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South Koreans celebrate more than bronze
by Paul Kennedy, August 10th, 2012 9:28PM

TAGS:  japan, olympics, south korea


[OLYMPIC BRONZE-MEDAL GAME] South Korea earned more than a bronze medal when it beat Japan, 2-0, Friday for its first medal ever in men's soccer. The medal meant its players will be exempt from military service back home -- a huge coup for European-based players like Park Chu Young, whose spectacular goal opened the scoring in Cardiff and who had been dropped from the full national team for trying to get around from serving by taking out residency in Monaco.

Park scored in the 38th minute after picking up the ball inside his own half and beating two defenders before firing a low shot past Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.

The goal might help revive the 28-year-old Park's career. He was signed by Arsenal from Monaco last summer but was a bust for the Gunners and is seeking a new club.

“I’m very happy to win the bronze medal and everybody here will now get a new chance by being exempted from military service,” said Park. “That’s what I’m really pleased about because that was our aim at the start of the tournament."

Park had been at the center of a controversy earlier this year when he obtained a resident visa in Monaco to delay military service.

He was dropped from the full national team for World Cup 2014 qualifying only to later pledge that he would serve, if necessary, in the military.

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