World Cup Diary: Hiddink ascends to legendary status

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The Independent Online

* Hiddinkmania is running out of control in South Korea. You can now buy lookalike dolls of the Dutchman, as well as key-rings, T-shirts and the rest. A radio station has started a campaign to allow him to become a Korean citizen; there is talk of the venue in Pusan, where the country gained their first ever World Cup victory, being renamed Hiddink Stadium; and the looniest of numerous websites in his honour is even suggesting he is the reincarnation of a historical hero, Admiral Yi Sun-sin.

* Hiddinkmania is running out of control in South Korea. You can now buy lookalike dolls of the Dutchman, as well as key-rings, T-shirts and the rest. A radio station has started a campaign to allow him to become a Korean citizen; there is talk of the venue in Pusan, where the country gained their first ever World Cup victory, being renamed Hiddink Stadium; and the looniest of numerous websites in his honour is even suggesting he is the reincarnation of a historical hero, Admiral Yi Sun-sin.

* South Korea's Italian-based striker, Ahn Jung-Hwan, has become something of a David Beckham figure with his pop-star looks and advertising endorsements. The similarity does not end there, for just as Becks declared his love for Posh in a Hindi tattoo, so Ahn has had 10 pairs of personalised boots made for the finals, inscribed with both a miniature Korean flag and the initials "HW". The letters are, he says, a "gesture of fidelity" to his wife Lye Hye-Won.

* The Scottish fan who broke his skull after falling from the stand of a World Cup stadium is on the mend. Jack Elliot was badly injured after losing his balance while running and tumbling over the front barriers and into a dry moat. The 33-year-old came out of his coma on Wednesday, two days after the accident. "He is rapidly getting better and he can say a few words" a spokesman for the Korean organisers said.

* Almost half of the seats were empty in Sogwipo on Saturday when Germany took on Paraguay. Rather than problems with the system of ticket distribution as in the previous phase, organisers simply blamed low demand. However, rather than being a reflection of German and Paraguayan football, the remote location of Seogwipo – on an island to the south of Korea – and the small local population were also put forward as reasons for the low attendance.

* The cost of bringing the pictures from the World Cup is £80m, twice as much as at France 98. Because the tournament is being co-hosted, the budget of the Host Broadcast Services has had to be doubled. Seven teams of producers are handling the output from the production operation, while 800 tonnes of equipment has been imported and 8,000 kilometres of cable is being used. Meanwhile, the camera shot shown by the high camera behind the goal has been dubbed "The Platini Shot". A spokesman said: "Michel Platini used to complain to me that there were too many cameras. He used to say he wanted to see the whole pitch, he was not bothered about the expressions on faces. I am not sure all our viewers would appreciate that shot, but it is still a choice we offer them."

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