A 24-year old rivalry revisited tonight: Huh Jung-moo & Maradona (South Korea versus Argentina, 7.30pm)

I’m looking forward to the Argentina bs South Korea game and rounded up some kakis to watch it together. Scenes from the 1986 World Cup are vivid in my mind, as I watched every game with hungry eyes that year. It was South Korea’s first World Cup match and against the glorious team of Maradona & co. – exciting to see the Koreans give a robust account of themselves.

However, the South Korean defender tasked to mark Maradona took it too far – he was chopping and slicing the slippery eel. Admirably, Maradona shrugged it all off in disbelief, taking the blows pretty well which the first part of this video highlights:

Huh Jung-moo who ‘kicked, grabbed and tripped’ Maradona was apparently known back home as “Jindo-gae,” a Korean hunting dog [“An Old Rival of Maradona’s Earns a Shot at Redemption,” by Timothy Martin. Wall Street Journal, 16 Jun 2010]. He apparently admits, “”It was difficult for us to mark him; it was all a little bit too much!” [“Argentina v South Korea: Diego Maradona fears Korean assault squad,” by Ian Chadband. The Daily Telegraph, 16 Jun 2010]

South Korean was punished for these infractions with Maradona assisting in all three goals of their 3-1 victory. In fact, two of the ensuing free kicks from the fouls resulted in goals. The match highlights from the first-half below features the first two goals:

Fascinatingly, that same South Korean defender is now a coach like Maradona and his rival in the game tonight. Maradona said last year, “I remember Huh very well. In 1986 the Koreans played taekwondo, not football, against us.” The South Koreans have come a long way since and I am looking forward to some great soccer tonight!

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