40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History: #36 Ji-sung Park - Portugal vs South Korea ('02)
So much has been said, and even more written, about the magical run of South Korea to the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
While some point out the near inhuman feat achieved by the Korean side by getting past Italy and Spain on their way to their best ever finish in a World Cup competition, others point out the blatant favouritism that the Asians received against both the aforementioned teams, at different stages in the competition, from the officials.
We, however, would like to point out this piece of magic by the former Manchester United man and arguably Korea's biggest star - Ji-sung Park, in the group stages against the mighty Portuguese side.
The Korean produced a stunning solo effort in the 70th minute to send shock waves throughout the world of football and Portugal crashing out of the World Cup in 2002.
The game was 0–0 until the 70th minute following two red cards against Portugal, when Park scored the match winner. Shades of Dennis Bergkamp in 1998 against Argentina in the goal, Park controlled the ball with his chest and juggled past Sérgio Conceição before volleying the ball with his left foot, through the legs of Portugal goalkeeper Vítor Baía, and into the net.
His goal eliminated Portugal and advanced South Korea into the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time. South Korea eventually made it to the semi-finals with victories over Italy and Spain, becoming the first Asian team to do so in the history of the FIFA World Cup.
Park also scored the second penalty in the quarter-final shoot-out against Spain, which South Korea won 5–3.
The Korean was at it again in the next edition of the World Cup. He scored the equalising goal in the second Group G match against eventual finalists France and was voted Man of the match. Between these two World Cup finals, his shirt number shifted from 21 to 7, and he played in every fixture.
He then went on to captain the national side in the qualification stages of the World Cup in 2010 and was also their top scorer with 5 goals.
An ambassador of Korean football, Ji-sung Park is one of the most recognisable Asians in world football. No surprise, considering he's scored absolute peaches - like the one against Portugal in the World Cup of 2002. He makes our list of 40 Greatest Goals in World Cup History.Published 09 May 2018, 16:24 IST