KOREA vs. ITALY
Daejeon World Cup Stadium (Capacity: 42,176)
Daejeon, Korea - 8:30 p.m. local time
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Korea won Group D, posting wins over Poland andPortugal and drawing with the U.S. Italy struggled to a 1-1-1 record in Group G, and only clinched a place in the final 16 when Ecuador topped Croatia.
ITALY: Christian Vieri (3 goals), Alessandro Del Piero (1 goal)
KOREA: Ahn Jung Hwan, Park Ji Sung, Yoo Sang Chul, Hwang Sun Hong (1 goal)
A mismatch on paper, this could easily turn into one of the most exciting games of the first round. Italy was less than impressive in the first half, but are still stacked with talent. Korea played above themselves in the group phase, feeding off of their loyal - and loud - crowd.
Korea allowed only one goal in the first round (scored by Clint Mathis) and Italy only allowed three, so don't expect a shootout.
Nearly all of Italy's offense has come through giant striker Christian Vieri, who has scored three of Italy's four goals. How Korea contains him will be a key to the game.
After not playing in the second game, Alessandro Del Piero came off the bench to score a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Mexico in their final match of the first round. Don't be surprised if he has more of a role in this game.
Italian defender Alessandro Nesta is injured and is in doubt for the game.
Italy struggled in a 1-1 draw with Mexico, having a difficult time dealing with the Mexican's workrate. Korea is another team that will work hard for 90 minutes, putting their opponents under constant pressure. Guus Hiddink has turned the Koreans into fitness machines, and it saw them grab two wins and a draw in the group phase.
The Korean team will fight for each and every ball, and that approach frustrated Italy against Mexico. If this match comes down to heart and fight, it favors the Koreans. But if Italy can overcome the workrate of the Koreans, the individual skills of the Italians will shine.
2002 World Cup qualifying: Qualified as a host country
World Cup final appearances: 6 – 1954 (16th), 1986 (20th), 1990 (22nd), 1994 (20th), 1998 (30th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 0-10-4
Manager: Guus Hiddink (NED)
World Cup Roster
1-Lee Woon Jae, 2-Hyun Young Min, 3-Choi Sung Yong, 4-Choi Jin Cheul, 5-Kim Nam Il, 6-Yoo Sang Chul, 7-Kim Tae Young, 8-Choi Tae Uk, 9-Seol Ki Hyeon, 10-Lee Young Pyo, 11-Choi Yong Soo, 12-Kim Byung Ji, 13-Lee Eul Yong, 14-Lee Chun Soo, 15-Lee Min Sung, 16-Cha Doo Ri, 17-Yoon Jong Hwan, 18-Hwang Sun Hong, 19-Ahn Jung Hwan, 20-Hong Myung Bo 21-Park Ji Sung, 22-Song Chong Gug, 23-Choi Eun Sung
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won UEFA “Group 8” (6-0-2; 16 GF, 3 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 6-1-2
World Cup final appearances: 15 – 1934 (1st), 1938 (1st), 1950 (7th), 1954 (10th), 1962 (9th), 1966 (9th), 1970 (2nd), 1974 (10th), 1978 (4th), 1982 (1st), 1986 (12th), 1990 (3rd), 1994 (2nd), 1998 (5th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 38-12-16
Manager: Giovanni Trappatoni (ITA)
Championship Honors: 1968 European Cup champions; 1934, 1938 & 1982 World Cup champions
World Cup Roster
1-Gianluigi Buffon, 12-Christian Abbiati, 22-Francesco Toldo, 2-Christian Panucci, 3-Paolo Maldini, 4-Francesco Coco, 5-Fabio Cannavaro, 13-Alessandro Nesta, 15-Mark Iuliano, 23-Marco Materazzi, 6-Cristiano Zanetti, 8-Gennaro Gattuso, 11-Christaino Doni, 14-Luigi Di Biagio, 16-Angelo Di Livio, 17-Damiano Tommasi, 19-Gianluca Zambrotta, 7-Alessandro Del Piero, 9-Filippo Inzaghi, 10-Francesco Totti, 18-Marco Delvecchio, 20-Vincenzo Montella, 21-Christian Vieri
JAPAN vs. TURKEY
Miyagi Stadium (Capacity: 49,133)
Miyagi, Japan - 3:30 p.m. local time
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Japan finished at the top of Group H, posting two wins and a draw. Turkey went 1-1-1 in the opening round to finish second behind Brazil in Group C.
TURKEY: Hasan Sas (2), Bulent Korkmaz, Emre Belozoglu, Umit Davala (1 goal)
JAPAN: Junichi Inamoto (2), Hidetoshi Nakata, Hiroaki Morishima, Takayuki Suzuki (1 goal)
The co-hosts will have their hands full with a Turkey team that was a questionable penalty kick away from drawing with Brazil in their tournament opener.
Turkey has been led by Hasan Sas – who scored against Brazil and China – but surprisingly have not seen a goal from veteran Hakan Sukur. Turkish goalkeeper Rustu Recber has been one of the finest at the tournament, and his performance against Brazil is undoubtedly one of the finest goalkeeping performances in the tournament to date.
Japan is riding their home crowds and young talent as far as it will take them in this tournament. After an opening draw with Belgium, Japan posted back to back wins against Russia and Tunisia. Junichi Inamoto has been the toast of Japan and was one of the tournament's top players in the group phase. The duo of Shinji Ono and Hidetoshi Nakata has also caused problems for opponents defenses in the first round, even though they've only combined for one goal.
2002 World Cup qualifying: Qualified as co-host
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1998 (31st), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 0-3-0
Manager: Philippe Troussier (FRA)
Championship Honors: 1992 & 2000 Asian Cup champions
World Cup Roster
1-Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, 12-Seigo Narazaki, 23-Hitoshi Sogahata, 2-Yutaka Akita, 3-Naoki Matsuda, 4-Ryuzo Morioka, 6-Toshihiro Hattori, 16-Koji Nakata, 17-Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, 5-Junichi Inamoto,7-Hidetoshi Nakata, 8-Hiroaki Morishima, 14-Alessandro Santos, 15-Takashi Fukunishi, 18-Shinji Ono, 19-Mitsuo Ogasawara, 20-Tomokazu Myojin, 21-Kazuyuki Toda, 22-Daisuke Ichikawa, 9-Akinori Nishizawa, 10-Masashi Nakayama, 11-Takayuki Suzuki, 13-Atsushi Yanagisawa,
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 4” (6-1-3; 18 GF, 8 GA); defeated Austria in home-and-home playoff 5-0 on aggregate score.
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1954 (9th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 1-2-0
Manager: Senol Gunes (TUR)
World Cup Roster
1-Rustu Recber, 12-Omer Catkic, 23-Zafer Ozgultekin, 2-Emre Asik, 3-Bulent Korkmaz, 4-Fatih Akyel, 5-Alpay Ozalan, 16-Umit Ozat, 7-Okan Buruk, 8-Tugay Kerimoglu, 10-Yildiray Basturk, 13-Muzzy Izzet, 14-Tayfur Havutcu, 18-Ergun Penbe, 19-Abdullah Ercan, 20-Hakan Unsal, 21-Emre Belozoglu, 22-Umit Davala, 6-Arif Erdem, 9-Hakan Sukur, 11-Hasan Gokhan Sas, 15-Nihat Kahveci, 17-Ilhan Mansiz