South Korea counts cost of football flop

  • Agence France-Presse, PTI, Busan
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 11, 2002 20:43 IST

South Korea, heroes just four months ago after reaching the World Cup semi-finals, were coming to terms on Friday with the tag of Asian Games flops after their penalty shoot-out loss to Iran.

As the Iranians looked forward to a gold medal clash against Japan on Sunday, the Koreans were left to survey the emotional and financial damage of the defeat which came after the two teams had been locked at 0-0 after normal and extra time.

The Busan Asian Games Organizing Committee (BAGOC) said on Friday that the team's defeat had derailed plans to sell the 11,000 remaining first class seat tickets for the final, which will be staged in the 53,000 capacity Busan Asiad Stadium, with total losses estimated at 2.3 million dollars.

A BAGOC spokesman said that many fans, who had bought tickets for the final expecting South Korea to be involved, had demanded their money refunded or tickets exchanged for the third-place play-off against Thailand which takes place earlier on Sunday at Ulsan.

"We are being bombarded with demands for refunds or a change in tickets," the spokesman told the Yonhap news agency.

Meanwhile, Korean coach Park Hang-Seo refused to point the finger of blame at his young side for Thursday's defeat.

"You cannot compare this side to the team which played in the World Cup," said the sombre Park referring to the senior side which reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in the summer.

"The World Cup team had two years to prepare for the finals - this squad had just three weeks.

"If there was a problem with the tactics, especially in the midfield, then I take full responsibility for the failure.

"On behalf of the players and the management, I would like to apologise to the fans for the loss."

Park discarded rumours that he was going to quit.

"I do not know where the stories about me resigning if we lost against Iran came from - they did not come from me," he said.


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