group stage comes to a close with South Korea, who were semi-finalists in the last World Cup and the last Asian team in the competition, bow out to Switzerland, who use a businesslike 2-0 victory to top Group H.
Korea were victimized late in the second half as an offside call by the linesman was wrongly overruled by the referee; still, the Koreans strugglied mightly with the ball all game and when they did get chances at goal, did very poorly. The Swiss look good, although they might be a paper tiger considering the other teams in their group. That said, they still have a good chance of beating the Ukraine in the next round, which should be a good one.
This has been The Electric Zarko, the laptop's put my legs to sleep and I don't even care. Peace out.
95' Game over as the Swiss win the group. Korea are devastated as they go out in the group stages. A bad call went against them in the second half and they just couldn't get the goal that they desperately needed. 93' Korea continue to throw balls into the box, gaining nothing. They just weren't able to get many clear-cut chances and they haven't taken the half-chances either. Zuberbuehler smothers a long shot for Ahn. Apparently Healy and Smyth won't be doing any more games. Real smart, ABC/ESPN, take out your best (although still not that good) commentary team. 91' Yellow card for Djourou, 4 minutes of stoppage time. Zuberbuehler punches out a Korean cross. 90' Stoppage time looms and Korea are going home. Healy saying the Swiss are going to be dangerous in the knock-outs, has anybody pointed out that Advocaat was the opposing coach in this game? 88' Healy is making a big deal out of the Swiss being the only team that hasn't given up a goal in this tournament. That sounds great; however, it's not like they've faced teams that are known for knocking goals in for fun. We'll see how they do against Shevchenko. Behrami in for Wicky. 87' Frei can't keep his header down and he's missed more chances than the entire Korean team. If he'd been on target, he might have a hat-trick. Ahn takes a quick shot and Zuberbuehler makes the save. 85' Korea are a little stunned here as they've spurned multiple chances and Switzerland have ridden a poor officiating decision to a 2 goal lead. It looks like Asia is going to get shut out of the knockout stages, quite a turn-around from 2002. 83' Yellow card for Spycher and Korea take a corner, the ball falls very well for Korea and Jin Kim Kyu hits the ball off of the crossbar. Healy points out that Korea had the benefit of some very questionable calls in their favor last tournament, so perhaps it's just karma rolling around. 81' Yellow cards for Jin Chul Choi and Chun Soo Lee, who rightly gave the ref a barracking after that decision. Might be the worst call of the tournament and that's saying something when somebody was given three yellow cards yesterday. 80' Yes, it's a goal. Horrible call by the Argentinian ref. Just horrible, and it's probably put the Koreans out of the tournament. Goal is given to Frei. 77' GOOO...AL? AL? GOAAAA? Er? The linesman's flag went up on a through-ball in to Frei, who then rounds the keeper and slots in past Lee Woon Jae. The Koreans are losing it and Dick Advocaat in particular. The referee appears to have overruled the linesman and decided that since the ball deflected off of the defender, it was not actually offside, which would be absolutely incorrect. 76' Tommy and Adrian are talking about the Swiss even though the fact that the Koreans are still being held is more due to their own inability to take advantage of the Swiss frailties than Swiss 75' Dick Advocaat is getting his knickers all twisted on the sidelines. C'mon Dick, why don't you put Bosvelt in for Robben? Chump. 73' Margairaz tries to play the ball in for Frei clear in on goal, the ball won't sit and is put out for a corner, which Lee Woon Jae takes well. 72' The Swiss break, win a corner and are taking their time. I think Tommy Smyth just tried to make a clock joke. The corner almost comes to fruition with a flick-on going across the face of goal. Korea eventually clear. 71' Margairaz comes in for Yakin, who hasn't shown much in the second half and was probably sucking win due to a lack of playing time. 69' Wicky given a yellow card, unclear whether it was for dangerous play or for kicking the ball away after he was called for a foul. The free kick is easily cleared and Korea play it back in, causing more chaos in the backline before the ball is stabbed away by Djourou. The Koreans continue to spurn the chances being gifted to them by the Swiss. 68' Ki-Hyeon Seol is the player that's come on, a forward replacing another one as Park Chu Young did not live up to his hype as "the Asian Rooney". 66' Advocaat takes off Park Chu Young for another attacker, didn't catch his name. A corner for Korea leads to a bouncing header that is tipped over by Zuberbuehler. The following corner is then headed over the bar by Korea. 64' Frei nearly puts the Koreans in the ground as he flashes a drive from the right side of the area past the goalie and it smacks off the crossbar. Senderos has come out of the locker room and sits on the bench, it appears that he has a cast on his arm. 63' An attacker in for a defender as Lee Young Pyo goes off and Ahn Jung Hwan, the hero of World Cup 2002, comes on. Korea must know that time is running out on their World Cup chances. 61' Switzerland are actually getting the better chances on goal, as Korea don't have any answers for the Swiss defensive wall and Barnetta and Yakin continue to find space on the counter-attack. Spycher plays a ball that knocks a passing UFO out of the sky. France scores again in the other game and things are starting to get a little tense here in Hannover. 59' Barnetta sends a stinging half-cross half-shot across the face of the Korean goal, nobody can get a foot onto it and Korea gladly take the goal kick. 58' Frei with a weak shot wide of the far post from a good ball in and he doesn't look sharp at all today. 57' Hakan Yakin gets a yellow a little while back for a yellow card and the news from the other game is that France have gone ahead, meaning that the Koreans must try and get some goals. If things continue as they are, I believe this means that all of the Asian teams will have been eliminated in the group stages (not counting Australia, which won't be in the Asian group until the next World Cup Qualification period). 53' Senderos off, Djourou on as there must be something seriously wrong with Senderos for him to come off for the 19-year-old with a Swiss mother and father from the Ivory Coast. 51' Senderos comes out of the game again, it looked like he might have been holding his hand there, he goes into the locker room, straight down the tunnel, no change as of yet. 48' Lee Chun Soo with a good run down the right side of the Swiss area, Switzerland does well to block his cross and keep it in play. Korea keep the pressure on, looking for that final ball. 47' Crisp passing around the Swiss area by the Koreans, only to see Park Ji Sung give up the ball and the Swiss run the ball up field, Korea clear the ball into touch. 46' The Koreans kick off the second half going left to right. The Koreans are in the white while the Swiss are in the red strips. Lee Ho takes a long shot off of a knockdown and it curls wide of the Swiss goal. HALFTIME: The Swiss go in to the half with a 1-0 lead after Senderos got above everybody else to head in a free kick. Each team finished the half with a handful of good chances, with the Swiss looking good on set pieces and confused on defense, although the Koreans were unable to take advantage of the chaos at the back. With France and Togo tied at the half, both teams in this game would go through if the result stood, with Switzerland playing Ukraine and Korea getting a rematch with Spain.
Advocaat needs to get the Koreans coming out firing in the second half, it's possible that he'll dip into great cinematic moments of the past and recite Orson Welle's famous speech from "The Third Man":
"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love—they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
If you haven't seen it, you should. There's some good zither, man.
47' Swiss corner kick deep in injury time and Frei has a wide-open header at the 6-yard box and sends it well wide of the second post. A horrible effort when it seems like it could have been easier to score. The whistle blows for halftime immediately afterward. 46' Korea now with the momentum in the game and Lee Choo Sun takes another hard, dripping shot that is saved excellently by Zuberbuehler. After the corner is cleared, Choo Sun whips in another shot, wide of the far post. The first shot was really well-placed and forced Zuberbuehler to make a great save to keep the ball out of the net. 45' Another ball is allowed to bounce in the box and Park Chu Young sends a great chance just wide of the near post. 44' Yellow card for Senderos and he has to go get himself patched up again because he's bleeding again. The free kick again pinballs around the box without the Koreans getting a telling touch. Looks like another hand-ball in the box, again hard to avoid. 42' Good cross into the Swiss box and they're at sixes and sevens. They do manage to clear it but it goes straight back to Korea and Lee Choo Sun forces a good save from Zuberbuehler. After the first corner goes over the endline, the second corner causes chaos in the area. Nobody goes after the ball after it comes off a Swiss arm and after it bounces around for a bit, the Koreans knock it over the goal. Smyth thinks it should have been a penalty, it does seem a little harsh, as the arm was held across the front of the chest. 39' Yakin almost picks out Frei on the far post with a cross, the clearance comes straight back to him and he hits a wicked shot that deflects past the goal. The corner kick is fisted out by Lee Woon Jae in a dangerous position as the Swiss are really looking dangerous on the set pieces. 38' Yakin hits a left-footed free kick on frame, Lee Woon Jae goes the safe route and palms it out of play. Korea is lost on the corner kick but eventually clear. The second corner is cleared farther upfield. 36' A sideline shot of Dick Advocaat. Tommy Smyth thinks that retaining a Dutch coach was the right decision for Korea. I guess he wasn't watching Europe 2004, where Advocaat did the best that he could to mess up a Dutch team that could have won it all. Yellow card for Kim Jin Kyu. 34' Free kick from a similar position as the goal, Yakin takes it again and Lee Woon Jae gets to the ball just before an onrushing Wicky. More heads get smacked around as the Koreans play the ball upfield. 31' The Swiss look stronger here as Korea are unable to generate a clear chance for a goal while Switzerland look sharp on the counter. Remember that Korea have made a habit of coming from behind in the World Cup though, so the Swiss shouldn't get complacent here. 26' Frei loops a shot over the ball as Senderos and Choi try and get patched up, the Korean wearing a strange-looking white hairnet to hold a bandage onto his temple. 23' GOOOOOOAAAAALLLL for Switzerland! Off of the free kick following the yellow card, Senderos skies above the defense to power a header into the upper right corner of the goal. Senderos and Choi knock heads on the follow-through from the header and both players come off for treatment, Senderos celebrating the goal as he wears the crimson mask. 23' Yellow for Park Chu Young as he takes down Barnetta from behind, who's been the best player on the pitch so far. 21' Barnetta leads another Swiss counter and they are obviously trying to strike quickly while Korea are still upfield. Cabanas does well to set himself up for a left-footed cross that is cleared by the Koreans. 18' Switzerland get a breakout following a poorly-taken Korean free kick, Cabanas is found offside during the buildup and a good chance goes begging. 17' Frei with a looping volley from 23 yards out, not much velocity on the shot and Lee Woon Jae saves. 15' There's nothing funny about the Swiss team Young Boys. Well, maybe a little, especially when you see a headline like "Hakan Yakin accepts offer from Young Boys". 13' Long shot from Korea is blocked and collected by Senderos, who has emerged as one of the top young defenders in the world with his club team, Arsenal. 12' Frei caught offside for the second time, his timing is a little off and the trap catches him. 10' Barnetta with a great run that's rewarded with a good pass. He has a clean shot at goal from 10 yards out on the right side, he takes too long setting up his shot and the defense gets back to block it. Corner is cleared by Korea. 9' Park Ji Sung, AKA The Oxygen Tank, takes a long shot that has some movement but not a lot of velocity and the keeper holds it with relative ease. 8' Nifty through ball from Barnetta almost puts Frei 1-on-1 with the keeper, who does well to come out and smother the ball. 6' The ball falls for Hakan Yakin in the South Korea area; however, he fails to control the ball and the Koreans do well to clear before winning a free kick deep in their own area. 5' Considering that the teams that advance from this group will play Ukraine and Spain, the odds on Smyth making a "My Fair Lady" joke are fairly good. Neither side able to keep possession right now and the game is fairly chippy. 3' Korea make a great move into the Swiss box, a low cross played across goal fails to find any attackers and the Swiss clear their lines. 1' You are looking liiiiiiiiiive at Hannover, Germany. Broadcast courtesy of ESPN, with my friends Adrian Healy and Tommy Smyth (no "e" and oh, purple horseshoes!) providing the commentary. PREVIEW: This match has tremendous implications, as no team in this group has clinched qualification and only Togo has been outright eliminated from advancing. Although both Switzerland and Korea have 4 points, 2 more than France, they are aware that France will probably beat Togo, who sits on 0 points. If they do, their goal differential will rize from their current position of 0, while Korea have +1 and Switzerland +2.
If France loses or ties, both Korea and Switzerland will go through with the winner of the game finishing top and Switzerland getting the higher seed if they tie. If they tie and France wins, they must hope that France does so with as small a score as possible.
To sum it (and I didn't cover all the possibilities), Switzerland advances with a tie while Korea can't be sure of anything short of a win, so expect the Koreans to come out attacking.
SWITZERLAND: Switzerland, like the country they play for, is made up of a diaspora of Central European ethnicities. Their coach Kobi Kuhn has concentrated on building a sense of team unity, a concept that is reflected in their style of play, which is concentrated around maintaining a compact formation and attacking on the counter.
Danger Men: Alexander Frei was one of the leading scorers in the French league last year, although he's still to get on track in the Cup. Tranquillo Barnetta is as exciting as his name sounds like a combination sleeping pill-sports car. Watch out for Daniel "Gary" Gygax coming off the bench. Johann Vogel is their most important player and will orchestrate from the middle of the field.
1 Zuberbuehler, Pascal
4 Senderos, Philippe
6 Vogel, Johann
7 Cabanas, Ricardo
8 Wicky, Raphael
9 Frei, Alexander
16 Barnetta, Tranquillo
17 Spycher, Cristoph
20 Mueller, Patrick
22 Yakin, Hakan
23 Degen, Philipp SOUTH KOREA: South Korea play what a friend described as "lovably archaic football", which means, to those of us who are not acerbic Scots, that they play a physical game based mainly on speed, closing down the opposition and getting the ball into the next by any means possible. They also have the best fans on the planet, capable of out-singing much larger delegations, which means even though Switzerland is right next to Germany, you might hear more from the Koreans.
Park Ji Sung is the most well-known Korean player, as he plies his trade with Manchester United of England. He also epitomizes the Korean team, as he's fast and fit, not the player with the most flair; however, he gets the job done and never stops working. We'll also get to see Park Chu Young, a rising Korean star who's managed an incredible strike rate in matches for the national team.
1 Lee, Woon Jae
3 Kim, Dong Jin
4 Choi, Jin Cheul
5 Kim, Nam Il
6 Kim, Jin Kyu
7 Park, Ji Sung
10 Park, Chu Young
12 Lee, Young Pyo
14 Lee, Chun Soo
17 Lee, Ho
19 Cho, Jae Jin