Turkey took third place in a festival of football, a good curtain raiser for tomorrow's final and a fine finish to South Korea's participation as co-hosts. After the refereeing controversies of the last few days, all eyes were on the trio of officials who once again were from the smaller footballing nations. However this time football was allowed to reign, and the two sides provided the watching world with an open and exciting game between two nations who really wanted to win the match.
The third place play off has sometimes been a bit of a damp squid, with teams such as this year's finalists Brazil and Germany not really interested in the consolation prize. However both of these countries were in uncharted territory and treated the game with utmost importance, South Korea as it was a showpiece in their own country and Turkey to prove that they were now a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
And it was Senol Gunes' side who struck first with one of the fastest goals in World cup history to stun the 65,000 home crowd. The Turkish manager had to leave out his best player Hasan Sas through injury, but that allowed him to play Ilhan Mansiz up front alongside the off-form Hakan Sukur. South Korea played the ball back from the kick off, but veteran captain Hong Myung Bo was caught sleeping by Mansiz, and he stole the ball off him to set up Sukur for his first goal of the tournament with only eleven seconds on the clock.
South Korea came back though, and Lee Eul Yong levelled the scores with a well struck free kick ten minutes later. However their celebrations only lasted four minutes before Turkey re-established the lead, this time Sukur turning provider for Mansiz to force the ball in to the net. It was proving to be a lethal combination, and they repeated the act shortly before half time on another rapid breakaway, Mansiz chipping the keeper after Sukur touched the ball on.
Hiddink made changes at the break and the Asians came out bravely to try and turn the game around. But Rustu, despite carrying an injury, was up to everything, and made some great saves, including a finger tip stop from Song Chong Gug. Song did get his revenge in injury time though with a long strike which took a deflection to wrong foot the Turkish keeper. But there was no time left, and when the final whistle went the two sides joined hands to applaud the fans in a gesture of sportsmanship.
Spanish league players: Turkey's Nihat was once again a non-playing substitute.