Ki Sung Yueng’s date with the elite


World Cup Celts

Midfielder Ki Sung Yueng faces the biggest challenge of his career today when he faces upto Argentina and a side packed with international quality.

The match will kick-off at 8.30pm in Korea with fantatical crowds expected throughout the country to watch the match recapturing the images of 2002 when Guus Hiddink took the host nation into the semi-finals of the competition.

As Ki lines upto to walk down the tunnel he’ll look across at opponents including Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano with Champions League hero Diego Maliton on the bench.

A bench looked after by Diego Maradona who dragged Argentina to World Cup glory in Mexico before Ki was born.

The Koreans go into the match ahead of Argentina in Group B and inspired by how their secrative neighbours to the north fared against Brazil.

Midfield will be an important area with Ki’s defensive qualities more likely to be tested than his ability to push forward.

Manchester United’s Ji-sung Park will provide the inspiration for the Koreans who have high hopes of qualifying for the second round for first time on foreign soil.

The Korean’s looked to be a cut above Greece in Saturday’s opening match with Park looking forward to testing himself against Argentina.

“Argentina are the best team in our group,” he said. “They have a lot of top international players. People are saying they could make the final, of course there is a difference in standard between the two teams but the unexpected can happen in this World Cup, and that is what we are looking to do.

“If we play as a team like we did against Greece, we’re capable of getting a result.

“There may be differences in our ability, but I guarantee we will give it all that we have. If the flow of the game goes in our direction, I think there will be a shock for a lot of people. We are playing to win.”

The South Korean’s were as much in the dark about their near neighbours from the north as the rest of the world as they sat down to watch the North Korea-Brazil match on Tuesday night.

Ninety minutes later and after a credible 2-1 defeat the world knew all about the North Koreans with Huh Jung-Moo impressed and inspired by what he watched.

The South Korean coach said: “I watched the game and even though they lost they were confident and did quite a good job. We talked about that with our players.

“Looking at it as a game between a stronger team and a weaker team it gives you a lot to think about and we reflected a lot about that and thought about what would have happened if we were in their shoes.

“So we really did reflect a lot, we were inspired in some ways and got some good ideas. We did learn a lot by watching Tuesday’s game.”

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  • Eddie Murray says:

    This will be a stern test for Ki, Park and the rest of their “Seoul” mates as Argentina will be keen to put qualification from the group stages to bed. I fancy the Koreans to take a point and cement their reputation as a quality side. Enjoy watching them and they are a dangerous lot-just ask Sammy!

  • Wee Minsky says:

    Fair comment there Ogward.

    What do you think of the prospect of Mulgrew back at Paradise? I like him myself.

  • Chris Reilly says:

    Wee Minksy – Mulgrew can take a free kick but he can’t really defend can he. Maybe as a back up left back but please not for first choice.

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