Friday, June 23, 2006

Both Switzerland and South Korea will advance to round two with a win today. Korea can afford a loss, if Togo holds off France in the shadow match. There is even a chance that fifa will draw lots, if France wins, and Korea draws with Switzerland, and if the goal differential between the three nations is equal.
Group G can still swing many ways, only the elimination of Togo is a fact.
"Neither side has scored any points for style, but either side has been proven very hard to beat," says the commentator, while Switzerland starts the action. They take a free kick, which a defender of South Korea heads away.
Korea answers strong. They counter over the left, entering deep into Swiss grounds. A Korean striker crosses the ball back in front of the goal. The timing of his teammates is off, and he misses the ball. Switzerland takes possession and slows the game down, passing the ball around in their backyard. In the fourteenth minute, the ball is played in the refereeā€™s feet. He raises his hands, urging the teams to ignore him and play on, after all, he cannot make a play for them.
"One early opportunity for Korea, nothing much since then," says the commentator.
Switzerland creates more space, and can capitalize from a free kick. A Swiss player sends the ball high in the face of the goal. A Swiss striker times his jump, he rises a feet above the surrounding defenders and heads the ball into the far corner.


After he hit the ball, his head butts with that of a Korean defender, causing both players to bleed from the face.
"Shedding blood for the cause," shouts the defender while the Swiss striker celebrates, despite his injury.
"I wonder what hurts most, the head butt or the goal," says the commentator, while the medical staff treats the defender. South Korea seems shaken by the goal, and the Swiss try for a second goal. The Koreans hold on, and Switzerland drops into defense-mode.
The good news for Korea is that Togo is holding off France with a zero scoreboard. As it stands now, Korea would still qualify for round two, together with Switzerland.
Korea does not want to rely on Togo and tries to break down the Swiss defense. They take a free kick from twenty-five meters out. The ball passes over the Swiss wall, but deflects off a defender in the box. Korea picks up the rebound and fires a long-range shot.
"The Swiss dodge the bullet," says the commentator while the ball goes two feet wide of the right post. In the end phase of the first half Korea fires another long shot. This time the keeper of Switzerland dives to the corner, and reaches the ball with one hand, deflecting it from the target.
Korea holds command also in the start of the second half, while Switzerland tries to close the shop.
In the fifty-fourth minute, a Swiss striker uses his hands to bring the ball down from a cross, the world cup virus strikes again.
The Swiss coach is not happy with his team defending so deep and urges his players forward from the sideline. Help comes from the referee in the seventy-fifth minute. A Swiss striker turns the play, about fifteen meters in front of the goal. His passes the ball to his teammate, who started his run too early. The linesman raises his flag for offside, and most players freeze. However, the referee sees it different and does not blow his whistle. The offside Swiss outplays the Korean keeper and scores.


Dick, the Dutch trainer for Korea, is going wild on the sideline. The referee knows better, the goal stands.
Korea battles until the end, even hitting the crossbar.
Nonetheless, when the whistle blows Korea's dream is extinguish. The Swiss dream, after a shaky first round, only just got started.