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Sunday, 23 June, 2002, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Koreans dismiss plot theory
Referee Ghandour and Hiddink exchange views
Referee Ghandour and Hiddink exchange views
South Korean coach Guus Hiddink has angrily rejected suggestions the World Cup co-hosts are being aided by a conspiracy.

Portugal and Spain protested about controversial decisions in their matches against the co-hosts, with Italy even going so far as to claim there is a high-level plot to ensure a home win.

But he thinks South Korea's defeated opponents should look at their own shortcomings first.

"When people say it's all very suspicious then I get rather angry, " he said.

"We could mention a lot of incidents where we have not had the benefit of the doubt.

"It's happened in previous games when there was a situation for a red card, but the referee didn't see it and we accepted that.

"These things go for you and against you.

"I can understand coaches being emotional just after the game, but I think it's good to look in the mirror and see why your team failed.

"When you are a good team, you must punish a little team.

"We have some weaknesses and we gave away some presents in the Spain game and maybe also against Italy, but they didn't punish us."

Meanwhile, Hiddink is trying to quell the tide of expectation that is sweeping the host nation.

While South Korea's players and fans feel they can win the World Cup Hiddink is more circumspect ahead of Tuesday semi-final against Germany.

Hiddink continued: "Germany are a smart team and a team that needs only one or two chances to bring them victory."

Open Quote
We feel we can beat anyone if we play like we did against Italy and Spain
Close Quote
South Korea captain Hong Myung-Bo

South Korea's Dutch coach stressed Germany's quarter-final win over the USA on Friday gives them an extra day to recover.

"I hope we can match the German team for fitness.

"Germany will have a little bit of an advantage because they have had one day extra. My players are not fresh and I hope they will recover."

But captain Hong Myung-Bo summed up the feeling of the players when he said: "We're not scared of any team.

"We feel we can beat anyone if we play like we did against Italy and Spain."

Lee Won-Jae
Keeper Lee thinks he can handle Germany's firepower

Neither are Korea concerned about the aerial threat from Germany, who have scored six goals to date with headers.

Midfieler Park Ji-Sung said: "They are tall but they are not as fast as we are.

"We will get a good result if we attack their weak points."

Goalkeeper Lee Woon-Jae is also in bullish mood.

"Their shots and headers are really powerful but it will be easy for me to defend against this kind of attack."


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The Korea Times' Owen Sweeney
"Bad decisions go both ways"
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