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Sunday, June 18, 2006

France surprised by South Korea's football

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South Korea proved they can fight very hard and get what they want. Park Ji Sung made the goal to tie 1-1 with wasteful France in a Group G match Sunday that could mark the end of Zinedine Zidane's career.

Arsenal striker Thierry Henry put the French ahead on nine minutes with their first World Cup goal since they won the 1998 final on home soil, improving on a goalless opening draw against Switzerland.

Nowever, the things were not good for the French side and they were left with just two points from two games - though Mexican referee Benito Archundia failed to allow what television replays showed as a clear goal by midfielder Patrick Vieira.

As we said, Zidane, who will be 34 when France play Togo on Friday, received his second yellow card of the tournament for pushing a defender in the penalty area just following the South Korean equaliser.

As a result, the French captain and mastermind of the 1998 champion team will miss the final group game against Togo, which could be the last in France's 2006 trophy campaign unless they get the victory.

"We were greatly improved on the match against Switzerland. We put some great moves together," French coach Raymond Domenech claims.

"I saw that we controlled this game for long spells, but we're unlucky the referee didn't give the score on Vieira's header."

In fact, South Korea, playing their sixth World Cup in a row, now lead the group with four points before Togo and Switzerland meet in their second Group G encounter Monday.

Domenech blamed 'strange' refereeing for Zidane's second booking. Still he praised the fighting spirit of the Koreans, who were semi- finalists four years ago when they co-hosted the tournament.

"Their goal was bit flukey, but that's football," he expressed. "We know where we are: We have to win the last clash."

Line-ups:

France: Fabien Barthez, Willy Sagnol, Lilian Thuram, William Gallas, Eric Abidal, Patrick Vieira, Claude Makelele, Sylvain Wiltord (60. Franck Ribery), Zinedine Zidane (90. Trezeguet), Florent Malouda (88. Vikash Dhorasoo) - Thierry Henry.

South Korea: Lee Woon Jae, Choi Jin Cheul, Kim Young Chul, Kim Dong Jin, Lee Young Pyo, Kim Nam Il, Lee Ho (67. Kim Sang Sik), Lee Eul Yong (45. K Seol), Park Ji Sung, Lee Chun Soo (71. Ahn Jung Hwan), Cho Jae Jin.

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