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Sunday, 16 June, 2002, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
S Korea-Italy: key battles
Italian striker Christian Vieri
Vieri has three goals so far for Italy
South Korea v Italy | Second round | Taejon
Tue 18 June | 12.30 BST
Live on BBC One and Radio Five Live

Italy are the favourites to win their second-round game against South Korea but the co-hosts have already proved their threat in reaching the last 16.

Coach Guus Hiddink's side will also have a fervent home crowd willing them on to a quarter-final spot.

But Italy are a side who usually get better as a tournament progresses. BBC Sport Online takes a look at the contests which could decide the match.


Hong Myung-Bo v Christian Vieri

Central defender Hong, the libero of South Korean football, faces a severe test against one of the best strikers in the world.

Vieri notched two goals in Italy's opening game against Ecuador and scored in Italy's 2-1 loss to Croatia.

Hong, 33, has plenty of experience with more than 120 caps to his name but his age may count against him in the battle with the 28-year-old Italian forward.

This will be Hong's biggest test of the tournament and his concentration on marking Vieri could prevent him from starting and organising Korean attacks from the back.


Seol Ki-Hyeon v Christian Panucci

Seol Ki-Hyeon
There is a lot of expectation on Seol

Right-back Panucci has played for some of Europe's biggest clubs and will have to call upon that experience to limit the threat of Seol on the left wing.

Seol has the pace, skill and determination to worry Italy and the fact that he has yet to hit top form in the World Cup bodes ominously for Panucci.

Seol has shown glimpses of his talent but will have to be at the top of his game against a player who will be out to frustrate him out of the game.


Yoo Sang-Chul v Francesco Totti

These two midfielders both possess attacking prowess and whoever has the better game could make a huge difference to the result.

Totti is a match-winning playmaker and Italy will be hoping he shows the form and pedigree which has so far deserted him in this World Cup.

Yoo gave notice of his desire to join the attack in his side's first game when he scored South Korea's second against Poland.

Like most of the co-hosts players, Yoo does not lack for energy and, along with his defensive duties, he is not scared to shoot from in and around the area.


Ahn Jung-Hwan v Alessandro Nesta

Italian defender Alessandro Nesta
Defender Nesta is rated as one of the world's best

Ahn came on as substitute for Hwang Sun-Hong against the USA and scored the equaliser to earn a point for his side.

That was enough to win him a starting place against Portugal and his energy is likely to be a constant thorn in Italy's defence.

Ahn and Nesta play in Italy's Serie A, where the South Korean has struggled to make any impact.

But Nesta, although having some poor games, is recognised as one of the world's best defenders and if he can shackle Ahn, it will be one less avenue for Korea to attack down.


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