Finally, it rains goals

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

He kicks, he scores!

"Gooaaaaals!!!!!!"

Finally.

After true-blue soccer fans and the rest of us sat through back-to-back "nil-nil" yawners on the opening day of FIFA U-20 World Cup at Frank Clair Stadium, there was a veritable offensive explosion as play resumed last night.

Kum II Kim (but who else?) of North Korea kicked things off about 12 minutes into the first match of another double dip. Unfortunately, a traffic jam on the Queen Elizabeth Driveway prevented us from emerging from the stadium runway and into view of the pitch until about 12 minutes and three seconds of the tilt.

"Don't tell me," I said to the police officer wearing the cool shades and standing at the end of the ramp.

"Yup," he replied. "You missed it."

"I'm still gonna write what a beauty it was," I told him.

"I'll send a letter to the editor if you do," he said with a grin.

Okay, so instead I'll tell you about the hard, low kick with which the Czech Republic's Lubos Kalouda beat Korean 'keeper Kwang Min Ju (glove side) to tie the match. And the impressive tic-tac-toe between Petr Janda, Ondrej Kudela and Martin Fenin that gave the Czechs a 2-1 lead. And the tying goal, scored by Kwang Ik Jon, on the rebound of his own penalty kick (you can do that?) in the last minute (or so).

"It was a much more interesting game than the last game, against Argentina," Czech coach Miroslav Soukup said after the 2-2 draw.

No kidding. It was also prelude to something bigger and better in the evening's nightcap.

Yes, last night's action was much more interesting than the games played Saturday. Last night, you could even miss a goal and still have plenty of them to cheer or write about.

FOR KICKS: Korean coaches were clearly impressed by the Canada Day fireworks on the Hill. Word is Panama players preferred a different kind of entertainment. They found it at a well-known downtown establishment called Bare Fax ... The Czech U-20 footballers have their own Mach Nine. Martin Fenin exhibited some pretty fancy footwork throughout the first match, even before scoring his goal. His "celly" (celebration) was okay, too, although not quite on par with that of the Czech reporter sitting in the press box. He leapt right out of his seat ... As much as their fanaticism is to be admired, the Argentina fans might want to shut the hell up when the opposing team's anthem is being played before matches. It was like someone told them that about, oh, halfway through Panama's song last night.

PITCH SHOTS: Heading into the match, some people thought Panama could lose 10-0 to Argentina. A few minutes in, it looked like the beating could be worse. Argentina provided the best passing witnessed in these parts since Spezza to Alfredsson to Heatley. Particularly liked the set up from his knees Matias Sanchez gave Mauro Zarate on the second goal ... Korea's Kyong II Kim was seriously injured after he was pushed from behind by the Czech's Janda. It was his leg. Then his hip. Then his head. Clearly, a rotating pain. They're the worst. Just then, Kim was tapped on the tummy by a teammate. He started feeling better. He sat up. He untucked his shirt, using the bottom part to wipe his brow. Suddenly, he was good to go again! Modern medicine be dammed -- sometimes there's nothing like a pat on the belly to cure what ails a guy.

IN PARTING: Soukup had a chuckle when he was asked by a reporter, through an interpreter, what he thought of the penalty call that led to the kick on which Korea tied the match. "It's very hard to see penalties from the bench," he said. "We will check (film) in the hotel. I think it was a penalty. Sometimes different things happen in soccer. We don't complain." Still, that initial chuckle made you think the interpreter said something like: "The guy wants to know your take on that garbage call by the ref at the end of the game. How diplomatic do you want me to be?"


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