|HOME | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 16, 2000
Spain draws with KoreaThe Rediff Team
On paper, this one should have been a mismatch -- the 1996 Olympic silver medallists who, more recently, came in second at the four-nations tournament in Edinburgh, versus the Koreans.
As it turned out, though, Spain was very, very lucky to escape with a draw, in a group that also includes India, Australia, Poland, and Argentina.
Initially, it looked like the game could go by the script, when in the second minute, Pablo Pol Amat latched on to a loose ball, displayed some nifty stickwork in eluding the Korean defence, and slammed home to complete a superb strike.
From there on, the game developed an aimless character, with both teams seemingly content to feel each other out. The change was gradual, as the Koreans eased themselves into the game and, increasingly, began using their incredible footspeed, and very good stick-skills, to dazzle the Spaniards, and the crowd.
As the pace picked up, the Spanish goal looked increasingly vulnerable -- and finally fell when Yoon Kim's shot at goal found Seung-Tae Song extending his stick, at the last second, to deflect past the diving goalkeeper into the back of the net.
Once parity was restored, the Koreans abandoned caution to the winds, and launched on a flat-out blitz that, in the dying seconds of the first half, saw them net from a Yeo free hit -- only for the referee to disallow, on the grounds that the shot was taken from just outside the circle.
In the second half, the Koreans took control right at the outset -- and never really relinquished it for the remainder of the match. Most of the play took place in the Spanish half of the field, but though the Koreans had several chances, luck and an obdurate Spanish defence went against them.
Luck, or ill luck more appropriately, did in fact seem to be dogging the Koreans. Into the last 15 minutes of the second half, a Yeo free hit went in, but again was disallowed on the grounds that the strike was from fractionally outside the circle.
Seconds later, Yeo -- who was brilliant on the day -- passed to Hwang, who took a well-aimed snapshot that Spanish goalie Jufresa had to scramble to block.
A minute later, Korea earned a penalty, and yet again, the ball crashed into the backboards -- only for the referee to disallow yet again, for infringement.
In the final minute of play, Yeo went solo, capping a fine run with what appeared to be a sure shot -- but again, Jufresa produced a save of true brilliance to ensure that his team went out of the field with shared points.
On the evidence of the day's play, Korea will be a big factor in deciding the fortunes of the other teams in this group, while Spain has a lot of work to do to come close to repeating its performance of four years ago.
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK