Osieck defends claims of disrespect
A cultural gap as big as that in the rankings has emerged between Australia and Hong Kong with the local coach accusing Socceroos boss Holger Osieck of disrespecting his team.
Kim Pan Gon attributed his 172nd-ranked side's gutsy display in their 1-0 loss to the world No.33 Socceroos on Monday night to the anger they felt over Osieck's reported disrespect.
The German made local headlines on Monday with reports he had been dismissive of the lowly Hong Kong national team at a press conference the previous day.
"All the newspapers mentioned this today. All the Hong Kong citizens were not happy about it and myself also I was really unhappy about this," Kim said.
"Before we started the game I heard the news that Australia's coach was not respecting Hong Kong football.
"So I spoke to the players and told them to show them how important it is to respect anybody.
"So the players really wanted to show them how strong Hong Kong football is.
"So I am very happy tonight."
Hong Kong played with fierce determination in front of a rowdy home crowd at Mong Kok Stadium, holding an unconvincing Australian side to 0-0 until skipper Brett Emerton scored the winner in the 86th minute.
"I don't know where he (Osieck) is from but he should show respect to anybody," Kim said.
"When you play against a team and you don't respect them you may suffer.
"So today I hope he can learn something from this game."
Osieck was at a loss to explain how he may have caused such offence with a member of the local media later explaining it was more his attitude rather than what he said that rubbed the locals the wrong way.
"I'm not aware of anything like that because I never speak negatively about any opponents," a surprised Osieck said upon hearing of Kim's comments.
"In fact yesterday I said we respect every team we play and, I don't know, maybe somebody misunderstood it because that is definitely not what I have said."
With Australia set to face North Korea on Wednesday night Osieck was at pains to express how highly he thought of his upcoming opponents.
"They are a very strong team and it will be a very tough game," he said.
"And I hope my explanation is clear. I don't want to hear anything negative again from the other team's coach so I hope the translation will be fine."