Kuwait 0 : 1 Korea WCQ + more on Chung Mong-Joon FIFA ban -political retribution?

Tavern Owner on the run as I have a ton to do, but let me procrastinate on that – let’s catch up on some important items today. Firstly, Koo Ja Cheol’s brilliant header in the 12th minute at Kuwait was enough to vanquish the hosts; Korea tops their World Cup Qualifying group, 4th straight WCQ win, but it wasn’t Korea’s best day. There was enough quality on the pitch to win, but it was unconvincing on a number of levels -we’ll talk. But the multiple news front bombshells still exploding in FIFA land, Sepp Blatter + Platini have 90 day bans, but ex KFA chief and FIFA VP Chung Mong-Joon, responsible in large part for bringing the first World Cup to Asia with the successful joint Korea/Japan 2002 bid, has been banned for 6 years from football.  Harsh political retribution for criticism of Blatter or apt punishment for his dealing within FIFA?  We’ll quickly examine what we know so far…

The quickest of recaps (a more proper recap from yonhap): poor in the 1st (but brilliant cross from Borrussia Dortmund’s Park Joo-Ho and equally brilliant header from Koo Ja-Cheol – an ‘all Bundesliga’ goal);

[I don’t always credit were I saw the gifs first, but here’s thx to BSK poster Seol Korea].

Better offensively in the 2nd half -incredibly close chances created though Kuwait’s keeper Hameed Youssef’s incredible saves kept Kuwait in the game. [If possible, we might get another POV from other Tavern writers on the game]. Here’s some takeaways from the match.

  • Wasn’t the greatest display from Stielike or the team despite the win.  There was passiveness that led to errant passes, defensive miscues (fortunately went unpunished) putting Korea on the backfoot for stretches of time.  Stielike for his part didn’t issue a strong starting XI – Why Nam Tae-Hee rather than Lee Jae-Sung? His substitutions also came way too late – Kwon Chang-hoon should have been taken out sooner than the 88th minute. Somehow in recent games, Kuwait have been able to keep things close with Korea despite not being rated particularly high.
  • Son Heung-Min and Lee Chung-Yong out injured gave a chance to see how Koo Ja-Cheol on the left and Nam Tae-Hee on the right would look. Verdict: Koo was utterly fantastic on the left – while Nam was invisible and contributed virtually nil.  I could go on about Koo, including his best Son impression to belt a shot from the edge of the box (damn that keeper – he was good) but I’ll leave it there – great day at the office for the Augsburg attacking midfielder.
  • Suk Hyun-Jun didn’t offer as much this time, but credit Suk with a great run on the left and superb cross to Kwon Chang-Hoon in the hole, certain goal but parried away by Hameed Youssef!  Suk did well at the restart of the 2nd, getting past the centerbacks to go 1 v 1 with Youssef; he beat him with a shot to his right, but just inches wide of netting it.  Augsburg’s Ji Dong-Won subbed in for Suk and showed flashes of brilliance, good hold up play, and excellent vision to find Han Kook-Young. With acres of space on the right, his shot didn’t even get to hit the side of the barn. It’s still in orbit somewhere.  How about Ji and Suk together as CFs?
  • Not that Han Kook-Young’s day was all bad, coming in the 2nd half as a sub for Nam Tae-Hee – on the other end, Han tracked back and saved the Taeguk Warriors’ bacon with a slide tackle in the nick of time to disrupt what looked like a sure equalizer.
  • Ki Sung-Yeung had an unusually quiet day at the office. Holding mid as part of the double pivot with Jung Young-Woo too boring for Ki?  Tired/Jetlagged? Not as sharp today, though he did his usual good distribution via long distance passes thing.
  • Jang Hyun-Soo has been wearing many different hats for the KNT.  For the 2nd KNT game in a row, Jang was diverted to RB. Not too bad there, he actually was effective particularly going forward on the right. I noted some good crosses that gave grief to Kuwait’s defense. Nimble in avoiding tackles and still keeping possession. Where he had some trouble was defensively – and Kuwait in the 2nd half started to exploit that to launch some effective and heart attack rendering attacks.
  • Another player who can wear different hats, at LB today, Park Joo-Ho had a complete performance, doing well on both sides of the pitch – the pivotal cross that found Koo did the trick to win the match. No wonder Kuwait started to shift attack away from the left and diverted more onto the right.
  • Kim Seung-Gyu, while he didn’t have too much to do, the few times he was called into action put in a solid effort between the sticks for the KNT. Particularly in the 2nd half, defensive lapses about to punish team Korea, Kuwait would either flub or their shots were parried away by Kim.  In one key moment, a tender 1 goal lead in jeopardy in stoppage time, Kim came off his line decisively to keep the ball away from a charging Kuwaiti forward.
  • Korea tops their group in 2nd round of WCQ for Russia WC2018.  The defense has conceded 0 goals and offense has scored 14 in this round thus far.  Granted, group results have been against minnows, and so far, defensive lapses haven’t been punished – so far…

1st half highlights

2nd half highlight

 

When video highlights become available, we’ll post that up. Jamaica friendly in Korea next up on Tuesday Oct 13 / 7am US EST / 8pm Korea Time.  Lee Seung-Woo, Jang Gyeol- Hee and Korea U17 have some warm up matches, one tomorrow before the U17 World Cup.

I’ve got to go pick up my son from school, but if you’ve read the narrative from FIFA (and earlier today I referred to an SI article which echoes other western media reports on Chung’s 6 year ban for alleged ethics violations in a bid to secure the 2022 WC for Korea), it would look like Chung Mong-Joon is as crooked as the other FIFA execs like Blatter, Platini and General Secretary Jerome Valcke. But is he?  I don’t have a position staked out yet, but I am beginning to wonder: has Chung’s very vocal criticism of Blatter recently got him directly in FIFA’s crosshairs – enough for the verdict we got today?  Is the 6 year ban really just political retribution within FIFA -orchestrated by Blatter in a ‘if I’m going down – I’ll take everyone with me’ approach?

Consider this: Blatter, Platini and Valcke all got 90 day suspensions – while Chung gets 6 years suspension and $100,000+ fine. Separate charges one might say, but wouldn’t the whole of Blatter’s egregious multiple bribery and embezzlement violations in charge of the FIFA syndicate be more damning than anything Chung could be charged with?  The other detail emerging with Chung’s case, he was investigated on the aforementioned charges of virtual bribery in an effort to get votes for Korea hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup -something on the lines of using a proposed $777 million Global Football Fund as a nuanced form of bribery to other countries in 2010 around the same time Korea bid on WC 2018 and 2022. Wait a tic, wasn’t that already investigated? I could be wrong, but I believe those charges were dismissed, no? However, the timing of the ban & fine issued was interesting, this coming very shortly after Chung became very vocal in a press conference on Blatter’s ‘mafia’ style corrupt management and called for him to step down immediately. A writer (can’t remember the name) on twitter was bemused: Since when does FIFA has an ethics board? If so, where have they been all these years?

 

Here’s Chung yesterday on ESPN (and separately a Guardian article on his threatening lawsuit with Blatter).

 

 

and here’s a link to a Yonhap article expressing his complaint on the 6 year ban, which he described as a smear campaign. The end of October would be the deadline to file for a bid to become the new FIFA president.

AND yet…the thing that paints a negative picture on Chung is the fact that the ex KFA boss and ex FIFA VP was intimately involved with the organization for 17 long years, some of those falling in the timeframe where it seemed everyone at FIFA was accused of wrongdoing. There’s no smoking gun as to clear cut crime or bribery by the Hyundai billionaire, but it might be safe to say, seemingly every serious bid to host a World Cup was tainted. To what degree? Hard to say in regards to the Korea bids of 2002, and later 2018 and 2022. There’s certainly more solid evidence with the Russia / Qatar vote rigging -then again there’s more intense focus on those bids and details emerging on how that scheme went down. Sadly, it would seem that the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup, as magical as it was, mostly likely was obtained in some fashion similar to the other dubious yet successful bids in recent memory: lack of transparency, behind closed doors, handshakes and backroom wheeling dealing. Credit where credit’s due, there was something right about FIFA and Chung for bringing the World Cup to Asia and Africa for the first time ever. But the utter lack of transparency for the past several decades leaves many doubts as to how clean the process was.  The conclusion: point multiple fingers in every which way, not just for CMJ.

What’s the call Tavern goers?  Does this smack of cynical political retribution as Blatter’s last act as outgoing FIFA president or is it like a retroactive yellow card  – Chung’s years at FIFA presumes guilt by association?

 

Meanwhile, let’s celebrate some good news: Ji So-Yun scored first in a 4-0 rout of Sunderland and for the first time, Chelsea Ladies win the title race. Check the link for Ji’s goal.

And Barcelona B’s Lee Seung-Woo makes the Guardian’s list of the top 50 youth prospects in the world, and John Duerden contributed to the tally:

Extra Time: interestingly in the NEXT GEN top 50 youth prospects list, a North Korean actually makes the cut: Han Kwang-Song was rated by Duerden, who impressed in the finale of the U16 AFC tourney. Apparently he spent some time in Spain, something in common with Lee Seung-Woo.  Can’t the Korean War be over already and we pool the best talent from both north and south?  Ay gun ah…

About Roy Ghim 391 Articles
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7 Comments

  1. I’ve been calling for Koo JC moved (slightly) left for quite some time, as I wanted to see if he can follow up on the 2011 Asian Cup, and… here you go. 🙂

  2. Koo was great today.
    The lack of goals was a bit frustrating but hey, Korea won an away game with no goals conceded.
    Good job korea

  3. Not related to this post, but it seems important. Jang Gyeol-hee has sprained his ankle and will miss the U17 World Cup in Chile. Unfortunate for him (and the team). Doesn’t seem serious, but he won’t be fit until after the tournament ends, so he’s been officially removed from the roster (Cha Oh-yeon replacing him).

    The trick about Blatter is that he hasn’t “technically” been involved in any of the corruption directly. Yet, everything has happened under his watch and it’s hard to see any way that he isn’t aware of what is happening. Not saying he’s not guilty or anything like that, but legally there may be a distinction. Like in Italy you can get charged for match-fixing or failure to report a fix. One is direct involvement, the other is failure to act on knowledge. Chung may be more the former while Blatter the latter.

    Chung MJ was and wasn’t cleared for the GFF. It was brought up in the Garcia Report (I tweeted the sections). The report said that the GFF was, or at least certainly brought the appearance of, bribery/attempt to influence votes, but that ultimately it didn’t affect the actual vote for the ’22 WC. The report said if others want to pursue the case further and punish if violations found that was up to them.

    • Jang out!!!??! What a bummer…injuries – BAH!

      Good points you raise. Chung MJ, it could be argued, did raise the appearance of nuanced bribery with the proposed global fund. I still haven’t staked out a position on Chung MJ, I’m not necessarily in his corner, but playing devil’s advocate, the Global fund was merely a proposal, and as you say, one that never got put into play and end result was the more egregious vote rigging behind closed doors that gave away WC ’18&’22 to Russia/Qatar. I don’t know…it doesn’t seem like proportional consequence for what Chung did (and effectively didn’t do). And yet…I’m still conflicted on him and his role at FIFA in the past…seems like he was part of the cabal by also turning a blind eye to ethical misdeeds all around FIFA during his time as a FIFA VP…

      • The issue with the GFF was that it was not officially part of Korea’s bid but was clearly mentioned by Chung MJ “on the side”. Is attempted bribery worse/better than successful bribery? I’m not sure.

        I think Chung would say it’s the cost of doing business within int’l football. To get things done sometimes you gotta grease the wheels a bit to get it moving. If he doesn’t, then what? Someone else does and they get the benefits. I think we talked about it on the never-released podcast, but would Korean football be where it is without the ’02 WC? Assuming Chung did some backdoor shenanigans to get it, was it worth it? Would we prefer Chung to be completely above board but possibly at the expense of the ’02 WC and everything it brought with it?

        • some could argue and be absolutist about 2002. I go back and forth –sometimes lean towards the idea to not see this in black & white terms. There was tremendous positives that came from 2002. KNT would DEFINITELY not be were it is today without 2002. Park Ji-Sung and Lee Young-Pyo likely wouldn’t have been discovered by Hiddink, and the doors they opened, etc etc

          and yet…and yet…I absolutely abhor corruption and all the endemic problems that come with it – government to business to sports bodies like FIFA -all in bed together like some three way orgy gone horribly wrong. I’m torn about how to view 2002 -really how to contextualize it properly. I feel like I have to pretend like no spectacular drama happened- no backroom deal occured, that it was all clean, that the tournament was as thoroughly magical as I remembered it back then.

          AND while no hard evidence exists of problems with that bidding —with all the revelations coming out about those years at FIFA, I think you and I both agree [and I think was part of that podcast], it would seem a stretch that it was 100% clean.

          Perhaps there’s consolation in the lack of controversy with the 2002 bidding process, compared with 2018&2022 awards to Russia/Qatar?

          Eh…at this point, FIFA should be blown up and put back together. Carefully, thoughtfully and with utmost integrity & transparency. Rebuild from the ashes. FIFA is dead. Long live FIFA. pray the new is better than the old.

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