2014 World Cup: Korea vs. Belgium Player Ratings/Thoughts


“It’s not a good day to be a Korean”.  – KNT supporter

Korea’s last group stage game against Belgium marks the end of their time at the 2014 World Cup. In a few days, there will be many questions asked by the Korean press regarding the performances of players and most importantly, coach Hong Myung-Bo himself. We will cover this extensively here at the Tavern, but let’s take a look at the players’ individual performances.


1. Kim Seung-Gyu (5) – Did well to punch the Brazuca out of the penalty area during set pieces, although he wasn’t truly tested. Should have held on to the ball to prevent the rebound. A goal out of nothing.

2. Lee Yong (6) – Solid defensively, did well.

3. Kim Young-Gwon (6) – Several good tackles, his shot went well wide. Should have directed Ki’s free kick to the box, not elsewhere. Where the hell was he during the Algeria match?

4. Hong Jeong-Ho (5) – Did well, but out of position leading up to Belgium’s goal. Unnecessary yellow.

5. Yun-Suk Young (6) – Did well against Januzaj.

6. Lee-Chung-Yong (6) – Had a good shot testing Courtois. Struggled in the final third, needs more involvement.

7. Han-Kook-Young (6) – Solid performance.

8. Ki Sung-Yueng (8) – The most consistent on the pitch. A world-class player, deserves better than Swansea.

9. Son Heung-Min (6) – I wish HMB would not have subbed him out. Struggled in the final third, but he wasn’t the only one. Needs more support.

10. Koo Ja-Cheol (6) – Composed, but struggled in the final third.

11. Kim Shin-Wook (6) – His aerial presence helps but not nearly enough involvement as I had hoped to see.


1. Lee Keun-Ho (6) – Was lively and tried to get forward as much as possible. Performed admirably.

2. Kim-Bo Kyung (5) – Not enough of an impact.

3 Ji Dong-Won (NA) – Not enough time.

Hong Myung-Bo (3) – After an year of below average performances, I think it is safe to say that HMB is not ready for this type of job. He doesn’t have enough knowledge to fully bring out the potential of the players; although he has had limited time. I personally disagreed with some of his tactics and formations, and felt that he wanted his players adapt to them. However, I believe he can remain a valuable asset and serve as an inspiration to younger players that are stepping up for the future. Undoubtedly, he’s already doing that, and I will continue to look up to him as a man filled of charisma and inspiration. Hopefully, the next coach will appoint him as assistant manager. The problem doesn’t solely lie with Hong Myung-Bo or his players, it’s much bigger than that (will be covered in tomorrow’s hangout).

We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, but we leave empty handed. These inconsistencies must stop, as I can no longer watch a KNT match in fear. We must rebuild.

Stay tuned…

About Jeremy Paek 33 Articles
Korean footy fan/lover of life based in Los Angeles.


  1. Frankly, what are the expectations for KNT? Knockout? World Cup champs? Aside from first half against Algeria, I thought we competed decently. My only expectation is that we make the WC every 4 years and be part of the world soccer party and celebration. Just didn’t like that we barely squeaked in this past tourney. Whatever changes we make to make it through more comfortably next time, don’t want to wait 8 years to see us back there.

    • I’m assuming that the KFA was expecting a R of 16 finish for this World Cup. That didn’t happen, but it could be a blessing in disguise. The KNT can’t squeak through anymore, this type of competition is for the best of the best only. But like Roy said, 2014 will not define the Taeguk Warriors.

      • Word. the Benefit to their getting embarrassed is the possibility of meaningful improvements implemented, structural reforms, KFA reforms, commitment to redesigning the KLeague, and getting that done right, redoubling efforts to youth training,etc etc.

  2. All I can say is, thank goodness we changed goalies. I was tired of watching JSR as our goalie, zero ability and a half brain to go with it. Perhaps if Kim Seung Gyu could get more playing time and a better haircut, he could actually keep us in the game. Is he our goalie for the Asian Cup 2015?

    I was just as surprised that Hong put in the Wookie as a starter. I feel he did a much better than job than Park Chu Young. Wookie created more offense (but not much) and you could tell the Belgians had really no answer other than fouls and physicality for him. The Belgians did not play well the first half but they adjusted, like most teams. I feel deep down, that our coaches do not pick up the adjustments during the half and we get exposed.

    Keep the faith and never takes sides against the family.


    • Thing w/Wookie, he’s too easy to dispossess. When he got the ball, his lack of quickness/coordination compared to opponents would betray him. Sadly, he doesnt seem like an ultimate answer, it’s just…. we were so desperate for ANYTHING 🙁

  3. I definitely don’t think Hong should be an assistant manager. This man was not given the position to be an interim caretaker.

    It should either be stick with him until the Asian Cup and see how he does then or sack him now and forge a new route with an entirely new coach for the next 4 years.

    No in-between half measure that may cause more friction than anything else.

    • I heard David Moyes rumor to Galatasary, not sure if he’ll get that but maybe he’d want to coach KNT? Good enough for Sir Alex Ferguson..

      • Moyes? Lets be realistic shall we?

        We’d be EXTREMELY lucky right now if Senol was remotely interested in the job still.

  4. You guys keep saying Koo did well but for me, he was one of the most disappointing players of our tournament. I dont appreciate the way he handles the ball and uses the opponents as structural support….which usually results with him falling on the ground. We cant do much if he’s on the ground or dispossessed nearly the instant he touches the ball.

    He may be in the poorest form of his career, but talent wise, I dont have much hope for him.

    He was VERY poor this tournament and one of the main reasons the ball never got to PCY or the final third.

    • Agreed. His strength and balance has always been poor. When other elements of his game left him, he looked like some overmatched schoolboy playing amongst the big boys. Can’t remember an attacking player spending so much time stumbling and ending up on the deck.

      His playmaking is nonexistent. From everything I’ve heard his leadership is deserving of the armband, but if it were up to me Kim BK would be playing in that central playmaking role. And I don’t think much of him either.

  5. What a player that Son is. That pic above says everything to me. Ill take that positive away from this. I have a whole new respect for that kid now that wasnt there prior to this tournament.

    • Amen brother…you know the fire and talent are there. Son Heung Min just needs time to mature, grow, and develop.

      As far as Koo Ja Cheol goes, yes, felt he was very subpar. Kept losing the ball, no decisiveness, minimal creativity….not what I expect from a Team Captain.

      I feel like I am in Stage 5 of the Kubler-Ross scale of depression…..acceptance of a poor World Cup showing by Korea.

      • That mightve been the most tragic thing of all. He was actually CAPTAIN of this team. That pretty much sums it up right there.

        This team is uber young I get that. But like many are saying this was the weakest group of the tournament. But we finished DEAD LAST.

        i only hope this has the shock value it deserves and makes way for massive policy change. Let shake this up a bit.

          • Wasn’t surprised at all. Hong likes Koo just like he dislikes Park Joo Ho. He’s got his favorites and he’s not afraid to play them. He overly abused Ko Yo-Han and company in the friendlies last year when we knew they were crap… yet Hong has his favorites, and his Domestic Favorites XI got whooped last winter.

    • Meh, Son didn’t live up to his “sonsational” billing. Emotional yes, but ineffective. If you just look at results, he lost several chances and only ended up with 1 g. I like the kid but undeniably a poor showing.

    • Tho the #’s weren’t there 4 Son, I was impressed not just by his drive, but also sum individual possession skills. Especially the 1st 2 matches, he was sumtimes fending off like 3 guys quite ably, bodes well for 1-1 situations in future. Against Belg, yeah, not his best game, but hey, pobody’s nerfect 😉 I’m deffo optimistic when it comes to Son’s future

      Agreed on Koo, the falling & everything; not sure now y he was so well-regarded? I can’t say he really showed me anything impressive :/

  6. During this WC, there was no player that on the knt that impressed. All of them underperformed (except perhaps LKH w-1g-1a). Thus, it is unreasonable to blame any individual of the team’s performance. The team’s chemistry was not there. Getting stuck in the midfield and being dispossessed, not making good chances for offense, missing the few chances that did exist, losing control of our third and conceding goal. All we can do is learn from these mistakes and move on.

    • I just luv LKH’s energy, shame his finishing is just a bit off. 2 things from the Belg match stood out: that brilliant flick/redirect betw. his legs 4 an almost-goal (Aaagh!), & that piss-poor pass in Korea’s half that was intercepted by Belg & largely responsible 4 the goal.

      1 of SK’s great “what-if’s”: LKH never had 2 do military service, & he got picked up by sum Euro team. I detected its also a sore pt. on this site

  7. The Belgium match was very frustrating to watch. Yes, we know Asian teams are not the best in the final third. Yes, we know Korea has lapses in defending. But what I didn’t expect through the tournament was the organization, tactics and players to be soooo underwhelming.

    If the goal posts were set on the sidelines, Korea would win the WC. I’ve never seen so much side to side movement with no development in offensive play. Korea doesn’t have the playmaker others have, but you would expect some sort of flow or movement and get the ball in the box.

    Positive is that Korea has some good young players to build around and the next WC will be their place to shine. So when does the 2018 qualifiers start?

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