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Football-lover, do you still remember the glory of the South Korean national team at the 2002 World Cup? Well, we will take you to a little flashback 17 years ago.
The 2002 World Cup was the first world cup to be held outside Europe or America. This year was also the first time the world cup was held on the Asian continent. South Korea and Japan have the honor of FIFA to hold the most massive football event in the world.
During this 17th World Cup, there were many controversies, one of which was about the biased referee. One of the referees was Bryan Moreno who led the eighth final match between South Korea and Italy. The Italian national team felt that they got unjustified by this referee from Ecuador.
Besides, This 2002 World Cup also became the event where South Korea as the host, showed off its greatness. They made it through to the semifinals and became the first Asian country to do so at the world cup. The Italian and Spanish caliber were defeated thoroughly. However, there were many skewed stories related to this South Korea’s triumph. One of them was about the story of South Korea that has been assisted by particular referees in every match.
Behind all those triumphs, there was one figure who was quite influential in the team. He was Ahn Jung Hwan. Although in the 2002 World Cup he only scored 2 goals, his role was very important and he always became the main choice of coach Guus Hiddink.
Here is Ahn Jung Hwan’s short profile …
Then who exactly is Ahn Jung Hwan?
Ahn Jung Hwan was born on January 27, 1976, in Paju, South Korea. He is a football player who can play as a striker and also an attacking midfielder. His professional career began in 1998 when he strengthened the Pusan Daewoo Royals club. Then in 2000, he was loaned by an Italian club, Perugia. With Perugia, he managed to appear 15 times by scoring 4 goals in the 2000/01 season. In the following season, Ahn’s performance was fading away, he only scored 1 goal from 15 matches. His decreasing performance did not make Luciano Gaucci, the president of Perugia, was reluctant to give him a permanent contract. Ahead of the 2002 World Cup, Ahn will be wearing a Perugia uniform for the next season. Besides playing at the club, Ahn also defended the South Korean national team. His debut happened in 1997. He also appeared in the 2002 world cup.
The story of Ahn in the Italian counter …
You might still remember one of Ahn Jung Hwan’s goals in the World Cup at that time. Goals scored against Gianluigi Buffon in the round of 16 became the cause of how Italy got eliminated in the 2002 world cup. He created the goal during the extra time after the 1-1 draw which lasted until the normal time. Since the rules in the 2002 world cup applied the golden goal system, so Ahn Jung Hwan’s goal, at the same time, ended the match and brought South Korea to the last eight.
Ahn was crossed out from the Perugia club …
There is also Ahn Jung Hwan’s bad story after the removal of the Italian. For the South Korean people, Ahn’s action in the game was like a hero. However, for the Italian community, it was like an extraordinary disgrace. Only a day after this phenomenal event, Perugia also canceled Ahn Jung Hwan’s permanent contract unilaterally. The president of Perugia at that time, Gaucci, said he was hurt by Ahn’s goal that forced Gli Azzuri to go home early.
He considered Ahn Jung Hwan, who was born on January 27, 1976, to be called ‘the destroyer of Italian football’. “I am not willing to pay the salary of someone who has destroyed Italian football,” Gaucci said at that time.
Ahn was later removed from the Perugia roster. Soon after being denounced by the world for being discriminatory and racist, the Perugia club corrected the Ahn’s dismissal. However, Ahn who has been broken and hurt did not want to go back to the series A club. He said: “I will never again discuss my transfer to Perugia, who attacked me when they were supposed to congratulate me on my World Cup goal.”
Perugia’s decision and Gaucci’s harsh comments towards Ahn Jung Hwan made the situation of Italian and Asian football heated up. The East Asian Football Federation even had the chance to ban its players from working in Italy. Luckily after that, the situation was getting calmer. Many Asian players returned to Italy such as Shunsuke Nakamura (Reggina), Atsushi Yanagisawa (Sampdoria), Keisuke Honda (Ac Milan), Mitsuo Ogasawara (Messina), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), and the latest Lee Seung-woo (Verona).
Ahn Jung Hwan moved to another club…
After not getting a contract extension with Perugia, the player who is identical for his long hair was anchored to Japan. He started his career with Shimizu S-Pulse and Yokohama Marinos. Performing quite well there, Ahn got an offer to return to the Blue Continent again. He then continued his adventure in Germany with Metz from 2005 to 2006 and defended Duisberg in August 2006 until January 2007.
Ahn returned to Asia and played in the South Korean league with Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Busan IPark before finally ending his career as a professional footballer with a Chinese club, Dalian Shide in 2011. Meanwhile, during his time with the South Korean national team, he had scored 17 goals in 71 matches.
So that is the story of Ahn Jung Hwan who had “expelled” from Italy. For those of you who have other related stories, please write in the comments section below, and don’t forget to like and subscribe.