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Rounding Up Qualifiers Game 2
Suck It Up: North Korea Complains about Unfair Ref
I hate the expression, but it just so aptly expressed my reaction to the news I just had to lead with it. Apparently after yesterday's qualifier against Bahrain the coach for NK said that the Thai referee was so biased towards Bahrain that he was going to make an official complaint to Fifa. I empathize -- what footballing fan doesn't understand the frustration of bad referees? But unless they can come up with strong proof of something, just dragging that mentality along is pretty bad for team morale. (Ahh...makes me recall the former China coach Haan who really took the prize for unsportsmanlike conduct in last year's Asia cup finals.)

And it doesn't help that North Korea have been quite the big baby during their return to the international football scene in the recent couple years. First there was the Asia Cup qualifier game against Iran (in Tehran), where a player faked being hit by a thrown firecracker, after which the team just up and left the game saying they couldn't play in such dangerous circumstances. They ended up appealing to Fifa/AFC, but were told that they forfeited the game (official result was set at 3-0 for Iran). Last year, before the official group drawing process, North Korea went to the AFC Chair and asked that they not be placed in the same group as South Korea (which of course was denied). When it was determined that NK would play in the same group as Japan, they contacted the Japanese football association requesting that all flags and anthems not be displayed/performed during either games (um, forgetting the meaning of "World" Cup, are we?). Right before the game with Japan, they threatened the JFA saying that should the NK team's trip to Japan result in any problems (security, supporters, media), they would retaliate by making things very difficult when Japan went to Pyongyang. The JFA walked on eggshells all January, and security measures were extreme and ridiculous, and luckily they have nothing to complain about.

Group A Upset?
Well, this was a bit of shocker for me, but Korea played Saudi Arabia away and lost 2-0 (second goal was penalty). I didn't watch the game, so I can't comment any further -- wonder if I can find some Korea fans who can shed some light on what the deal was.

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2008/01/29(火) 15:52:22 | URL | 朗美 #HmsGVGSQ[ Edit]
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