World Cup Viewing update / Tavern Kickaround

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:

1. Do visit Jinseok’s official Tavern preview of tomorrow’s Russia v Korea match. As an added bonus: gear fetish info – Jae Chee details what boots the players are sporting.

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 @KoreaChukGu and Tim Lee’s is at @korfan12 . Mine is to the left of your screen and is @taeguk_warrior. There are several good twitter handles to follow during this world cup. one of them is Yoo Jee-ho @Jeeho_1 . He’s a Yonhap sports writer that is live tweeting events (in English) on the ground in Brazil. Sports Donga writer Rachael Hur @Rachel_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.

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.

Noonchi is holding a viewing party tonight in NYC and published my piece on how I came to go over the edge with Korea in 2002.

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).

>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:

He was also interviewed by his own club in the run up to his World Cup appearance…


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…

Unlike in 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!

About Roy Ghim 454 Articles
The old Tavern Owner


  1. thanks for all the work you guys do. this place is fantastic. i know I’ve been a piece of shit lately but its really just tough love. i will root on tomorrow and hope for the best.

    please please please please step up KNT! Russia is fully beatable.

  2. All negativity aside, this site rocks. Sometimes I like to stir the pot, but it’s either just to be devil’s advocate or I really love the team and just want them to push themselves.
    Go Korea!

  3. One more note. I completely agree that 자신 is lacking. The importance of confidence was most apparent to me in that game between Ivory Coast and Japan. IC seemed to lack 자신 and weren’t really performing in the first half, which led to ole Japan taking the lead. However, the minute Mr. Drogba came on, it was like a lightning bolt of confidence that electrified the audience and pushed his team to greatness. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he took the pitch… complete and utter determination. Drogba wasn’t even involved in IC’s two goals, but you can bet that his mere presence was enough to push his squad. It was an incredible thing to see. South Korea needs that kind of push. I don’t know which player could do it, but I’m hoping Mr. HMB provides that lightning bolt in the locker room before the match.

    • i was thinking the same thing about drogba, and that was exactly why i thought park jisung should have been open to coming, so long as he was fit. my understanding is that he wasn’t really fit to play, but i also think he wasn’t going to come whether he was fit or not.

  4. Hi, this is the first time I’ve been in here. I only discovered you today, haha. I’m not Korean, but I’m a Taekwondist and Kpop fan :P… I don’t know what else to say. I just like to support Korea when they play football.

  5. 대한민국 화이팅!!!!!
    It’s actually laughable how little the Australian sports commentators know, i understand it’s not their country but far out being from the same division I thought they would know more. Many lels.
    Fingers crossed!

  6. End 1st half, k k not as bad as it coulda been. Son fluffs, infuriating (집중!! Focus, man!)

    Defense, not bad as I feared, pleasant surprise! Long balls still frustrating, even commentators said they’re just an auto turnover

    Timid start, but warming up nicely near end, finding sumthin like a groove. Keep it up!

    Here we go!

    • 1-1…well, considering our fears, I’ll take a pt. Disappointed by sum of the yellow cards, looked uncalled for, Son/Ki/Koo.

      Lucky SK goal, maybe handball on Rus goal, chances 4 both, screw ups both. Rus more dangerous @ end, SK defense threatening to fall apart, scary.

      But considering expectations, I guess this ain’t so bad. Room 4 improvement, nuthin catastrophic. & Son, please calm down next time u take a ripe shot!

      • korea wasn’t really playing long balls for the most part. they did it more at the end when they got tired, but generally they played their usual style. son was definitely a little too jacked it seems. russia and korea were fairly even throughout the match so it was a fair result. jung played so much better and, you guess it, with a little bit more confidence. he should only gain more confidence after this game. at the very least, he can say, ‘i didn’t let a soft goal in like the russian. lol. korea’s defense actually wasn’t falling apart.they were simply gassed. in fact, i was very surprised at how tight they remained throughout the match. korea’s set piece defense still is a concern though. they let that one guy come in for a header basically unblocked. definitely a more positive start than negative. they need to stop giving up the ball. korea were fortunate that russia turned the ball over just as often as them. and for the love of all things good, stop passing backwards until it gets to jung for a long kick that usually goes to the opposition!! also, good for lee keun ho. he was due for some good luck. lol

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