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[Newsmaker] Goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo, ‘Man of the Match’ against Germany

In South Korea’s surprise 2:0 win against Germany in the World Cup match on Wednesday, the most notable player was Korea’s goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo, who was made the Man of the Match by FIFA. 

Jo saved all six clean shoots by Germany, demonstrating quick reflexes with some astounding saves. Fans observed Jo must have “magnet hands.” German team made 10 other off target shoots.

“Congratulations, Jo Hyeon-woo, you have been admitted to the ‘Do You Know’ club,” “BREAKING- Jo Hyeon-woo joins ‘Do You Know’ club,” tweeted Korean soccer fans. 

Jo Hyeon-woo (FIFA)
Jo Hyeon-woo (FIFA)
Shoot attempts by Germany (FIFA)
Shoot attempts by Germany (FIFA)
A photo that came up on Twitter with the caption:
A photo that came up on Twitter with the caption: "Jo Hyeon-woo and the despairing German players" (Twitter)

The ‘Do You Know’ club refers to world-famous Korean sports and entertainment stars such as the “Gangnam Style” singer Psy, football phenomenon Park Ji-sung, figure skating Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu-na, Olympic curling medalist Kim Eun-jung and LA Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin.

The goals from Korea were made in the extended time. The first goal came from Kim Young-gwon on a corner kick and the second was tossed into the net by Son Heung-min in an unguarded goalpost, in the absence of German goalkeeper Neuer, who had been running in the game alongside his teammates in the final few minutes of injury time.

Shoots by Kim and Son saved Korea from the streak of losses it had suffered in games against Sweden and Mexico. But all this would have been impossible if Jo hadn’t saved six strong goal attempts by Germany.

Each time Jo made a save, shouts and screams burst out from Korean soccer fans who gathered to watch the game at pubs and at their apartments across the country.

International soccer fans took notice of Jo as well. A Japanese Twitter user suggested borrowing Jo in the match the next day, against Poland. In Mexico, fans put Jo’s face in the place of Jesus, calling Jo a holy saint of soccer.

Mexico fans make tributary image of Jo Hyeon-woo's face on Jesus' body (Twitter)
Mexico fans make tributary image of Jo Hyeon-woo's face on Jesus' body (Twitter)


On a lighter note, a rather unusual aspect of Jo also caught the popular attention of the fans.

“He’s got the hair wax commercial down,” wrote multiple fans who got mesmerized by the perfectly fixed hair and sunblock-covered white skin of Jo’s.

It wasn’t only the Korean fans who took notice of Jo’s style. On a Chinese portal, for a brief moment, the most searched for was: “Korean goalkeeper’s 90-minute perfect skin and hair.”

Jo, 26, is with the Daegu Football Club in Daegu, Korea. He debuted with the Daegu FC in 2013.

Local TV commentators for the Korea-Germany match joked that scouters should have set aside a fair amount of money in advance, if they want to sign on Jo.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (