The South Korean World Cup squad and their Dutch manager Guus Hiddink have been awarded the country’s highest sports honour – the Blue Dragon medal.
South Korea had a spectacular World Cup, winning their group and defeating Italy and Spain en route to the semi-finals where they were narrowly defeated by a resilient German side.
Hiddink been coach since early 2001. He will become the first foreigner to receive the award and has been made an honorary citizen of South Korea. The Dutchman has also been given free flights for four years by Korean Air, free acsommodation on a resort island, and several cities have said they will erect statues of him and re-name streets and stadiums him his honour.
“Hiddink planted great joy and pride in Korean people’s minds andhelped Korea show its potential to the world” said a city government official.
The former coach of Real Madrid and the Netherlands is to leave South Korea at the end of the month and take up a new job in Europe, with PSV his likely destination.