If you’re visiting the Tavern for the first time, welcome! Brazil World Cup time, let’s get you situated for Korea’s adventure in the World Cup group stage. 3 things you must do immediately:
2. In the menu options above, Korea in the World Cup section has the roster and player numbers. Commit that to memory – it will serve you well in your viewing parties as you identify players like a expert. Do check out Jae Chee’s profiles on the 23 man roster. They will get you familiar with the players who are representing.
3. Speaking of viewing parties : if you are geographically near a public live viewing event or party featuring the Taeguk Warriors in the World Cup, go and you should be in good company. Check the Tavern’s World Cup Viewing events, we have the latest info (and I expect to get more events posted). If you know of public events that’s not already listed, let us know in the comment section.
4. Twitter…Jae’s twitter is @ and Tim Lee’s is at @ . Mine is to the left of your screen and is @. There are several good twitter handles to follow during this world cup. one of them is Yoo Jee-ho @ . He’s a Yonhap sports writer that is live tweeting events (in English) on the ground in Brazil. Sports Donga writer Rachael Hur @ is also tweeting from Brazil.
While the Tavern writers couldn’t get out a hangout podcast before the Russia v Korea match, we got together on the interwebs and just…talked. Check out our last thoughts and questions here.
—-Keep an eye and ear out for Tavern writers in larger established media outlets – Jae Chee has written a profile of the Korean squad in FIFA World Cup magazine. (The magazine is entirely on print – look for it at a news stand near you).
Jae was also interviewed by Irish radio station NewsTalk 106-108 FM on their football podcast.
— Newstalk’s Team 33 (@teamthirtythree) June 2, 2014
I was interviewed by KPPC/ LA NPR a few weeks ago on the meaning behind rooting for Korea as an American citizen. It aired earlier today in LA.
Finally, Jae and I will be a small part of the Independent’s live media coverage of Korea’s group matches. The instructions we’ve received: we’ll get a phone call at halftime and full time for our reactions on the match – and whatever other incidental observations we have on it. Sounds like some kind of hostage crisis situation, tense phone negotiations, drama, etc. Very exciting, yet stressful at the same time…
Quick crazy stories to relay at the Tavern: first regarding the Ghana tuneup loss last week, June 9th also happened to be my wife’s birthday. As we were blowing out her birthday cake and started singing “Happy Birthday to you..”, Ghana scored their first goal. In abject horror, I stopped singing. It was like a bad dream – I knew I should continue singing, I knew I’d be in REAL big trouble if I showed more attention to the game than her – and yet I couldn’t stop myself from dropping my jaw and trying to figure out how this defensive lapse by Kim Chang-Soo and others led to this goal. This is my level of commitment in following Korean football. Worth getting into terrible trouble and multi-day doghouse penalties? Debatable. For the record: I’m still in the doghouse, and probably will be for the rest of the tournament…
2nd story goes back to 2010: I actually crashed a Korean family’s house to watch the round of 16 game between Uruguay and Korea. I was living in Portland Maine at the time, and anyone who knows anything about New England knows there ain’t too many Koreans there, much less in Maine. There was, however, one Korean family who owned the only Asian market in town. For whatever reason, I was desperate to watch this game with fellow Koreans. As I was buying some frozen mandu at the counter, I sort of invited myself over after I inquired about their plans to watch the game. Hell, I didn’t even know their names -but they were kind enough to welcome this stranger on board. Their daughter thought I was kind of nutters, and I began to wonder whether I should check into a mental facility. However, when Lee Chung-Yong equalized in the 68th minute, we all went bonkers, jumping up and down together, waving the Taeguki flag. Though Korea eventually lost, I was super appreciative to that family for welcoming the strange bearded gyopo.
The last word before the group stage matches begin… So nerves at the Tavern are getting a bit frayed given the high expectations – dampened immediately after some misadventures in their last 2 friendly World Cup tuneup matches. This is supposed to be Korea’s most European experienced squad ever, yet there is now fear Korea will not advance past the group stage.
To settle butterflies in the 배, I’ll simply re-iterate that this is a very strange and weird World Cup. Cue protesters before and during the World Cup – complaining (coherently) that the government is investing more in football than in housing, education and infrastructure. Is this Brazil, the 5 time World Cup winner, where football is religion? After witnessing Netherlands thumping Spain 5-1, Costa Rica shocking Uruguay 3-1 and USA finally getting one over on Ghana, I say this: Anything can happen in this World Cup. Up is down, left is right, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria (thanks Dr Venkman). And not to dabble in schadenfreude…but to dabble in schadenfreude – seeing the Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire come from behind to beat Japan 2-1…let’s just say I’m pulling for Drogba’s squad to advance to the round of 16 for the first time ever in their nation’s history. Japan did look convincing in the first half, but their defense eventually faltered. After the loss, renown data cruncher/predictor Nate Silver now estimates Japan’s chances advancing past their group to 12%. Whoa!
With Australia going down to Chile and Iran/Nigeria ending in a scoreless draw, Korea could give Asia their first 2014 World Cup win. The question that comes up a lot lately- can Korea really get out of the group? Jae has analyzed this current squad for the Tavern extensively – their potential and their glaring deficits. To add to the conversation, I’ll simply say it comes down to this: 자신; Confidence. There has to be belief in their own innate skills and abilities. This is a young squad, in fact, Korea’s youngest ever in the World Cup. Heavy weight on such young shoulders. Confidence can wax and wane, especially in the post-Park Ji-Sung era. Perhaps it’s recovering from late season injuries, or insecurities buried deep now surfacing, the last 2 tune up matches showed some lack of 자신 in their own raw talent. The yet-to-unfold story of this squad, can they overcome differences in experience, style, skill, domestic vs European pedigrees and their own personal fears to come together as a team that can compete on the brightest of international spotlights? If the Korea squad under Hong that surprised Switzerland and Greece and gave a spirited decent performance against Brazil this past year shows up – this will be a World Cup that Korea will embrace and get excited about…but be prepared for disaster. It’s hard to know which version will enter the pitch tomorrow though. That’s part of the sick thrill (and the frustration among some supporters), not really knowing what’s going to happen. Roll the dice and say Dae han min guk. No matter what happens, go Korea – fighting all the way.
(Speaking of the Korea Brazil match last fall, here’s a small sample of what Korea is capable of. Though they didn’t score on this YouTube short, they looked great on the counter, very fluid, and nearly nabbed a goal).http://youtu.be/9v_U9rVbSW0
>By the way, researchers looking into measuring happiness noted that the secret may be found in low expectations. You read that right: low expectations. The same researchers found that if/when results come in exceeding those initial low expectations, happiness ticked in at a surprisingly high rate. So…contrary to my cautious optimism of the last 2 weeks, those negative naysayers who have dismissed Korea’s chances to advance may end up being the happier party -that is IF Korea get solid results and advance to face either Germany or…the USA?!? Like I said, anything can happen…
Small media notes, Lee Chung-Yong was featured prominently in FourFourTwo magazine:
— Daniel Houlker (@DHoulker_BWFC) June 11, 2014
He was also interviewed by his own club in the run up to his World Cup appearance…
— Bolton Wanderers FC (@OfficialBWFC) June 16, 2014
Judging by all this media focus on Lee, think he might be awarded the captain’s armband over an out-of-form Koo?
Meanwhile, righback Lee Yong was interviewed by Eurosport and declared that he is not intimidated by the Soviets, er rather Russia’s physical presence.
Looking ahead to the future, I’m psyched to see Kim Jin-Su, who just missed out on going to Brazil, a few days ago ink a 4 year contract with Hoffenheim – on his 22nd birthday to boot! He becomes the 7th Korean to play in the Bundesliga, including Koo Ja-Cheol, Ji Dong-Won, Hong Jeong-Ho, Ryu Seung-Woo, Son Heung-Min and Park Joo-Ho (until he goes to Korea for military service).
Last last last word…
2012010, this time, I will celebrate with fellow Koreans -tomorrow I’m making Kalbi bbq for everyone at the vacation home we’re renting with several families and their kids in tow. I might have a picture or two of this bbq / small World cup viewing party on the Tavern twitter. Stay tuned and get some sleep ya’ll. The adventure or misadventure begins tomorrow. Tavern is closed for the night and will reopen tomorrow. Chal ga-yo!