Koreans on guard against demonstrators

World Cup Diary
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The Independent Football

* South Korean media, normally unfettered critics of the United States, called for restraint in today's crucial South Korea-US match, fearing that anti-American incidents could harm the co-hosts' image. An array of leftist student groups and opponents of US military bases plan anti-American rallies to coincide with the game, and weekend editorials urged the people to focus their passions on the pitch.

* South Korean media, normally unfettered critics of the United States, called for restraint in today's crucial South Korea-US match, fearing that anti-American incidents could harm the co-hosts' image. An array of leftist student groups and opponents of US military bases plan anti-American rallies to coincide with the game, and weekend editorials urged the people to focus their passions on the pitch.

* The Russians have complained about playing matches kicking off at 3.30pm, the hottest time of the day, and asked for all games to be moved to the evening. The request has been rejected by organisers.

* This World Cup has some way to go to match the last two tournaments in goals scored. After the first 26 matches, there has been an average of 2.58 goals per game compared with 2.67 in France 98 and 2.71 in the USA in 1994.

* There is concern in the Korean camp that players will be unable to vote in local elections on Thursday. Korean FA officials had intended to apply for absentee balloting but failed to do so within the deadline. A spokesman said: "We want the players to vote but the only way they can do so is by going to the polling stations in their own constituencies."

* Juninho feels England are emerging as genuine World Cup contenders. Brazil's former Middlesbrough midfielder believes the win over Argentina is proof they can go all the way. "What really impressed me was the way they defended, when they really put the pressure on in the second half," he said. "That is the sign of a team that can do well at this World Cup."

* The presence of China and Japan in the finals provides an excuse to tell the story of the Midlands reporter who was covering a Wolves match. Sammy Chung, who was of Chinese descent, was then manager at Molineux. So when the hack noticed he had written about the "chinks in the home defence", he hastily changed it to "gaps". The next day he found himself reading about "the Japs in the home defence".

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