Northern Ireland v Korea Republic

Official Digital Matchday Programme of Northern Ireland v Korea Republic, Saturday 24th March 2018, Vauxhall International Challenge Match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.


P R I C E £ 4

Northern Ireland v Korea Republic Vauxhall International Challenge Match Saturday 24 March 2018 National Football Stadium At Windsor Park Kick-Off: 14.00



© 2018 adidas AG















Official Publication by Irish Football Association National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Donegall Avenue, Belfast, BT12 6LW Editor Nigel Tilson Director of Communications Neil Brittain Design and Print Minprint Ltd, 401 Castlereagh Road, Belfast, Co Down, BT5 6QP Tel: 028 9070 5205

Irish Football Association President David Martin Chief Executive Patrick Nelson Advertising Irish Football Association Pictures Press Eye

Cover photo: Stuart Dallas tussles for possession with Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka during the World Cup play-off second leg in Basel back in November Please note that the views in this programme do not necessarily reflect those of the Irish Football Association.




Michael O’Neill Manager

Shin Taeyong Head Coach

Michael McGovern Norwich City Trevor Carson Motherwell Conor Hazard Falkirk* Aaron Hughes Heart of Midlothian Gareth McAuley West Bromwich Albion Jonathan Evans West Bromwich Albion Craig Cathcart Watford Conor McLaughlin Millwall Lee Hodson Rangers

Kim Seunggyu Vissel Kobe Kim Jinhyeon Cerezo Osaka Cho Hyunwoo Daegu FC Kim Minwoo Sangju Sangmu Kim Minjae Jeonbuk Hyundai Kim Jinsu Jeonbuk Hyundai Yun Youngsun Sangju Sangmu Lee Yong Jeonbuk Hyundai Jang Hyunsoo Tokyo FC Choi Chulsoon Jeonbuk Hyundai Hong Jeongho Jeonbuk Hyundai Ki Sungyueng Swansea City Park Jooho Ulsan Hyundai Yeom Kihun Suwon Samsung Lee Jaesung Jeonbuk Hyundai Lee Changmin Jeju UTD Jung Wooyoung Vissel Kobe Kim Shinwook Jeonbuk Hyundai Son Heungmin Tottenham Hotspur Koo Jacheol Augsburg Kwon Changhoon Dijon

Patrick McNair Sunderland Jamal Lewis Norwich City Oliver Norwood Fulham** Corry Evans Blackburn Rovers

Shane Ferguson Millwall George Saville Millwall Jordan Jones Kilmarnock Josh Magennis Charlton Athletic Jamie Ward Cardiff City*** Conor Washington Queens Park Rangers Liam Boyce Burton Albion

Lee Keunho Gangwon FC Hwang Heechan Salzburg

*on loan from Celtic ** on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion *** on loan from Nottingham Forest

Pale Icy Blue / Dark Blue

Red and White



Bobby Madden SCO Graeme Stewart SCO Alastair Mather SCO Arnold Hunter NIR

Assistant Referee 1 Assistant Referee 2

Fourth Official




On behalf of the Irish Football Association it gives me great pleasure to welcome the players, officials and supporters of the Korea Republic to Northern Ireland and in particular to our National Football Stadium here in Belfast for this afternoon’s Vauxhall International Challenge Match.

This is the first occasion for the two countries to meet in an ‘A’ international and I hope that all our visitors enjoy their short stay in Northern Ireland. South Korea come to Belfast as a qualifying nation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals being hosted by Russia this summer. Ranked at 59 in the FIFA Coca-Cola World Rankings, and drawn with Germany, Mexico and Sweden in Group F at the World Cup, they represent a good challenge for Michael O’Neill and his players in what will be Northern Ireland’s last home game until the commencement of the UEFA Nations League in September. Our 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign brought great team performances, sold-out games, fantastic support, excitement and, finally, disappointment after that herculean effort against Switzerland in Basel. Recognising Michael’s significant contribution and also the overall development strategy of the association, the board offered him a four-year contract extension which was duly completed and signed early last month. In addition Michael has the role of Chief Football Officer with the association, ensuring stability and continuity going forward.

Moving on, today’s game against the Korea Republic (South Korea) effectively begins Northern Ireland’s preparations for our next challenge: to qualify for Euro 2020. Friendlies in Panama and Costa Rica during the early summer followed by four UEFA Nations League games and two further friendlies during the autumn will provide Michael, his backroom team and the senior players with nine internationals this year in advance of the Euro 2020 qualification groups commencing in March 2019. Support for the teamwas fantastic throughout the last qualifying series with a special atmosphere created in the National Stadium for all those evening matches. It is some time since we have played an afternoon match and we look to the supporters to continue providing their encouragement again today. Enjoy the game and have a safe journey home.. David J Martin President Irish Football Association




It’s hard to believe that it is over four months since we trudged off the sodden turf of Basel’s St Jakob’s Park, our World Cup dreams in tatters, but our heads held high after a stirring and spirited attempt to wrest the tie back from Switzerland.

Disappointment doesn’t start to describe the emotion we all felt that rainy night. It truly was a ‘so close and yet so far away’ moment. Who can ever forget the goal-line clearance in the 93rd minute? However that, of course, is now history. We are not heading to Russia for the World Cup, rather we must regroup and plan for our UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020 qualification campaigns. In the intervening period I have been delighted that the Irish FA has shown confidence and faith in me for the next few years and I am pleased that the work we have started and the momentum of success we have worked to achieve can be maintained over the forthcoming campaigns. The support of the players, backroom staff and the fans was and remains instrumental in all of this. We certainly have some unfinished business, and today sees the start of dealing with it. The match against the Korea Republic this afternoon and the two matches in May/June against Panama and Costa Rica will provide us with meaningful challenges as all three teams have qualified for this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia. Testing ourselves against such teams is vital as we plan and prepare for the Nations League matches

against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria in the autumn and the Euro 2020 qualifiers which begin in the spring of 2019. South Korea have superb players, both those we know such as Son of Tottenham and Ki of Swansea and some whom we will come to know better both today and during the World Cup. I have no doubt they will be formidable opponents. They are renowned for their never-say-die attitude and top class fitness. If we are not at the top of our game they will punish us and I will be making this clear to my team. Thanks to all those who have shown their support for me and the team over the past two campaigns. I will strive to maintain the progress and I know that the players – experienced and not so experienced – appreciate your support and are determined to repay it with success. The future starts today, and I believe it will be good. Thanks for your continued support. Michael O’Neill Northern Ireland Manager



Welcome to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park for today’s Vauxhall International Challenge match between Northern Ireland and Korea Republic.

This is the first of our nine scheduled senior men’s international matches this year, five of which are friendlies and four, of course, in the new UEFA Nations League. We are delighted we are at full capacity today, and I hope that any supporters who have bought tickets to see Northern Ireland for the first time enjoy the day and the special atmosphere. It is now almost five months since the Belfast- Basel double header against Switzerland which edged us out of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, and I think I speak for every Northern Ireland fan when I say that we have not forgotten, nor will we ever forget, the events of those few days. Places at the FIFA World Cup are places in history and should be decided by the skill and endeavour of one team over another, not by a refereeing error. However, as our captain Steven Davis said on the night in Basel, the campaign as a whole needs to be seen as a success. Coming second in the group to world champions Germany, who didn’t drop a single point, and then taking a Swiss team ranked 11th in the world literally to the last minute over two legs in the play- offs was an incredible feat for such a small nation - and we should be proud of our achievement. With the memories of the past two campaigns now safely locked away, and with Michael O’Neill set to lead us into the future having signed an extended contract, this is an exciting time.

No longer are we among the minnows of European football, and our place in UEFA’s new Nations League B is testament to this. We have been drawn against Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first edition of this new league competition, with a place in Nations League A up for grabs for the winners of our mini league. Tickets for our September and November home games in this competition go on sale for campaign card holders in April with general sales scheduled for June. Finally, it has been a very lively season on the domestic front, and at this point there is a real fight for the Danske Bank Premiership title with Crusaders in pole position and Coleraine right on their shoulder. The Tennent’s Irish Cup has also been box office, with the semi-finals coming up next weekend. Cliftonville and Coleraine are up against Bluefin Sport Championship sides Loughgall and Larne respectively, so at this point we could see any combination of heavyweights and fairytales in the final here on Saturday 5 May. Don’t let anyone tell you our football is boring! Enjoy the match today.

Patrick Nelson Chief Executive Irish Football Association


When you switch to Electric Ireland, you receive up to £50* and we donate £25 to your local football club, allowing them to fund things like: Club Game Changers

Water Bottle Carrier & 10 × Water Bottles

6 × Pack of Agility Hurdles

2 × Sets of Training Cones

3 × Training Balls

2 × Kit Bags

1 × Ball Net

1 × Training Ladder

20 × Training Bibs 10 10 To switch, visit

#GameChangers #GameChangers *Terms and Conditions Apply



As proud sponsors of the Northern Ireland team, Vauxhall are delighted to be backing the squad once again.

This afternoon’s fixture at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park sees the boys in green take on FIFA World Cup-bound Korea Republic (South Korea) in an intriguing international challenge match. After November’s heart-breaking play-off defeat by Switzerland, a first appearance at a FIFA World Cup since 1986 wasn’t to be this summer but it still promises to be an exciting year for Northern Ireland, especially following the news that Michael O’Neill has signed a contract extension. Not only did Michael lead the country to a first major tournament in 30 years at UEFA Euro 2016,

he has also been a big supporter of our work with the Northern Ireland team and we wish him every success in 2018 and in the years to come. The atmosphere throughout the World Cup qualifying campaign was incredible and we know the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park crowd can make the difference as the team attempt to make a winning start to 2018 against a talented South Korea team. #GetIN Join us on Twitter @VauxhallNI for matchday banter.



2018 WORLD CUP EUROPEAN QUALIFYING PLAY OFF 1st LEG 09.11.2017 National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast


















1 Sommer 2 Lichtsteiner 22 Schär 5 Akanji 13 Rodríguez 10 Xhaka 17 Zakaria 23 Shaqiri 15 Dzemaili 14 Zuber 9 Seferovic Substitutes 3 Lacroix 4 Elvedi 6 Lang 7 Embolo 8 Freuler 11 Fernandes 12 Hitz 16 Fernandes 18 Mehmedi 19 Gavranovic 20 Frei 21 Bürki

1 McGovern 2 McLaughlin 4 McAuley 5 Evans 11 Brunt 8 Davis 16 Norwood 13 Evans 21 Magennis 10 Lafferty 14 Dallas Substitutes 3 Ferguson 6 Hodson 7 Jones 9 Washington 12 Mannus 15 Lund

17 McNair 18 Hughes 19 Ward 20 Saville 22 McArdle 23 Carroll



Search ‘McDonald’s Football’ to find out more. 15 Years of Supporting Community Football


2018 WORLD CUP EUROPEAN QUALIFYING PLAY OFF 2nd LEG 12.11.2017 St. Jakob-Park, Basel Switzerland


















1 McGovern 18 Hughes 4 McAuley 5 Evans 11 Brunt 19 Ward 8 Davis 16 Norwood 20 Saville 14 Dallas 9 Washington Substitutes 2 McLaughlin 3 Ferguson 6 Hodson 7 Jones 10 Lafferty 12 Mannus 13 Paton 15 Lund 17 McNair 21 Magennis 22 McArdle 23 Carroll

1 Sommer 2 Lichtsteiner 22 Schär 5 Akanji 13 Rodríguez 17 Zakaria 10 Xhaka 23 Shaqiri 15 Dzemaili 14 Zuber 9 Seferovic Substitutes 3 Lacroix 4 Elvedi 6 Lang

7 Embolo 8 Freuler 11 Behrami 12 Hitz

16 Fernandes 18 Mehmedi 19 Gavranovic 20 Fernandes 21 Bürki



OfficialGovernmentTestEnvironmentalData. Fuel consumptionfiguresmpg (litres/100km) 47.1 (6.0), Extra-urban: 57.6 (4.9) – 62.8 (4.5), Combined: 52.3 (5.4) – 55.4 (5.1). CO 2 emissions: Model shown Grandland X Elite Nav 1.2i 130PS £26,660 with metallic paint (£565), black roof and mirror caps (£320), premium LED lights (£1,100) and to status. Ts&Cs apply. Applicants must be 18 or over. Finance by Vauxhall Finance, CF15 7YT. 24–60 month term. Offer applies to private individuals, on orders or registrations between 19December 2017 to 2 April 2018. # Fuel consumption information is official government environmental data, tested in driving style, road conditions and other non-technical factors. Correct at time of going to press. Vauxhall Motors Limited reserves the right to change,





and CO 2 emissions (g/km). Grandland X 1.2 (130PS) Turbo Start/Stop: Urban: 44.1 (6.4) – 124 – 117g/km. # roof rails (£150). Total cost £28,795. Available on selected models only, at participating Retailers. Conditional Sale. NoMinimum Deposit. Finance subject Vauxhall Partners and small businesses 1–24 vehicles (purchase only excluding B2B supported vehicles). All other customers are excluded. Offer available accordance with the relevant EU directive. Official EU-regulated test data is provided for comparison purposes and actual performance will depend on amend or withdraw this offer at any point in time.












Norwich City


Age 30

Caps 0

Goals 0

Age 20

Caps 0

Goals 0

Age 33

Caps 28

Goals 0

Age 29

Caps 33

Goals 2

*on loan from Celtic









Norwich City

West Bromwich Albion

Glasgow Rangers

Heart of Midlothian

Age 20

Caps 0

Goals 0

Age 30

Caps 67

Goals 2

Age 26

Caps 22

Goals 0

Age 38

Caps 109

Goals 1









West Bromwich Albion



Blackburn Rovers

Age 38

Caps 76

Goals 9

Age 26

Caps 31

Goals 1

Age 22

Caps 17

Goals 0

Age 27

Caps 44

Goals 1











Age 26

Caps 34

Goals 1

Age 23

Caps 1

Goals 0

Age 26

Caps 52

Goals 0

** on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion








Burton Albion

Charlton Athletic

Age 24

Caps 4

Goals 0

Age 26

Caps 10

Goals 1

Age 27

Caps 35

Goals 4




QPR Age 25 Club

Cardiff City***

Age 31

Caps 32

Goals 4

Caps 16

Goals 3

*** on loan from Nottingham Forest


Words Darren Fullerton, Daily Mirror


It was a nailed-on certainty that Niall McGinn would provide an intriguing sub plot for Northern Ireland's first ever friendly with the Korea Republic.

As the only Irishman ever to play in South Korea and a former Celtic team-mate of Ki Sungyueng, the Aberdeen winger was always going to feature in today's matchday programme. Let's be honest… it was a given.  Admittedly McGinn's recent seven-month stay in East Asia can be filed under I for ill-fated; he made only seven appearances for

Gwangju before terminating his contract in November. But the 30-year-old, who has hit the ground running with two goals and five assists in 12 games since rejoining former club Aberdeen in January, wouldn't change the experience for the world. He also made a new friend during his time in Korea – local interpreter 'Tim' – who recently




Domestic Abuse If you think you, or someone you know, is being abused contact the 24-hour domestic and sexual violence helpline:

Freephone 0808 802 1414 email: or text ‘ support ’ to 07797 805839 You will be believed. In an emergency always call the Police on 999 In a non-emergency contact the Police on 101


travelled to Pittodrie to see McGinn score in a 3-0 win over Hamilton. “I don't know his full Korean name, but he was Tim to me,” smiled McGinn. “He was a massive help and really looked after me. He was really a close friend to me. “He translated everything, from football, ordering food, dealing with bills and so on. If he hadn't been there, I'd have been a bit lost, so it was brilliant to have him as a mate.  “Tim was in Portugal recently and made the journey to Scotland to see me. He wanted to see me play and it was nice because he saw me score against Hamilton. It worked out perfectly.” When reflecting on his short stay in Korea, McGinn says he has no regrets on heading east. He insisted: “I don't regret it and all in all it was a great experience. When the opportunity came up last summer I was excited and thought 'why not?' “The football side of things didn't really work out and I was kind of playing catch-up from the start. I joined midway through their season, plus the team was bottom of the league and struggling. “But it was an exciting challenge and experiencing the facilities and playing in stadia that had been built for the 2002 World Cup was unbelievable.” Now that he’s back in Scotland, McGinn hopes to stay on the radar of Edinburgh-based Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill who recently signed a contract extension with the Irish FA. The former Celtic forward, who won the first of his 53 caps almost a decade ago, said: “If you're performing well for your club week in, week out it can only enhance your international chances. “Hopefully with me being back at Aberdeen, playing regular football and scoring a couple of goals, it can only help because competition for places in this Northern Ireland squad is stiff.” McGinn has had no problems reacquainting himself with Scottish football or Aberdeen where he spent five years before opting to leave for his short stay in the K-League. He also believes Pittodrie boss Derek McInnes can get the best out of him as he bids to stay in O'Neill's plans for the UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020 qualifying campaigns. He said: “I'm delighted to be back at Aberdeen. I know the city well and Scottish football well and I'm also with a manager I enjoy working under. “He's probably been the manager who has got the best out of me. He knows me as a player and it has been a period of my career I've enjoyed the most. “It was a no-brainer to come back and I couldn't have hoped for things to have gone so well since rejoining Aberdeen.”

Position Right Wing Date Of Birth 20.07.1987 Place Of Birth Dungannon


Height 183cm Weight 75kg




CLUBS Dungannon Swifts

42 31 28 37

Derry City


Brentford (loan)

Aberdeen Gwangju Aberdeen


7 7

Caps 53 Goals 3 INTERNATIONAL RECORD 7 SQUAD NO Debut 19.11.08 v Hungary (H) Lost 0-2

Northern Ireland U16 Northern Ireland U17 Northern Ireland U19 Northern Ireland U21 rt r Ir l 23 rt r Ir l B rt r Ir l

9 9 2 1 7 14 53


Words Marshall Gillespie


In today’s programme we take a look at Northern Ireland’s record in international friendly matches down the years.

The encounter with Korea Republic will be Northern Ireland’s 112th international challenge match. Their record to date is: P W D L F A Home 52 15 15 22 57 81 Away 51 10 16 25 39 90 Neutral 8 0 1 7 3 17 Total 111 25 32 54 99 188

The crowd of 16,893 which attended the challenge game versus Croatia in November 2016 was the biggest to see

a Northern Ireland friendly international at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park since 20,000 watched the 1-1 draw with Denmark in March 1986. Our scorer was the late great Alan McDonald who was winning the fourth of his 52 caps that evening.

Former manager Lawrie McMenemy gave Aaron Hughes his senior international debut exactly 20 years tomorrow when in his first match in charge of Northern Ireland. The boys in green defeated Slovakia 1-0 at home thanks to a 51st minute Steve Lomas strike. Aaron has since won 109 caps for his country… and counting!

One of the fastest, if not the fastest, goals ever scored in Belfast by a Northern Ireland player happened 30 years ago on 23 March 1988 when the Luton Town midfielder Danny Wilson scored a screamer after just 56 seconds of a 1-1 draw with Poland.

Not surprisingly Aaron Hughes - 37 games - has been involved in more friendly matches than any other member of the squad originally announced for today’s contest. Skipper Steven Davis is next with 30, while both Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty have played in 20 apiece.

The Korea Republic game will be Michael O’Neill’s 18th friendly as Northern Ireland boss. His record in the previous 17 matches is: P W D L F A Home 7 4 1 2 9 9 Away 9 0 4 5 1 12 Neutral 1 0 1 0 1 1 Total 17 4 6 7 11 22


The most goals Northern Ireland have ever scored in a friendly match is four, which has happened on two occasions. The first was in June 1966 when they defeated Mexico 4-1 in Belfast with goals from Billy Johnston, Alex Elder, Jimmy Nicholson and Billy Ferguson. In March 2008 Nigel Worthington’s side defeated

Northern Ireland have twice played friendly games away from home to crowds under 1000. The first was in March 2000 when they defeated Malta

Georgia by the same scoreline at Windsor Park with the goals coming from Kyle Lafferty (2), David Healy and Linfield striker Peter Thompson.

3-0 in Valletta in front of just 956 spectators. Then, in February 2002, Sammy McIlroy’s side lost 4-1 to Poland in Limassol in Cyprus watched by a crowd of just 221 - the lowest ever attendance at a senior Northern Ireland game home or away!

Northern Ireland’s 11 goals in friendly internationals during Michael O’Neill’s tenure have been scored by the following players: Kyle Lafferty 2 goals in 9 games Conor Washington 2 goals in 4 games Liam Boyce 1 goal in 4 games Craig Cathcart 1 goal in 9 games Stuart Dallas 1 goal in 7 games Steven Davis 1 goal in 15 games Shane Ferguson 1 goal in 12 games Will Grigg 1 goal in 6 games Martin Paterson 1 goal in 5 games

This afternoon’s encounter will be the 50th challenge match to be staged at the Windsor Park site since the Second World War. The previous 49 have seen Northern Ireland win 16, lose 19 and draw 14. A total of 55 goals have been scored with 62 conceded.

Five of Kyle Lafferty’s 20 international goals have been scored in friendly encounters, with four of them being notched at the National Stadium. The goals have been scored against: 1 v Finland (a) - 16.08.06 (won 2-1) 2 v Georgia (h) - 26.03.08 (won 4-1) 1 v Finland (h) - 15.08.12 (drew 3-3) 1 v Belarus (h) – 27.05.16 (won 3-0)



© 2017 adidas AG

Words William Campbell

THE VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE ENTERS THE FOOTBALL FRAY The future is here. The game will never be the same again. Rumours of football’s demise (as Mark Twain may have said) are rather exaggerated, but have been circulating through the corridors of power for more than 130 years.

Action from a match in 1890. The referee is on the sideline with the top hat and cane!

No doubt the chattering classes (if they existed in 1890) felt the end of the footballing world was nigh when the International Football Association Board approved what had become known as The Irishman’s Notion – the penalty kick brainchild of Milford goalkeeper William McCrum – at the AGM of 1891. A year earlier the proposal championed by IFA secretary John Reid was rejected because, according to the grandees of the FA, it was not necessary as ‘a gentleman would never deliberately kick another gentleman’. How times have changed! crossbars replaced the rope strung between two upright posts. Secondly, and perhaps even more revolutionary, the two umpires (one in each half), who reported to the referee who stood on the sidelines and to whom disputes were referred, moved outside the

pitch to become linesmen and the referee strode on to the pitch to take control of the action. This year, 127 years later, IFAB oversaw another revolution with the approval of the controversial VAR (Video Assistant Referee) scheme, and it’s going to be used in the World Cup Finals in Russia this summer. The idea of using a video referee to sort out controversial decisions has been on the cards for some time. Other sports have been swifter to embrace technological assistance for referees/ umpires. Both rugby codes, cricket, tennis and basketball all use technology of one kind or another. So why not use VARs in football? Naysayers (and that included myself) initially scoffed at the idea. Football is a non-stop, free flowing game without the natural breaks of other sports. Within seconds of a penalty call at one end the ball could be in the net at the other end.


VARs are here to stay...

yes there needs to be better communication and training of VARs and the match referees. But analysis of more than 800 live matches by a Belgian university shows a significant improvement in correct decisions being made by referees and an average of 90 seconds of additional time loss - much less than for throw-ins, for instance. The VAR is there to correct clear and obvious errors by referees and there are only four categories of match-changing decisions to be reviewed: goals; penalties (penalty or no penalty); red cards, and mistaken identity. Of course, nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. There is much work to do. The World Cup will be a huge test and FIFA are putting resource into training the VARs and referees so by June we should see the best available. Will everything go without difficulty? Probably not, and I don’t think we’ll be using VARs in Northern Ireland for some time yet. However, I think we should be expecting it at the highest level. No-one wants to be put out of the World Cup because of a bad penalty decision that possibly might be corrected by a VAR, do they? Anyway, I am sure William McCrum would have approved. Originators and innovators rarely want to rest on their laurels. Let’s embrace the future. William Campbell is a member of the IFAB Technical Sub-Committee

Surely there was no way that a system could be introduced which would allow the ebb and flow and not ruin our game with unnecessary delays? And yet, and yet, just as William McCrum had to face down his detractors, the IFAB Technical Director, former FIFA referee and Harrow House Master David Elleray, became the advocate, initiator and driving force behind the project. With the mission statement of ‘Minimum Interference - Maximum Benefit’, David alongside FIFA technical boffins and the technology providers has developed a workable process and a robust protocol spelling out how the system will work. Other associations had dabbled with the technology and the concept (particularly the KNVB in the Netherlands). Trial matches with the system working, but not live, were played and the lessons learned taken on board to refine and review the work. Expressions of interest from associations around the world were sought and workshops and seminars held across the globe in Zurich, London and New York. By the time IFAB considered the proposal some 40 associations were either actively using the system or considering doing so, from the Bundesliga to Serie A, in Australia and the MLS and latterly (and we all know about this from the media) in England. Yes, there are teething problems, yes at times there is confusion over what they are doing, and




Words Michael Church

In football terms nothing matters in the east Asian nation as much as qualifying for the World Cup and the country’s hopes of a ninth consecutive appearance at the game’s greatest event were growing increasingly slim. The influence of German coach Uli Stielike, who in January 2015 had steered the country to the final of the Asian Cup for the first time since 1988, was on the wane and South Korea’s grip on one of Asia’s four automatic berths at this summer’s tournament was weakening by the game. A loss at the hands of Qatar in Doha in June 2017 was the final straw for the former Real Madrid midfielder and Stielike was handed his cards, with Shin shuffled hurriedly into position. To some it was a brave move, to others it smacked of desperation. Shin, for all his success at club and youth level, had never led a senior national side. Suddenly he was being thrust into the high- pressure position of having to lift a demoralised side and guide them over the World Cup finish line. For Shin, though, the appointment was a logical progression. As a player he was a key part of the Ilhwa Chunma midfield that conquered South Korea and Asia in the mid-nineties, with six league titles and the Asian Club Championship crown in 1995. He represented South Korea at international level, playing 23 times for his country, including at the 1996 Asian Cup. He never, however, was selected for the World Cup finals. Shin moved into coaching in 2009, taking over his old club – now known as Seongnam Ilhwa – in 2010 on a full-time basis after working as caretaker. He guided them to the Asian title at the end of his first full season before eventually being When Shin Taeyong took hold of the rudder during the final, choppy phase of South Korea’s World Cup qualifying campaign in the middle of last year, he was given a solitary goal: secure qualification for Russia 2018. KOREA REPUBLIC THE COACH

appointed the head coach of Korea’s under-23 team in 2016. He steered them to the final of the Asian U23 Championship in Qatar in 2016, where they lost to bitter rivals Japan having earlier secured a place at the finals of the Olympic football tournament in Rio de Janeiro. And while Shin’s team exited the Olympic tournament at the group stage, he remained well enough respected within the Korean game to be the first person the federation turned to when, with just two qualifiers remaining, the country needed someone to come in and finish the job. A pair of draws – against Iran and Uzbekistan – were enough to secure the ticket for Russia and Shin has since built on that success, guiding his team to the East Asian Championship title in December, having brought an increased level of tactical flexibility to his side to enhance hopes Korea can once again advance to the World Cup’s knockout phase. “After taking the job the task was to take the country to the World Cup for a ninth time in a row and I put everything into making sure we could advance to the World Cup,” said Shin. “In October we went to Russia to play with our home-based players as the core of the squad and the results disappointed our fans. But in November we had more friendly matches and we didn’t lose, so my players are showing an improvement. “Then we won the East Asian Championship (in December) so I think the players have regained their confidence, not only the players but myself and the coaching staff. Everybody has regained confidence so that we can go to the World Cup with confidence in our minds and with better preparation.”



Words Michael Church

Son Heungmin will need no introduction to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park crowd after lighting up the Premier League this season with Tottenham Hotspur from his position on the left side of Mauricio Pochettino’s team. But while the 25-year-old shines regularly for Spurs, he has had less joy with the South Korea national team, where the weight of expectation often bears down heavily. Son made his debut for South Korea in late 2010 against Syria and scored his first goal against India at the Asian Cup finals in Qatar in early 2011. He has already represented South Korea at the World Cup when he was part of the squad that qualified for the 2014 finals before leading the team to the final of the Asian Cup in 2015, where they lost to Australia. Son’s talents were nurtured in the Bundesliga. He started his professional career with SV Hamburg before moving on to Bayer Leverkusen and eventually to Tottenham, who he joined in 2015. South Korea captain Ki Sungyeung sits at the heart of the midfield, often controlling the tempo of the team from his position in front of the defence. A graduate of the FC Seoul academy after spending his formative years in Australia, the 29-year-old has been a regular presence in the starting line-up throughout much of the last decade. Ki spent three seasons with FC Seoul and was named the Asian Young Player of the Year in 2009 before joining Scottish Premier League giants Celtic alongside compatriot Cha Duri. Three seasons spent at Celtic Park saw him win the Scottish Cup in 2011 and the Scottish Premier League title a year later before a move south to join Swansea City. Known for his long range shooting and his ability from dead ball situations, Ki also spent a season on loan with Sunderland in 2013-14 and is a veteran of two World Cups, playing for South Korea at the 2010 and 2014 finals. A willing runner with an eye for a telling pass and the occasional goal from his position either as a deep lying second striker or in the playmaker’s role, Koo Jacheol is often a key creative component in South Korea’s attack when they opt to keep the ball on the ground. Koo has represented South Korea at under-20 and under-23 level and was a member of the team that won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in London in 2012, a significant success for South Korea that earned all members of the squad an exemption from the country’s two-year compulsory military service. Koo started his career with Jeju United in South Korea’s domestic league before making the move to Germany in 2011 as a 21-year-old. Stints at Wolfsburg and SV Mainz brought mixed success and he is currently into his third full season with FC Augsburg. Koo was a member of South Korea’s World Cup squad in Brazil in 2014, and scored in the 4-2 loss against Algeria.




Tottenham Hotspur

Age Caps Goals 25 61 20



Age Caps Goals Club 29 97 10 Swansea City


Age Caps Goals Club 29 68 12 FC Augsburg


Standing at six feet six inches tall, Kim Shinwook is one of the most effective strikers in the Asian game. His physical presence sees him regularly terrorise defences playing for Jeonbuk Motors in both the K-League and the Asian Champions League, with the 29-year-old using his height to play a key role in twice becoming a winner of the continental club title. Kim claimed the first of those titles with Ulsan Hyundai in 2012 and was linked with a move to Blackburn Rovers before opting to remain in Korea. He has since moved on to Jeonbuk, joining the club in 2016, where he won the second of his Asian Champions League titles before claiming the first K-League crown of his career in 2017. Links up well for the national side with his club mate Lee Jaesung and has also forged an impressive partnership in the past with Lee Keunho during the pair’s time at Ulsan Hyundai. The influence of attacking midfielder Lee Jaesung has grown steadily over the past two seasons and the 25-year-old is now one of the most highly regarded players in South Korea’s domestic league. Lee’s threat from midfield – either from the wings or behind the striker – made him a key member of the Jeonbuk Motors team that won the Asian Champions League title in 2016 and the K-League crown last year. He was instrumental in South Korea winning the East Asian Championship in December, where he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and he has carried that form into the new year as he continues to shine for Jeonbuk both domestically and in continental competition. He has won three K-League titles with Jeonbuk – he was also part of the team’s title wins in 2014 and 2015 – and was the Most Valuable Player in the K-League in 2017 having previously been named the league’s best young player two years earlier.

Club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors MIDFIELDER LEE JAESUNG

Age Caps Goals 25 30 5



Club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Age Caps Goals 29 44 10

Now at the veteran stage of his career, Lee Keunho brings pace and guile from the flanks. A former winner of the Asian Player of the Year Award – he claimed the gong in 2012 due to his inspirational performances in Ulsan Hyundai’s successful Asian Champions League campaign – the 32-year-old is a well-travelled professional who has played in Japan and Qatar as well as in his native South Korea. Lee missed out on inclusion in the South Korea squad for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa but travelled to Brazil four years later and scored his first World Cup goal after coming on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Russia. Lee can operate either as a winger or as a second striker and has an impressive understanding with his former Ulsan Hyundai team-mate Kim Shinwook, with the pair highly adept at the ‘big man, little man’ routine.



Age Caps Goals Club 32 84 19 Gangwon FC

Originally from Larne, Michael Church is a Hong Kong-based freelance football writer who has covered the South Korea national team at the finals of four FIFA World Cups and six AFC Asian Cups. He currently writes for Reuters, and the South China Morning Post.


Words Michael Church


Few nations in Asian football have a record of sustained excellence that can compare with that of Korea Republic (South Korea) as the country prepares to embark on an Asian record 10th trip to the World Cup finals this summer.

in the Premier League for Tottenham, with games broadcast nationwide every week with an obsessive focus on the 25-year-old. But the country’s talent base extends far beyond the left boot of Son. Midfielder Ki Sungyeung, who is closing in on his 100th cap for South Korea, will be no stranger to avid watchers of the Scottish and English Premier Leagues after stints with Celtic and currently Swansea City. Germany-based playmaker Koo Jacheol has an eye for a clever pass, while Lee Jaesung is rapidly establishing himself as one of the most exciting talents in Asian football. Clubs from South Korea have dominated Asian continental competitions over the last three decades and seven members of Shin’s squad for the game in Belfast come from the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors club that won the country’s K-League title last season having captured the Asian Champions League in 2016. That was Jeonbuk’s second continental title in a decade and was one of six South Korean successes in the competition since 2003, including Shin’s title win with Seongnam Ilhwa in 2010. The national team, too, ranks consistently among Asia’s best. In December the South Koreans won the regional East Asian Championship, a tournament played against fellow World Cup qualifiers Japan as well as China and North Korea. But while the South Koreans have long been a dominant force in Asia, Shin knows there is a need to close the gap on the game’s upper tier in preparation for Russia 2018 and he is seeking to bring greater tactical flexibility to his team ahead of June. “I think South Korea is, little by little, getting better,” said Shin after his side clinched the East Asian Championship title with a 4-1 win over a second- string Japan.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heungmin and his team-mates are just the latest batch of South Korean players to book their tickets for the World Cup finals from a country that has a record of continued success at all levels within the Asian game since the mid-1980s. While Korea first qualified for the World Cup as far back as 1954 and were the winners of the continent’s first two regional championships, the Asian Cup, in 1956 and 1960, it has been since the dawn of the professional game on the peninsula that the country has stood at the pinnacle of Asian football. Professional football arrived in South Korea in 1984 and Shin Taeyong’s team follow in the footsteps of those who qualified for the World Cup in 1986 – led by two-time UEFA Cup winner Cha Bumkun – and have maintained an unbroken qualification record since. But the country’s record at the finals is patchy at best, with the high point the run to the semi-finals in 2002 on home soil – where they lost to Germany – before again reaching the knockout rounds in South Africa in 2010. The target once more this year is to advance from the group phase. They have been drawn to take on Germany as well as Sweden and Mexico in Russia, and coach Shin has been building steadily towards the World Cup kick-off over the last six months. Korean teams have a reputation for being robust, quick and direct with their players hard working, disciplined and with a strong fighting spirit. In recent years an increasing number of players have moved overseas to play in Europe and elsewhere around Asia. Five of Shin’s 23-man squad for their games in Europe this month – they are due to face Poland after taking on Northern Ireland – are currently attached to clubs in Europe and a further four play in Japan’s J-League. Son Heungmin is, not surprisingly, the poster boy for South Korean football given his exploits


HOMELESS TEAMS ARE SPECIAL GUESTS Northern Ireland’s men’s and women’s Homeless World Cup teams are special guests at this afternoon’s game. Both teams produced excellent performances at the eight-day tournament in Norway last September. The men’s squad made history by finishing 12th overall in the competition, which was their highest finish to date. The team qualified from the group stages and guaranteed a place in the last 16 with a hard fought 4-3 victory over Costa Rica in one of the best games of the tournament. And then another win over Ukraine put Northern Ireland into 12th position. The women’s team also made history as the first women’s team to represent Northern Ireland at the Homeless World Cup. Thanks to victories over USA and Belgium the squad also reached the last 16 of the tournament.

Despite defeats by the Republic of Ireland and Norway, Northern Ireland’s women exceeded all expectations and finished 16th overall. There were 50 countries represented at the 2017 competition. Brazil were the men’s champions and Mexico won the women’s final. Both Northern Ireland teams are run by Street Soccer NI who use the power of football to transform the lives of people who are homeless with support in housing, employability and other areas where they need help. The teams were supported in Norway by East Belfast Mission, Irish FA Foundation, Housing Executive, Belfast City Council, Simon Community NI, North Belfast Housing Association, Belfast Community Sports Development Network and USEL.

Proud Programme Partners

Committed to delivering outstanding print, display and cross media we offer our customers the very best in quality, design and creativity.

Get in touch, 028 9070 5205 or


Need quick print? Go Faster...







Online Price 1 Child : £20.00 2 Children* : £30.00 3 Children* : £40.00 4 Children* : £50.00 * from the same family

Book online at:


Words Heidi McAlpin


Honey Boyd leaps for joy.

Baby Katie Clarke; her dad John loves his footy and his daughter.

Deep within the bowels of social media platforms replete with GAWA bants, you’ll find an ongoing debate about what exactly constitutes a Northern Ireland Superfan.

Take Geoff Bannatyne, who confesses: “My sister no longer speaks to me as I chose San Marino away over my niece's wedding. I'd make the same decision again in a heartbeat.” Nice. Or what about Martin Lowry? He reveals: “My wife still isn't speaking to me after going to Switzerland two days after the birth of my wee girl Cassy.” Now that’s dedication. And while we’re on the subject of family v footy, John Clarke spent most of the Northern Ireland- Germany game checking his phone every two minutes as his wife was due to give birth that night.

Mere mention of the word superfan has many swearing at their screen (I know this because they type rude words in CAPITAL LETTERS), while others positively embrace the moniker with all manner of superfan shenanigans. In an attempt to unearth true GAWA DNA a call went out to see who could claim the inaugural Norn Iron Superfan title. Travelling fans with more airmiles than Judith Chalmers don’t count. It’s just luck they have supportive partners, bosses or bank managers. No, we’re talking Norn Iron devotees prepared to risk tattoo parlour pain, family disownment and their pet’s dignity to earn the coveted accolade.


One of William Hamilton’s ‘Norn Iron’ tattoos.

Andrew Davis’s tattoo

Beth Robinson is in there somewhere.

Speaking of abject pain in the name of our wee country, another proud wife alerts us to her husband’s ‘beyond the call of duty’ fandom. Take it away Danielle White: “My other half Mark was waiting on a hernia operation for nine months and by September 2017 it was made urgent.” OK… where’s this going? “He got a call to go in on the 4th of October and told the nurse it wouldn’t be possible as he had to go to Norway. The doctor asked was it a business trip and he said, ‘No, I’m going to watch Northern Ireland play in a World Cup qualifier’. The nurse was taken aback and asked him to get his priorities right.” Luckily, though, for our plucky supporter the good old NHS understood his dilemma and rescheduled the op. As Helen says: “He’s a true GAWA follower.” Hope the hernia’s sorted Mark. And, finally, no true football fan can resist the temptation to dress their child or pet in full footy regalia. Resistance is futile, so we leave you with ‘Keady’s Number One!’ golden retriever Honey Boyd and Lisa Robinson’s 10-year-old daughter Beth, both festooned in full green and white Superfan attire (see pictures on these pages). “Beth is Northern Ireland mad and never misses a home game,” says her loving mum. “This was her at the last home game lol.” Lol indeed. Are you OK in there Beth?

John explains: “My mum was at my home on standby to take my wife Laura to the Ulster if needed. “Good news,” he adds, clearly celebrating that life- changing moment when the wee one arrived. “I got to see the match... all the match.” Oh right. “Katie was born the very next day. Was close enough.” Of course, childbirth is a wee bit sore, but nothing screams agony like a gigantic tattoo. Nurse, the screens please… Tattoo Tale 1: Andrew ‘Smurfy’ Davis from Banbridge got an ‘Ulster Boys Making All The Noise’ tattoo two weeks before France. And so impressive was his inked calf that it made the pages of the Daily Mirror. Job well done Smurfy. Tattoo Tale 2: Helen Hamilton sent in pics of husband William's amazing inks. “They were done last year during the World Cup campaign,” explains Helen of her husband’s one true passion. “He was so keen to get it finished he went for twice weekly sittings.” Even the Mona Lisa didn’t pose for that long. William’s tattoo roll of honour is, says Helen, a collection of all things Norn Iron and it includes NIFC, Dare To Dream and the mighty George Best. “He's thinking about the other arm now, maybe a Jonathan Rea sleeve.” We’ll allow that William. Mind you, if there’s any justice in the world, the Superbike supremo should have a tattoo of William Hamilton. Seems only fair.


Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker