NOTE: Don’t forget the updates at the bottom of this post.
If you didn’t catch the game last night, it wasn’t hard to tell the result this morning. The surreal quiet. The lack of footie on TV. To blatantly rip off The Guardian, it was just a couple of deranged, flesh-eating Red Devils away from being “28 Days Later.”
Yes, Korea went down 2-nil to the devious, chocolate-eating, clock-making Swiss. Yes, Korea—for once—was on the bad end of a controversial call. And yes, the bitching has begun.
According to My Daily, furious Korean netizens are venting their rage at the officiating, claiming their team had to fight “11 men to 14.” From awarding the Swiss free kicks on legitimate challenges, closing their eyes to Swiss handling and, of course, awarding the Swiss a goal on what appeared to some an offsides, it was clear the refs were out to get Korea.
One netizen said, “It wasn’t that Korea couldn’t win, it was that the pro-Swiss referee played too well. Even if we brought in Beckham, Ronaldinho and Henry, we wouldn’t have been able to beat that ref.”
JoyNews has more of the netizen outrage, this time posted on the FIFA homepage’s chatting service.
Then there was the Herald SaengSaeng News, which started its article on the match thusly:
Our worries have turned into reality. French coach Raymond Domenech’s claim that the Swiss were the beneficiary of bad calls was right. During the Korea match, the biased officiating seemed several times worse. Because of that, rumors are going around like clear fact that the refs have an eye on FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is Swiss-born and gives out their game bonuses.
But lest you believe it’s just the media and netizens who are upset, it’s not. Korean captain goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae expressed regret that the state of international officiating was such. Lee Chun-soo, of course, bitched about the call, saying, “That goal played a big role in our defeat. From next time, we’ll play with that call in mind.” Lee Young-pyo, even while accepting the day’s results, said, “When the referee goes home and watches the game again, he’ll feel his own mistake.” Cha Du-ri, who was left off the 2006 squad and was relegated to commentary duties with MBC, called the game a “scam” and said, “The players are sweating and working hard on the pitch. It’s unfortunate that all their work will come to nothing because of the ref’s decision.”
Reuters has a piece on South Korea’s angry footballers as well.
For what it’s worth, even the fondue-eaters say they were lucky. And Park Ji-sung, even while saying that some of the officiating was a bit vague, admitted that the referee’s decisions are part of the game.
Oh, and My Daily is reporting that a Swiss fan threw a sharp plastic cup at a Korean girl during the Fan Fest Hanover street party. The cup hit the girl in the face, opening a 3cm cut. Her fellow Korea fans pointed out the young man to security, claiming that even before the flying cup, he’d been provoking the Korean fans. The young man, meanwhile, denies involvement. The Koreans plan to charge the man with assault.
You know, just to play peacemaker, I should point out that Korea and Switzerland have much in common, being mountainous nations surrounded by large neighbors. Oh, and they both eat dog.
UPDATE: My Daily are a bunch of hit whores (which, as a blogger, I can appreciate). Now they run a piece on, and this is the headline, folks, “Korea’s cruel history of bad calls.” That history, by the way, apparently began in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where Korea apparently got screwed in a match against Italy. This was followed by another screwing against Uruguay in 1990 in Italy.
UPDATE 2: Now the Helvetian embassy’s homepage is apparently being flooded with angry posts by pissed-off Korean netizens who are angry not only at the officiating, but also because of the girl who got beaned by the cup (see above), a story that was getting a surprising amount of play here. Or it least the homepage would be getting flooded by angry netizens, if said homepage had a bulletin board. Instead, netizens are venting their frustrations on the bulletin board of the Korean embassy in Switzerland. Netizens have also hit the Swiss tourism agency’s Korean homepage, and according to GoNews, there are signs that “anti-Swiss sentiment” (you read that correctly) could explode at the slightest provocation.
Run, fondue eaters! Run for your lives!
(Note: I knew one Swiss guy who is teaching English at a university in Seoul. Real nice guy and a man who knows his profession. Feel kind of bad for him, as no doubt his students will be rather dour on Monday)
Anyway, an employee of one trading firm doing business with Switzerland worried of an anti-Swiss backlash as a result of the game.
And yes, police arrested—but did not hold—a 44-year-old man who threatened by phone to blow up the Swiss embassy following the match.
One netizen did call for calm, however, noting that the assault on the girl had to be investigated, and the protests about the officiating needed to be directed at FIFA, not the Swiss. No word on where the protests about the officiating in 2002 should be directed.
UPDATE 2: More netizen stupidity, this time in the form of an online campaign to get a rematch (reported by Yonhap). One netizen has written a post in which he claims that if 5 million people write protest posts to FIFA, a rematch would be possible. He included a link (which, as of the writing of this post, was not working) along with some English phrases to use (see also this page, with its extremely creative use of the English language).
The message spread like wildfire across Korean cyberspace, and the resulting flood of traffic temporarily brought down both the FIFA and Korean Football Association (KFA) homepages.
Unfortunately for netizens, the KFA explained that there is no FIFA regulation about “5 million protests,” and that rematches are possible only in extreme situations such as natural disasters. There was a rematch after a clearly mistaken call during a Bahrain-UAE match in September, but the KFA believes that case to be different from Korea’s. Accordingly, the KFA has no plans to demand a rematch.