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By ESPN Staff

Ahn given World Cup boost

South Korea striker Ahn Jung-hwan, who has often delivered for his country on the biggest stage, has been offered a World Cup lifeline.

National coach Huh Jung-moo told local media the 33-year-old Ahn, whose goals helped sweep the Koreans to the 2002 World Cup semi-finals, could play a part at the 2010 finals.

Huh also said attacking midfielder Lee Chun-soo, another of South Korea's 2002 World Cup players, was also in his thinking and could make the squad for South Africa.

"Ahn Jung-hwan and Lee Chun-soo will not be ignored," Huh was quoted as saying in Thursday's Ilgan Sports. "They have much experience between them. The players are special assets to Korean football. They're players who can adjust and do their share of work even if they are called upon later.

Huh added: "They are still on the reserve list (for the World Cup)."

Ahn is best known for scoring the golden goal which knocked Italy out of the 2002 World Cup, prompting the president of his Italian club Perugia to threaten him with the sack.

An apology followed but Ahn, who has scored 17 goals in 68 appearances for South Korea, refused to return to Italy and has since had spells in Japan, France and Germany.

He currently plays for China's Dalian Shide but has been largely overlooked by his country since the 2006 World Cup, where he scored the winner in the 2-1 opening game win over Togo.

Lee, who has previously played for Real Sociedad and Feyenoord, plays for Saudi club Al-Nassr.

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