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Four Tiny Tidbits On: South Korea

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The World Cup is ominously close! So that you aren't caught offside (they have that in soccer, right?), we're previewing all the participants, bringing you Four Things You Don't Know About Them. If you have a tidbit, send it along to Today: South Korea! And for World Cup previews that are even better than ours, check out That's On Point, who helped us with these as well.

1. Meet South Korea's Pele. Despite the second part of his name, Cha Bum-Kun is regarded as the best Far East player of the 20th century. He spent over a decade in the German Bundesliga and scored 98 goals, then a record for highest total by a foreigner.


2. Four More Years! Four More Years! Striker Lee Dong-Gook can't catch a break. He missed out on the World Cup in 2002 because he didn't get along with coach Guus Hiddink. And now a knee injury has knocked him off of this year's roster. Lee, 27, who plays for the exquisitely named Pohang Steelers, will need surgery to repair torn cruciate ligaments and will be out six months.

3. Can You Hear Me Now?. Midfielder Ahn Jung-hwan is South Korean soccer's pinup boy. Nicknamed The Lord of the Rings for his habit of kissing his wedding ring after scoring a goal, he once sued a South Korean phone company for using his image to promote scholarships for South Korean children wanting to become soccer players.


4. More on Ahn. Tensions flared between Ahn Jung-hwan and Italian Perugia owner Luciano Gaucci when Ahn's goal for South Korea ousted Italy from the 2002 World Cup. Ahn plays for Perugia during the regular season. Gaucci told La Gazzetta dello Sport, "I am not going to pay the salary of a guy who has been the ruin of Italian soccer." Needless to say, Ahn left the club.

(Tomorrow: Ecuador.)

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