In Sports from United Press International

June 18, 2002 at 3:34 PM
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South Korea ousts Italy from World Cup

SEOUL, June 18 (UPI) -- The 2002 World Cup, filled with shocking results and controversial calls, had one of each Tuesday. They were both enormous.

For the first time in World Cup history, South Korea has advanced to the quarterfinals. For the second time in World Cup history, Italy has to go home having lost to a team from the Korean peninsula.

When Italy lost to North Korea in 1966, Italian fans were waiting at the airport to pelt the players with rotten tomatoes in one of the most famous incidents in the history of the sport. This time, the Italian fans will likely be raging at a referee from Ecuador who had to make a difficult decision in overtime Tuesday night and appeared to make the incorrect one.

"I don't understand why we had to become a victim of bad decision making," said Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni. "I think the winner should be Italy."

The end result Tuesday night, however, was a 2-1 South Korean victory over Italy in a tremendous match that took 116 minutes to decide -- ending when Jung Hwan Ahn, who had missed a penalty kick early in the game, blasted a shot past Gianlugi Buffon.

South Korea, therefore, was able to achieve what its co-hosting country could not. Earlier in the day, Japan fell to Turkey, 1-0.

Those outcomes brought an end to 19 consecutive days of soccer that saw the original field of 32 trimmed to eight.

After a two-day break, the World Cup will resume Friday with the first two quarterfinal matches -- the United States taking on Germany and England playing Brazil. On Saturday, Turkey will face Senegal and Spain will meet South Korea.

Not only are those quarterfinal pairings far different than what might have been expected, they feature only four teams from Europe. The World Cup format has undergone changes over the years, but on the 12 previous occasions in which a quarterfinal round was played, only once had there been as few as four European nations in action.

In 1970, when the tournament was held in Mexico, the Soviet Union, Italy, West Germany and England joined Uruguay, Mexico, Peru and eventual champion Brazil in the quarterfinals.

This World Cup has taken on the most international flavor in the event's 72-year history with all five of the regions represented when the tournament began May 31 having at least one team in the quarterfinals.

The advancement of Senegal to the quarterfinals was unexpected, Turkey making it this far was a mild surprise and the appearance of the United States among the final eight teams was a long way from the pre-World cup predictions.

In the land of the hosting nations, however, the most happy shock came when both Japan and South Korea made it past the group phase and into the second round.

Japan was given a reasonable chance of surviving against Turkey Tuesday, but the home team was unable to deal with the solid Turk defense.

South Korea, meanwhile, was the heavy underdog against the Italians, who have won the World Cup three times and have reached the championship game two other times.

Things appeared to be breaking Italy's way Tuesday night in Daejeon when Buffon stopped Ahn's penalty shot in the fourth minute and Christian Vieri scored in the 17th.

Once an Italian team takes the lead, it is usually all over. And it almost was.

But two minutes before the end of the match, Italy's Christian Panucci missed a chance to clear a cross and the ball fell to Ki-Hyeon Seol, who drove the shot past Buffon to amazingly tie the game.

Ten minutes into the extra time, referee Byron Moreno made the call that will make him infamous in Italy.

Francesco Totti stormed into the box to receive a pass and was challenged by Jin-chul Choi. Totti hit the ground and Moreno was forced to make a call -- either a penalty kick that would have almost certainly given Italy the victory or a dive by Totti, which would be his second yellow card and mean expulsion.

Moreno ruled that Totti went down on his own and he was sent off. It was a tough call, but replays indicated that Choi got a piece of Totti's leg.

The Italian coach was furious. He dashed to a small television set up near the coaching area and when he saw the replay, he pounded on the Plexiglas wall separating him from FIFA officials. One of those officials simply shrugged his shoulders.

The game went on with both goalkeepers making dazzling saves to keep things going.

Finally, with a penalty kick shootout looming, Buffon failed to move on a cross that he likely could have reached and Ahn had time to settle it and drive it home for the goal that touched off a nationwide celebration.

"Tonight, we are thinking just a little bit of celebrating," said South Korea's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink. "Tomorrow, we'll focus on Spain.

"What is happening is beyond my imagination. Such a celebration, but it will in a nice and peaceful way. It is very important to all the people and I enjoy watching them."

Despite his dismay about the call made in the penalty box, Trapattoni gave the opposition its due.

"It was a match full of emotions," Trapattoni said. "It was a beautiful game and Korea played with their heart. We should have ended the game earlier, but that's football. If one of the teams should have advanced, it should have been Italy."

In Miyagi, Turkey reached the quarterfinals for the first time on a goal from Umit Davala in the 12th minute.

Davala sent home a header off a corner kick by Yildiray Basturk.

"From the kickoff, we controlled the pace of the game against a very strong Japanese side," Turkey coach Senol Gunes said. "We scored early and we tried to pass the ball. I think we did a very good job."

Although Japan failed to advance, it made a major dent in the World Cup by winning its group.

"It is the end of an adventure. But we finished with a Japanese team which has a lot of spirit for the future," said Japan coach Philippe Troussier. "The Japanese players should believe in their potential and their ability to play. We have received the recognition of European football for our progress. We played among the best."

South Korea jolted by World Cup victory

SEOUL, June 18 (UPI) -- Downtown Seoul was awash with hundreds of thousands of red-clad South Korean soccer fans who danced, waved national flags and whooped their way through a spontaneous, chaotic parade late into Tuesday night to celebrate their country's victory over soccer superpower Italy.

When striker Ahn Jung-hwan scored the golden goal in the 117th minute on a pinpoint header, a sell-out crowd at a stadium in Daejon city, south of Seoul, and some 4.2 million soccer fans who were watching the game on giant television screens across the country erupted with joy and celebrated South Korea's 2-1 (overtime) triumph over Italy, a three-time World Cup champion.

Firecrackers illuminated the sky and confetti fluttered down as cheers and songs reverberated through the streets. Jubilant fans danced in circles, shouting "Dae Han Min Guk!" -- "Republic of Korea!" "Oh, Pilsung (victory) Korea!" Cars honked their horns to join in the celebration.

The stunning victory catapulted co-host South Korea against the odds into a quarterfinal match against Spain on Saturday. Shin Moon-son, a soccer analyst, described the victory as "one of the greatest upsets" in the 72-year history of the tournament. It was the first time South Korea has reached the quarterfinals in its 48-year World Cup history.

"We made history," said Cha Hyun-kyung, a 33-year-old college professor who watched the game on an outdoor television screen in downtown Seoul. "I am so proud of being a Korean. The victory would be one of the happiest moments in Korea's 5,000-year history."

An American woman from New York, clad in a red shirt -- the color worn by South Korea's fans -- said, "I was so surprised to see the country turned into a red sea of excitement." She noted that the cheering was exuberant but also orderly at the same time. The United States also advanced to the quarterfinals on Monday in an upset of Mexico's team.

A young South Korean man, whose face was painted to resemble the national flag, said the victory was achieved because players were encouraged by the government's decision to free them from the mandatory 26 months of military service.

Early in the day, the government endorsed a plan to exempt its World Cup squad from military service as a reward for advancing to the tournament's second round for the first time, despite the fact that the measure immediately sparked a controversy with a number of young people facing the draft opposing the privilege.

All eligible South Korean men must serve in the military for 26 months, a legacy of the long standoff with communist North Korea. The 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace treaty, and the two Koreas face each other across a heavily armed border.

Two elimination games in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb., June 18 (UPI) -- Georgia Tech (52-15), which opened the tournament with an 11-0 rout of South Carolina (54-17) last Friday, meets the Gamecocks again Tuesday afternoon. The loser goes home; the winner will play Clemson (54-15) on Wednesday night.

Stanford (46-17) posted a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame (50-17) last Saturday, and those two schools will play again Tuesday night. The winner faces Texas (55-15) on Thursday night.

Omaha native Kyle Bakker pitched eight scoreless innings and Georgia Tech pounded out 18 hits in its rout of South Carolina, but the Yellow Jackets were beaten by Clemson, 9-7, on Sunday.

South Carolina stayed alive on Sunday with a 10-8 victory over Nebraska as Yaron Peters hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Stanford's Jeremy Guthrie pitched a complete game, scattering 10 hits in the win over Notre Dame. Staked to an early 4-0 lead, Guthrie (13-1) walked one and struck out five. Javier Sanchez hit a three-run homer for the Fighting Irish.

Stanford followed the win with an 8-7 loss to Texas on Monday night. J.D. Reininger homered and drove in four runs for Texas.

Brian Stavisky hit a two-run homer to highlight a dramatic three-run ninth inning rally as Notre Dame eliminated Rice, 5-3, on Monday afternoon.

Sixers G McKie having shoulder surgery

PHILADELPHIA, June 18 (UPI) -- Philadelphia 76ers guard Aaron McKie, the 2001 Sixth Man of the Year, is undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

Dr. Gerry Williams is performing the procedure at Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia. Recovery time will be determined after the surgery.

McKie averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists per contest in 48 games this past season as Philadelphia (43-39) finished sixth in the Eastern Conference, and lost in five games in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics. He missed the first four games of the season after undergoing left ankle surgery, and later missed 23 games because of a sprained ankle.

The 29-year-old McKie averaged 11.6 points and 5.0 assists in 76 games in 2000-01, when the Sixers reached the NBA Finals, losing in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers.

McKie is the third Sixer to undergo surgery this offseason.

Forward Derrick Coleman had surgery on his left knee last week, and guard Speedy Claxton had his left shoulder operated on in May.

Stars get goalie Tugnutt from Columbus

DALLAS, June 18 (UPI) -- The Dallas Stars, opting not to re-sign two-time Vezina Trophy winner Ed Belfour, Tuesday acquired veteran goaltender Ron Tugnutt from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Stars also received a second-round pick, the 32nd overall selection, and sent the Blue Jackets a first-round pick, the 20th overall selection, in Saturday's NHL Draft.

Tugnutt, 34, appeared in 44 games with Columbus last season. He was 12-27-3 with a 2.85 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage with two shutouts. In 2000-01, he set an NHL record for the most wins by a goaltender on an expansion team with 22.

The 37-year-old Belfour has been the Stars' starting goaltender for the last five seasons, and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 1999. His age and asking price, in the neighborhood of $6 million annually, persuaded Dallas General Manager Doug Armstrong to let him seek a deal elsewhere.

Armstrong has also acquired Tugnutt to compete with Marty Turco, a backup the last two seasons with Dallas, for the starting job.

"Ron's a goaltender with almost 500 NHL games experience who will bring stability and a good partnership with Marty Turco to our organization," said Armstrong. "He strengthens our hockey club and will provide good competition for Marty for the No. 1 goaltending position."

Tugnutt, a 14-year veteran, has appeared in 495 NHL games, posting a 168-222-57 record with a 3.10 goals-against-average, an .894 save percentage, and 21 shutouts. Prior to joining the Blue Jackets, he finished the 1999-00 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and appeared in 11 playoff games, including a 70-save performance in a 2-1, five-overtime loss to Philadelphia in the second round, and ranked second with a 1.77 goals-against average.

The 5-11, 165-pound Tugnutt has also played with Quebec (1987-92), Edmonton (1992-93), Anaheim (1993-94), Montreal (1994-95) and Ottawa (1996-2000).

The deal gives the Blue Jackets two first-round picks: the third and 20th overall selections.

'Canes give Maurice long-term deal

RALEIGH, N.C., June 18 (UPI) -- After their surprising run to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals this year, the Carolina Hurricanes rewarded Coach Paul Maurice and his top assistants, Kevin McCarthy and Randy Ladouceur, to multi-year contracts.

Contract terms were not made public.

"Paul has done an outstanding job and is very deserving of this new contract," said Hurricanes Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Jim Rutherford. "His records over the last four seasons and in this season's playoffs prove that he is capable of leading our team for years to come. Randy and Kevin are important parts of that success as well and we feel confident that they will continue to help this team in reaching its ultimate goal."

The Hurricanes ranked 15th in points among the 16 playoff teams this season, but advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in the 23-year history of the franchise. They stunned the defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils in the first round, beat the Montreal Canadiens in the conference semifinals, and then dumped the Toronto Maple Leafs in the conference finals, winning each series in six games.

But after beating the mighty Detroit Red Wings in the opener of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Hurricanes lost the next four games.

The surprising postseason run put Maurice, who completed his seventh season as Hurricanes coach, in the national spotlight.

At age 35, he remains the league's youngest coach, despite now ranking first among coaches in tenure with the same club following the sudden retirement of Detroit's Scotty Bowman.

Maurice was hired as head coach of the Hartford on Nov. 6, 1995, but failed to make the playoffs in his first three seasons, compiling a record of 94-113-27.

But Rutherford stuck with Maurice after the franchise relocated to North Carolina, and the coach has produced a record of 144-123-53-8 and two Southeast Division titles in his last four seasons.

Maurice ranks first in franchise history in regular season wins (238), games coached (562) and playoff wins (17).

McCarthy just completed his 10th season with the franchise, including six as an assistant, after spending four years as coach of the Hurricanes' top American Hockey League affiliate.

Ladouceur played six-plus seasons with the Whalers, and has also served as an assistant for the last six years.

Spears to star in NASCAR film

LOS ANGELES, June 18 (UPI) -- NASCAR and pop star Britney Spears have signed an exclusive agreement to produce a feature film set in the world of Winston Cup racing.

The entitled project, currently in the development stage, will be written by Jim Hart, whose credits include "Hook" and "Contact." It will tell the fictional story of the daughter of

a NASCAR team owner, and will feature real NASCAR teams, drivers, tracks and competition.

Spears' character will inspire a former NASCAR driver to return to the circuit.

"One of NASCAR's objectives is to grow our sport by developing entertainment projects that introduce NASCAR drivers, teams, tracks and their sponsors to an ever-growing audience," said NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting Paul Brooks. "We have received numerous movie concepts set in the world of NASCAR, but chose this project because it is a great story that embraces our true, genuine sport as its backdrop. Britney Spears' involvement will help us reach an untapped fan base while serving our core fans with the authentic NASCAR experience."

Spears' first feature film, "Crossroads," was released this spring. The 20-year-old Kentwood, La., native also served as grand marshal at last year's Winston Cup Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

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