South Korea defeat 10-man Togo
By Peter Rutherford
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – South Korea overcame 10-man Togo 2-1
at the World Cup in Germany on Tuesday, with champions Brazil
beginning the defense of their title later in the day.
Togo made a strong start on their World Cup debut despite
turmoil in their camp including a players’ pay dispute which
prompted their German coach Otto Pfister to quit last week.
Pfister made a surprise return to his post the day before
the Group G match in Frankfurt and his team took a first-half
lead with an impressive goal from Mohamed Kader Coubadja.
But Togo captain Jean-Paul Yaovi Abalo Dosseh was sent off
in the 53rd minute for bringing down Park Ji-sung on the edge
of the penalty area and Lee Chun-soo curled the ball home from
the resulting free kick.
Substitute Ahn Jung-hwan rifled home the winner in the 72nd
minute for the Koreans, semifinalists four years ago.
“My team gave a good performance,” declared Pfister. “The
Koreans had three or four chances, we had four or five. When
you don’t score you lose.”
South Korea coach Dick Advocaat said his players never
panicked despite falling behind.
“To be fair, the players were very calm at halftime even
though they were behind,” the Dutchman told reporters.
“In the second half we took some risks and it was a
The World Cup spotlight switches to Berlin’s Olympiastadion
later when Brazil start their campaign for a sixth title in a
Group F match against Croatia.
France, the 1998 champions, also play their first game on
Tuesday, taking on Switzerland in Stuttgart in Group G.
Berlin was already buzzing ahead of the Brazil-Croatia
Brazilian fans in gold and green mingled with Croatian
supporters dressed from top to toe in the distinctive red and
white checks featured on their national flag.
Brazilian fans partied to samba-style music on a barge
complete with mini-beach and small football pitch as it floated
up the river Spree.
Brazil are favorites to lift the cup in the German capital
after the final on July 9.
On the injury front, Serbia & Montenegro center back
Nemanja Vidic was ruled out for the rest of the tournament
after damaging knee ligaments in training on Monday.
“He was carried off in excruciating pain. A detailed
medical check-up established damage to his left knee ligaments
and he will be sidelined for several weeks at least,” team
spokesman Aleksandar Boskovic said.
Vidic was due to return to the team for the crunch Group C
match with Argentina on Friday having missed the 1-0 opening
defeat by the Netherlands through suspension.
Ukraine captain Andriy Shevchenko said he felt he had
recovered from a knee injury to play in the opening Group H
game against Spain on Wednesday.
But coach Oleg Blokhin has yet to decide if he will include
his top striker.
“If we use him too early it could aggravate the injury,”
Blokhin said. “It’s too soon to decide now.”