According to Lee (1999), sport was a means of constructing a modern, inde-pendent Korean nation steeped in a strong nationalistic ideology. Thus, soccer (and other sports) linked national pride and identity to national success. On June 19, 1947, the Korean Football Association (KFA) joined FIFA and gained entry into the Olympic qualification competition. Since then, South Korea has participated in 7 of 13 World Cup tournaments between 1954 and 2006. However, before 2002, its performance at the international level fell below national expectations, resulting in a revolving door of coaches. Indeed, one way of judging Korean soccer history is in terms of its crude treatment of its head coaches. From 1948 to the present, there have been at least 65 coaches with an average tenure of only 6 months, evidence of Korea’s obsession with success and their belief in the coach as the key factor.With few exceptions, every time the Korean soccer team lost an international match, the head coach had to resign regardless of any previous victories. For example, Jonghoan Park, who raised Korean expectations by getting to the semifinal in the World Junior FIFA soccer tournament, resigned after losing to Iran 6–2 at the 1996 Asian Cup. Other examples are coaches Hoitaeg Lee and Ho Kim, whose teams made the cut for the World Cup final selection but resigned after failing to reach the round of 16. Likewise, coach Jungmoo Hu, who helped the team to produce the best score to date in the Olympic final selection, was fired after the team failed to excel afterward. The fate of coach Bumgeun Cha is particularly noteworthy. Bumgeun Cha, who was regarded as the face of Korean soccer and led the team to the France World Cup final selection in 1998 with the best record in the team’s history, was forced to resign in shame in the middle of the tournament when the team lost to the Netherlands 5–0.
TheHiddinkSyndrome289Seven foreigners have been appointed as the head coach of the Korean soccer team since 1990, but none of them achieved the results of Guus Hiddink. Dettmar Cramer, who was Korea’s first foreign soccer coach, helped the team attain quali-fication in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for the first time in 28 years. However, due to ongoing disagreements with other coaching staff, Cramer was dismissed before the team went into the first round of the tournament. Another foreign coach, Anatoli Byshovets, who took charge of the Korean Olympic soccer team in 1995, did not have his contract renewed after failing to take the team to the quarterfinals of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Humberto Coelho, who inherited the job from Guus Hiddink, oversaw the team’s decline during the 2004 Asian Cup and 2005 World Cup qualification matches, including losses against Vietnam and Oman and a draw with the Maldives. As a result, he was dismissed at the end of his contract on April 19, 2005 (“Everyone Cried except Hiddink,” 2005, p. 20). Coelho’s place was soon filled by Jo Bonfrere, but his tenure was also short-lived and he was replaced by Dick Advocaat. The current head of the Korean soccer team is Pim Verbeek. The