South Korea’s Effort Impresses Brazilians
Urged on by a near-capacity crowd of 63,000 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, South Korea twice took the lead against world champion Brazil, but in the end two goals by Ronaldo and one in the final minute by Ronaldinho earned the South Americans a 3-2 victory in one of a score of friendly internationals played Wednesday
Chilled by the cold and rainy weather and surprised by the Koreans’ attacking performance, caretaker Coach Mario “Lobo” Zagallo’s Brazilians were left praising their hosts.
“Whoever is going to play against the Korean team in the next World Cup should prepare a lot,” said Ronaldinho, who secured the win with a 90th-minute penalty kick after a foul on Ronaldo.
“They are a strong team,” said Ronaldo, whose goals in the 16th and 67th minutes canceled out those by South Korea’s Seol Ki-Hyeon on a header in the seventh and Ahn Jung-Hwan in the 58th.
The match marked the final national team appearance of Korean striker Hwang Sun-Hong and also of defender Hong Myung-Bo, who will fly to Los Angeles today to join the Galaxy.
“I am happy that it ended honorably,” Hong said.
A Dutch Treat
The Netherlands made up in small measure for failing to qualify for Korea/Japan ’02 when it defeated World Cup runner-up Germany, 3-1, in front of 60,601 at Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
The teams were evenly matched in the first half, with Patrick Kluivert giving the Dutch the lead after 22 minutes and Fredi Bobic, playing his first game for Germany in more than five years, tying it on a diving header 12 minutes later.
The Netherlands’ counter-attack proved the difference in the second 45 minutes as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Ruud van Nistelrooy scored in the 69th and 79th minutes, respectively.
“In the second half, we played much better and things went our way,” Van Nistelrooy said. “This is a fantastic result for us.”
Goals three minutes apart by midfielder Juan Pablo Sorin and forward Hernan Crespo early in the second half earned Argentina a 2-0 victory over Japan in front of 40,931 at Saitama, Japan.
The match was the first for the South Americans since they were eliminated in the first round at the World Cup.
“It has been a difficult time for us, so for the team to come and give a good performance like this was a very positive thing,” Coach Marcelo Bielsa said.
France extended its unbeaten run under Coach Jacques Santini to five games as it shut out Yugoslavia, 3-0, at Saint-Denis on two goals by Eric Carriere and one by Olivier Kapo.... Italy Coach Giovanni Trapattoni gave four players their international debuts as Italy and Turkey played to a 1-1 tie at Pescara, Italy, where two Inter Milan players, Belozoglu Emre for Turkey and Christian Vieri for Italy, provided the goals.... Portugal, host of the 2004 European Championship, beat Scotland, 2-0, on a rain-drenched field in Braga, Portugal, with Pauleta scoring twice.... Spain edged Bulgaria, 1-0, at Granada on a 10th-minute goal by striker Jose Mari.... Goals by Gary Speed and John Hartson helped Wales solidify its Euro 2004 chances with a 2-0 qualifying victory over Azerbaijan at Baku, Azerbaijan.
Major League Soccer announced changes to both its regular-season and playoff formats for the 2003 season.
The season will be extended by one month, running from April 5 to Nov. 23, with each team playing 30 regular-season games, an increase of two over 2002.
The top four teams in each five-team conference will qualify for the playoffs, which, in the first round, will be a home-and-home, total-goals series.
If the series is tied, it will be settled by overtime and, if necessary, penalty kicks.
The conference finals will be single games, at the home of the higher-seeded teams.
The All-Star game will be played July 26 or Aug. 2 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, with the MLS Cup championship game also at the Galaxy’s new stadium Nov. 23.
Morocco’s soccer federation said that it has formally notified FIFA of its intention to bid for the 2010 World Cup, which the world soccer ruling body has said will be played on the African continent.
Morocco has tried three times to stage the quadrennial world championship, losing out to the United States in 1994, France in 1998 and Germany in 2006.
The Italian soccer league banned Serie B club Cagliari from using its home ground pending an investigation of security procedures at the Sardinian team’s stadium.
On Sunday, Messina goalkeeper Emanuele Manitta was knocked unconscious by a 29-year-old Cagliari fan who ran onto the field and attacked the player. The unidentified assailant is being questioned by police.