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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Hiddink proud of his boys
Hiddink for president banner
Hiddink's place in Korean affections is already secure
South Korea coach Guus Hiddink claimed Germany won Tuesday's World Cup semi-final because they were the more experienced side.

"Of course we are disapppointed at not being there (in the final), but in general the German team were a little bit more experienced," Hiddink said.

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We can be very proud of the boys and what they did - not just tonight
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Guus Hiddink

"We tried in the second half to close them down but, in the first half, I think we had too much respect for them.

"I don't want to look for too many excuses but we didn't have the power in the first half and were too respectful.

"In the second half it went better and we had some chances, but you have to be realistic and say that they had more experience, and in the end that will pay.

"We can be very proud of the boys and what they did, not just tonight, but especially in the long run at the tournament.

"I am very proud of what they achieved."

The dream is over for South Korea fans
The dream is over for South Korea fans

Hiddink said he felt that his side had gained control of the match when they gave away possession in the 75th minute, allowing Oliver Neuville to feed Michael Ballack for the winner.

"We killed ourselves at that moment," he said.

South Korea now meet the losers of Wednesday's semi-final between Turkey and Brazil in the third-place play-off in Daegu on Saturday.

"We have to swallow this disappointment," Hiddink said.

"Of course there's disappointment, but we'll recover. I hope to bring the players again to an acceptable level to go for third place.

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Thank you to the people for all the cheering and support
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Hong Myung-bo

"We must recover in three days for the public and for our own sake."

South Korea captain Hong Myung-bo, playing in his 131st international and at his fourth World Cup finals, echoed his coach's feelings.

"The German team looked really prepared," he said. "Thank you to the people for all the cheering and support."

Veteran striker Hwang Sun-hong thought the extra-time exertions against Spain were a factor.

"We were not able to recover fully. Germany has played more big matches and they were able operate better than us," he said.

"There are a lot of regrets but we tried our best. This is only the beginning for Korean soccer."

Midfielder Park Ji-sung was also in positive mood. "I believe we gained a lot from the tournament, all the players gained more confidence," he said.

"This is a big stepping stone for the further development of Korean soccer. We will not be satisfied with just reaching the semi-finals."


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