Jong gives Greeks Korea tips

North Korea draw 2-2 to give Euro 2004 champs a lesson ahead of WC match with South.

Loukas Vyntra of Greece, left, vies with Pak Nam Chol in Austria [EPA]

Greece got a taste of the steel of Korean football ahead of their World Cup group meeting with South Korea – being held to a 2-2 draw by the men from the less-fancied North.

Paraguay came unstuck at the hands of Ireland, who could have been going to the World Cup themselves were it not for Thierry Henry’s infamous handball in their Paris playoff.

The United States lost 4-2 at home to the Czech Republic, while Nigeria and Cameroon both drew 0-0 in their warmup freindlies on Tuesday.

North Korea forward Jong Tae-Se, dubbed the ‘Asian Wayne Rooney’, scored twice for North Korea as they prepare for their first finals since England 1966.

Greece twice took the lead but were pegged back by the impressive Japan-based frontman.

Kostas Katsouranis’s second-minute strike from close range after defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos headed a Giorgos Karagounis free-kick across goal gave Greece the perfect start.


But the Koreans, with their direct running and incisive passing making the pedestrian Greeks look embarrassingly one-dimensional, dominated the remainder of the half.

North Korea skipper Hong Yong-Jo twice rattled the crossbar and on 23 minutes Jong equalised with a superb long range effort that went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Greece’s sole threat stemmed from their set pieces and after making five changes at halftime, they regained the lead through substitute Angelos Charisteas’ volley from another Karagounis free-kick.

But Jong showed his class with a clinical finish moments later, controlling a long ball, skipping past Nikos Spiropoulos and then firing powerfully past substitute goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas to level again.

Greece begin their Group B campaign against South Korea on June 12.

Paraguay’s preparations for next month suffered a minor blow on Tuesday with a 2-1 defeat by Ireland.

Ireland, whose qualifying campaign came to a controversial end last year when a blatant handball by Henry set France up for a playoff-winning goal, rarely looked troubled after first-half goals from Kevin Doyle and Liam Lawrence.

Paraguay defender Antolin Alcaraz tested Irish goalkeeper Kieren Westwood with a stinging drive just before the break but the visitors looked a shade of the side who beat Argentina and Brazil en route to their fourth successive World Cup appearance.

After a shaky start to the second half, Paraguay got back on top of possession and pulled a goal back on 57 minutes when Argentine-born striker Lucas Barrios, who obtained Paraguayan nationality last month, scored on his debut.

Czechs beat States

The United States fell 4-2 to the Czech Republic in their last friendly match before coach Bob Bradley names the 23-man squad for the World Cup finals.

Robbie Rogers, right, battles with Jan Polak in Connecticut [GALLO/GETTY]

The Czechs took full advantage of defensive lapses by the Americans, who will host Turkey in a friendly on Saturday before the squad departs for South Africa.

Maurice Edu in the 17th minute and Herculez Gomez in the 66th each got their first international goals as Bradley rested regulars including Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard and instead took a last look at some of the players hoping to make the World Cup roster he was to name on Wednesday.

Nigeria began their preparations with an error-strewn 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia in a match they were fortunate not to lose in coach Lars Lagerback’s debut.

The new coach, who has had his players together for less than a week, turned out a side of more probables than possibles in the alpine village of Wattens in front of a small Austrian crowd.

Veteran Nwankwo Kanu captained the side but was among six players changed in the second half as Lagerback, who was appointed to the post in February, ran his eye over players on the fringe of the final squad.

Cameroon drew 0-0 with Georgia less than three weeks before the team’s opening match against Japan.

Freiburg striker Mohamadou Idrissou missed two chances for Cameroon, who struggled to find any fluency in Tuesday’s match.

Goalkeeper Guy Roland Ndy Assembe, defender Jean Patrick Abouna Ndzana and midfielders Marcel Ndjeng and Patrick Mevoungou all made their debut for January’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-finalists.

Source : News Agencies


More from Sports
Most Read