SEOUL — French champion Olympique Lyon meets Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League tomorrow in the eight-team Peace Cup’s championship game at World Cup Stadium.
Both teams are unbeaten (1-0-2) in three Cup games and won their respective groups on a goal difference of one.
Lyon tied PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday in Suwon to play for the $2million prize money, and Tottenham reached the title game with a 1-1 tie against Spanish club Real Sociedad in Kwangju on Thursday.
For Lyon, the final is the team’s last tuneup before the new season. It flies home Monday to play a domestic cup game Wednesday, four days before the regular season kicks off.
“The best way to prepare for our season is to win games and win this one,” Lyon coach Gerard Houllier said. “It will require a lot of energy, but in the end this tournament will pay off.”
The championship game will be a chance for Tottenham, the youngest squad in the English Professional League, to gain needed experience and win some fans in Asia.
“Firstly, we came here for prestige and to prove our reputation,” Tottenham coach Martin Jol said. “We know there are a few English clubs very famous here, and we want to be one of them. Secondly, we want to improve our fitness.”
The match will pit Lyon’s Michael Essien — who is wanted by EPL power Chelsea — big Norwegian forward John Carew and former Arsenal striker Sylvain Wiltord against Tottenham’s high-priced lineup of Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe, Fredi Kanoute, Andy Reid, Michael Carrick and Egyptian ace Mido.
By knocking out PSV, Lyon helped ease the pain of losses to the Dutch club in the 2003 Peace Cup and this year’s Champions League quarterfinals. In the Champions League, the clubs traded 1-0 wins, but Lyon lost in the penalty shootout.
“Revenge is the last feeling that we have in our minds,” said Houllier, who is in his first year with Lyon. “I don’t think you become big and perform better when you play for revenge. It’s not a matter of who you play against; it is what you play for.”
Houllier knows Tottenham well. He previously coached EPL club Liverpool. He won five trophies but not the EPL title and was fired at the end of the 2003-2004 season.
The absence of PSV and star Korean defender Young-Pyo Lee likely will cut the crowd for the final in half. More than 62,000 watched PSV beat Korean club Seongnam in the tournament’s opening game July15, but Koreans generally do not flock to soccer games unless their national team’s stars are involved. The average crowd in the 13-team K-League is 11,552, and the best-drawing team is Incheon United with an average of 26,564.
The tournament is sponsored by the Sun Moon Soccer Foundation, founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon.