Sunday, August 5, 2012

Korea beats GB in epic football QF shootout

Ji Dong Won (9) is swarmed by teammates after he opens the scoring against GB 

London 2012 has been a bipolar Olympics for Korea, as inexplicable judges' decisions against the country have soured the elation that has followed its better-than-expected medal tally so far.

First, there was the nonsensical disqualification (and reinstatement hours later) of star swimmer Park Tae Hwan in the semi-finals of his signature event, the 400m freestyle.

Then there was the inexplicable reversal of decision in a judo match between Korean judoka Cho Jun Ho and his Japanese opponent, in which Cho was given the victory by all 3 judges until some suit intervened and forced the awarding of victory to the Japanese judoka.

And perhaps most infamously, Korean fencer Shin Ah Ram should've made it to the finals of the women's epee, but was denied a victory when the judges forgot how to tell time and gave her German opponent almost 4 seconds when there was only 1 more second left in the round.

Wait, what's Korea doing up there?! Isn't that the Axis of Evil country with all the mail order brides?

Also, despite the fact that Korea has been in the top 4 of the medal tables for the first half of these Olympics, NBC has mentioned them exactly ZERO times in its coverage: 

All these events have stoked pervasive feelings among Koreans that our country is still not given due respect on the world stage despite our status as an OECD nation and a technological hub of the world. There are many resentful Koreans who feel that since the West fulfills its "Asian Appreciation Quota" with China and Japan (yay, chow mein and samurai!), Korea is still seen as a developing country that is mainly the source of dogmeat jokes and war brides.

Daniel Sturridge becomes the latest in a proud
lineage of Britons who've succumbed to
pressure during PKs
So it was unimaginably sweet when on 4 Aug 2012, the Korean men's football team outplayed and defeated the GB team on GB's home turf, especially since GB had been gifted 2 very soft penalty kicks in a dizzying span of four minutes in the first half (which Korea had dominated). Luckily for Korea, their goalkeeper Jung Sung Ryong saved 1 out of the 2 penalties, thus effectively saving the match for them.

If Korea had felt slighted by the Games in general thus far, then there was no better way to exact revenge than to knock out the host country in its favourite sport on its home field.

Some sour grapes people may dismiss the event altogether, saying that nobody cares about Olympics football. But Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was packed that night, and the look of devastation on the British players (especially Daniel Sturridge, who missed the crucial shot during PKs) should tell you that both Korea and GB, and their supporters, wanted to win badly tonight.

This will likely be the last GB football team ever assembled because there's no way in hell that Wales and Scotland will tolerate playing under the Union Jack and singing "God Save The Queen" as its team anthem for anything other than a Great Britain-hosted Olympics.

So the history books will indicate that the last ever incarnation of a GB football team played its final match in front of a raucous home crowd in Cardiff.

Ki Sung Yueng celebrates burying his decisive PK
And they lost to the Koreans.

Will people take more notice of Korea next time?

PS When KSY won the match for Korea with his PK, I started jumping and screaming so much that I slipped on the straw mat on the hardwood floor and landed awkwardly. But I was all right!

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