Apparently Togo have found themselves a coach, and now we can have a game. Togo with a good run in the 3rd minute almost yields a PK. Can’t really trip on the ball and expect one though.

Geographically, Togo is located down by the Ghana in politically iffy Western Africa. While these teams continue to improve—and thankfully play reasonably exciting soccer—I doubt any among us expect a push beyond the second round by any of those teams. I always wonder if that gets the players in trouble back home or if it’s what everyone expects. In the case of Togo, a long-time military dictatorship with pretenses of democracy, I suppose you really only have to keep one person happy, but unlike most of us, it’s not yourself.

Perhaps worse, the average male life expectancy in Togo is 55. Put another way, all the Togo players on the field are middle-aged. Yikes.

Togo with the early run of play which hasn’t netted them much. Koreans run like a Hyundai, which is to say that they’re much improved in recent years. I don’t think anyone expected their trip to the semis in 2002, host nation or not. Will they again play the role of 1998’s Croatia as team that nobody sees coming and ruins everyone’s betting brackets? Doubtful.

Good action around the 15 minute mark, but the attacks are out of sync, and neither team looks precise. Korea starting to get a little more forward in the 20th minute, but by and large the keepers have had little to do.

Ah, a yellow for Romao of Togo for breaking up the Korean give and go with a foul. Ref is frequently smiling, but maybe he’s a happy assassin, chuckling while hands you a red card. Who knows?

GOAL to togo in the 30th minute! Fantastic shot! Off the post and in. Goo d stuff. Big defensive error by the Korean defense on the entry, but a great shot nonetheless. This bodes well for forcing Korea to push guys forward and opening up the game. If they lose to Togo, their chance of leaving group play are close to dashed. They could beat the Swiss, but unless France has a meltdown like 2002, Korea’s going to go back to making cars and cheap electronics. Admittedly, I picked Korea to advance based mostly on their 2002 result, so it’d be nice if they didn’t make me look foolish right out of the gate (like, say, Poland).

Korea with the run of play in the late 30s of the first half. But then a long ball in the Korean zone nets a Korean guy a yellow. Chong Gug, what a name. Dangerous free kick to Togo. Good shot, good save. Corner headed wide.

Corner to Korea in the 44th taken short and fast and crossed out. OK. 1-0 to Togo at half time.

Korean picks up a yellow.

Korea on the attack…taken down! Red card to Abalo of Togo. GOAL! On the resulting free kick. That is bad, bad news for Togo. The red card was probably the right move since the Korean player was headed for a 1 v 1 with the keeper, but now Togo’s down to 10 guys and it’s 1-1.

Korea attacking again. Where was this in the first half? Korean fouled in the box; no call. Should have been a PK. Togo (pronounced by a student presentation in one of Erin’s French classes as “To go”) look shell-shocked.

the Linesman looks happy too. Togo player injured. Major bummer. Nobody touched him, he just collapsed. Looks like a knee thing. Gonna need a sub. Too bad.

Korea scores the go-ahead 72nd minute in. Good turn, nice shot. It’s not like Togo isn’t still getting some chances, but good luck. With 10 guys that’s going to be a task.

Lightly blogged second half since the kids are up, but suffice to say good action and a 2-1 Korean victory.