A stylish Dutch side is an important ingredient in any World Cup - and rarely will five more stunning goals be scored in one match - but the Dutch, the most pragmatic of people, will not read too much into the most emphatic scoreline of the tournament. The South Koreans defended like novices, but the Dutch still gave a master class in the clinical filleting of a minnow and the effect on their morale could be equally telling, though they still have to beat Mexico in their final Group E match to make sure of qualifying for the second round.
Two goals in the first half broke the back of the South Korean resistance. The second half was more akin to shooting practice on the training ground as Dennis Bergkamp, the architect of the first two, wriggled his way through the heart of the blue defence to score the third in the 73rd minute. He was substituted shortly after, but the arrival of Pierre van Hooijdonk only brought more misery for the Koreans. Within a minute, he had headed home a left-wing cross by Marc Overmars and, when Ronald de Boer gleefully scored the fifth before trotting off, the rout had turned into an embarrassment.
After the oldest of enemies for Holland came the newest. But the South Koreans posed much the same problems as the Belgians had in their rugged opening game in Paris. Guus Hiddink sprung a surprise by pairing Bergkamp, back for his first start since pulling a hamstring against Derby County seven weeks - and an Arsenal double - ago, and Philip Cocu, who has not played in the creative role behind the front runner since his days with Vitesse Arnhem.
His preference for the stiletto rather than the sledgehammer proved a shrewd move. Bergkamp's movement and close control terrorised the South Korean defence all of a sultry Marseilles night, constantly drawing defenders to him like moths to a flame. He had a hand in both first-half goals, which came just as the South Koreans were starting to show flashes of their own attacking qualities. When Jaap Stam broke free from his own area, his long ball was killed stone dead by Bergkamp. A pass to Cocu brought the Barcelona-bound player skimming in from the right touchline and a fraction of a second later, Kim Byung-ji was picking the ball out of his net for the fourth time in the tournament.
Four minutes later came the fifth. Inexperience and a touch of luck were involved as the South Koreans committed too many men forward for a free- kick on the Dutch byline, but there was no doubting the incisiveness of the finish. Though Bergkamp's dribble was halted by Hong Myung-bo, the ball ran loose to Wim Jonk, who released Marc Overmars. Arsenal fans will know what happened next. Overmars turned inside Choi Sung-yong and rammed a right-foot shot past Kim.
That effectively ended the contest, which was a shame for the few neutrals in the sea of orange in the imposing home of Olympique Marseilles. Even after four successive World Cups, there is an innocent enthusiasm about the South Koreans' play which is highly attractive. And they can play. Some of the interplay between their two best strikers, Choi Yong-soo, whose seven goals ensured qualification for France, and Seo Jung-won, was a delight.
The South Koreans could have gone ahead, just as they had against Mexico in their opening game, had Choi Yong-soo followed the old schoolboy adage of always aiming for the far post with a shot from an acute angle. Choi hit the net, but from the side.
The momentary lapses in the Dutch defence will be noted by coaches with interests further down the line. But they might be more preoccupied with stopping the attack.
Holland (4-4-2): Van der Sar (Ajax); Winter (Internazionale), F de Boer (Ajax), Stam (PSV Eindhoven), Numan (PSV Eindhoven); R de Boer (Ajax), Jonk (PSV Eindhoven), Davids (Juventus), Overmars (Arsenal); Cocu (PSV Eindhoven), Bergkamp (Arsenal). Substitutes: Van Hooijdonk (Nottingham Forest) for Bergkamp, 78; Bogarde (Barcelona) for Numan, 80; Zenden (PSV Eindhoven) for R de Boer, 84.
South Korea (3-5-2): Kim Byung-ji (Ulsan Hyundai); Lee Min-sung (Pusan Daewoo), Hong Myung-bo (Bellmare Hiratsuka), Choi Young-il (Pusan Daewoo); Lee Sang-yoon (Chunan Ilwha), Choi Sung-yong (Sangmoo), Kim Do-keun (Chunnam Dragons), Yoo Sang-chul (Ulsan Hyundai), Seo Jung-won (Strasbourg); Choy Yong-soo (Sangmoo), Kim Do-hoon (Vissel Kobe). Substitutes: Kim Tae-young (Chunnam Dragons) for Choi Sung-yong, 53; Ko Jong-soo (Suwon Samsung) for Kim Do-hoon, 70; Lee Dong-gook (Pohang Steelers) for Seo Jung-won, 77.
Referee: R Wojcik (Pol).Reuse content