YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Milutinovic's Job Done After China's 3-0 Loss

June 14, 2002|Grahame L. Jones

The Chinese won't have Bora Milutinovic to kick around with anymore, but the former national team coach of Mexico, Costa Rica, the United States, Nigeria and most recently China, isn't about to quit soccer just yet.

After China had ended its first World Cup campaign with a 3-0 loss to Turkey before 43,605 in Inchon, South Korea, on Thursday, "Milu," as he had become known to millions throughout China, said he would seek a sixth country to lead to the 2006 World Cup.

"Now I am finished with the Chinese team," Milutinovic said. "I was very happy to work with them. Now I need a rest and will see what is my future. If I retire, I am going to die."

Turkey's victory, after the disappointment of a close and controversial loss to Brazil and a tie with Costa Rica, put the Turks into the second round for the first time and sent tens of thousands of fans onto the streets of Ankara, Istanbul and other Turkish cities in celebration.

Defeating China was never going to be a problem for the Turks, however, and goals by forward Hasan Sas and defender Bulent Korkmaz in the first nine minutes made sure that Turkey did not slip up. Midfielder Umit Davala scored the third with five minutes left.

"We are very happy we kept our promise to the Turkish nation, first by qualifying for the World Cup finals and then qualifying for the second round," said Turkey's Coach Senol Gunes. "Today we got a deserved victory."

The Turks finished behind Brazil but ahead of Costa Rica on goal difference in Group C. China finished fourth, without a victory, a point or even a goal.

Milutinovic, whose brand of "happy soccer" changed the face of the game in China, was upbeat, however.

"Our team is very young," he said. "I am sure they have a future. It was good to make the first step to the finals. It would have been nice to have got the second step."

Los Angeles Times Articles