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   June 4, 2002 | 1845 IST



France get the blues

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South Korea surprise Poland

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Mitch Phillips

South Korea beat Poland 2-0 on Tuesday to seal their first World Cup finals victory at the 15th attempt, goals by Hwang Sun-hong and Yoo Sang-chul sending the 55,000 crowd at the group D match into raptures.

South Korea, who had played in five previous World Cups without managing a win, were worthy victors, and if there was ever any question about whether World Cup fever was burning in the co-hosting nation it was answered by the incredible scenes that greeted the goals.

Hwang Sun-hong (R) celebrates his goal with team mate Choi Jin-cheul Hwang chose the perfect moment to score his 50th international goal, shooting past Jerzy Dudek from close range in the 26th minute to bring a crescendo of sound crashing down from the stands.

Yoo blasted in the second eight minutes into the second half to cap a victory that was just reward for a performance full of energy, enthusiasm and invention.

Poland, appearing in their first World Cup for 16 years, barely created a chance and looked a shadow of the side who were the first to qualify from Europe last year.

The Koreans had promised to attack from the start and were as good as their word, with Yoo shooting just wide and striker Seol Ki-hyeon looking lively in the opening 15 minutes.

The Poles had pronounced themselves ready for the onslaught, but their experienced defence was nowhere to be seen when Hwang, unmarked 10 metres out, crisply turned in Lee Eul-yong's low left wing cross.

It was just reward for the co-hosts, who had constantly tried to attack the flanks and expose what they saw as a cumbersome Polish defence.

Poland's goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek lies on the pitch as the ball enters the net for Korea's second goal.Poland's only real chance of the first half came after just two minutes when Jacek Krzynowek broke through on the left but shot into the side netting.

They brought on Pawel Kryszalowicz in place of the ineffective Maciej Zurawski for the second half, but it was the hosts who struck again when Yoo made space on the edge of the box before unleashing a shot that Dudek could only palm into the roof of the net.

Korea then showed some resolute defence in the face of a late Polish onslaught but held out for a memorable success.

The victory was made even more satisfying by the fact that on the tournament's "Asia Day" Japan had drawn 2-2 with Belgium and China were beaten 2-0 by Costa Rica.

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