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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Fleet Street applauds Korea
Michael Ballack scored the winning goal in Germany's 1-0 win over South Korea
Michael Ballack ended the Korean dream

BBC Sport Online canvasses the opinion of three leading British national newspaper writers on the subject of Korea's contribution to the World Cup and of conspiracy theories.


Henry Winter
Daily Telegraph

I think as a neutral your heart drops when you see the Korean team going out.

They have seen some ridiculous accusations thrown against them and I felt sorry for them.

They ran their hearts out and it's sad that all the African and Asian talent coming to the fore is not going to be seen on the biggest stage possible.

We have got to remember that this is a World Cup and it is for the world.

It is not just for the richest countries in Europe and the historical countries from Latin America. Otherwise it would become boring.

It is great to see the Americans come on to the stage, it's great so see what the Koreans have done and the Senegalese have been fantastic.

That's what the World Cup is about.

I hate third-place play-offs but Korea will make sure Saturday is a good send-off.

The Korean fans are brilliant and I'm sure they will make it an amazing atmosphere.

I think stories about conspiracy border on the xenophobic and border on the desperately na´ve.

The whole point about tournaments is that hosts have invariably got the rub of the green.

It's nothing to do with the possibility of a linesman being influenced by Fifa.

Linesmen are influenced by crowds.

Go to Manchester United. Visiting teams don't get penalties at Old Trafford, nor do they in front of the Kop at Anfield.

That is why everyone wants to host a tournament and I'm sure that's why the very organised Germans wanted to host 2006 - because they know they have got a very good chance of winning it.


Martin Lipton
Daily Mirror

The passion that was displayed by the Korean fans and the sheer fervour was remarkable.

It is very rare you go to a game and cannot hear the ball being kicked - at any ground. I found that a real experience.

I am very glad I came just to witness that.

Coming here and seeing a country which is completely overcome with excitement about their football team is fantastic.

The team are more than capable too. They are very competent, very quick and physical. They lacked a little self belief against Germany and that is what has killed them.

But the grace with which they accepted defeat was a lesson as well. The fans were terrific at a time when they could have been really down.

Seoul was treated to a firework display after South Korea went out at the semi-final stage
South Korea have lit up the World Cup
Instead, they wanted to celebrate the achievements. That is a huge positive for the Koreans and their team.

There was no conspiracy, just bad refereeing. It happens in football.

If you are Spanish and want to look for a conspiracy then what about the Euro 96 quarter-final against England, when there were two very good goals given offside and a penalty that wasn't given.

Korea have shown restraint and a faith in football. They have suffered from a little bit of sneering and I'm not sure it is accurate.

I think they got through because they rode their luck and home teams do that.

The crowd against Germany was a fantastic example of the atmosphere they can create and the Koreans have nothing to be ashamed of.


Ian Ladyman
Daily Mail

Korea's first game against Poland absolutely knocked me out. I have never witnessed that type of atmosphere - it was unique.

The feeling of what they were doing for their country was immense and that is something I will never forget.

I don't feel particularly sad now they have gone. I am just delighted with what they have achieved.

They have ridden some good fortune, particularly in the last game against Spain, who I think should have won that game.

But against Germany they were second best.

The conspiracy stuff is nonsense.

Spain suffered from some poor decisions - in particular a poor assistant referee's decision.

In fact, I don't feel the latter stages have been well refereed at all.

Quite simply, the referees and linesmen have not seemed to be able to cope with the high atmosphere.


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