Korea Republic plays Lebanon on November 13 at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in the capital of Lebanon, Beirut. This will be match day four for both teams and Korea’s last WCQ match in 2019. South Korea will look to end 2019 on a high note and secure all three points to remain at the top of Group H.
A predictable, but very reliable roster has been chosen by South Korea’s head coach, Paulo Bento. Key notes for November call ups are: Paik Seung Ho who has featured as a regular under Bento will serve with the U-22 team in preparation for Tokyo 2020. Ju Se Jong will be his backfill. Even though he is young, Lee Kang In seems to have what it takes to consistently be called up. Hong Chul and Park Jisoo have been ruled out to injury. Park Jooho and Jeong Seung Hyun are the reinforcements. Park Jooho is a veteran that will provide speed, finesse, and good defending on the left side. Jeong Seung Hyun will have a chance to prove that he belongs.
Lebanon currently sits third in Group H, but only 1 point away from South Korea and North Korea. They lost their first group match to North Korea, 2-0 and went on to defeat Sri Lanka and Turkmenistan. Lebanon is no different to how most Middle Eastern countries play South Korea. They will have 10 players behind the ball and will look to counter. Lebanon put together a respectable performance against North Korea. Their defense only broke down after North Korea blasted in a 24 yard bomb. Lebanon will look to rely on set pieces and break away opportunities. If they score first, they will defend with all 11 players and try to make it a difficult day for South Korea.
Predicted starting line up 4-4-2 that can transition into a 4-3-3
GK- Kim Seung Gyu: Its a toss up at the goal keeper position and I’m okay with that. Kim Seung Gyu will most likely get the nod, but wouldn’t be surprised at all to see either of the other two.
Defense- The back four will be Kim Jinsu, Kim Young Gwon, Kim Minjae, and Kim Moon Hwan. Bento will expect the two fullbacks to do their jobs and get up the pitch as fast as they can. Need a little bit more creativity and pace to break a “back ten”, so I think Kim Moon Hwan is the better choice over Lee Yong.
Midfield- Son Heung Min, Hwang In Beom, Jung Woo Yung, Lee Jae Sung. Son will start at the left, but play up high looking to get behind defenders. Hwang Inbeom and Jung Woo Yung will be trusted to support the back four, but more importantly distribute the ball. Lee Jae Sung or Kwon Chang Hoon will provide the versatility as a winger and a centremid. *
Forwards- Hwang Ui Jo and Hwang Hee Chan should lead the Taeguk Warriors up front. I’m predicting this duo not only, because they both have been in superb forms at their clubs, but also the best scenario to transition into a more offensive 4-3-3.
Subsitutes- Nam Tae Hee will be a early sub if Korea isn’t able to get anything going offensively. Kim Shin Wook will look to give Hwang Ui Jo or Hwang Hee Chan a breather in preparation for Brasil. We could see Lee Kang In or Na Sang Ho to relieve Son Heung Min as well. Hopefully, Park Jooho can make an appearance, but unlikely.
Predictions: Tactics and final Score
Bento will utilize the 4-4-2, because it is a reliable formation that has done us some good in the past and let’s face it, everyone is already looking at the next game against Brasil. I believe this is the formation that will serve Korea well against Brasil so Bento will look to strengthen the formation by using it on Lebanon. The team can quickly transition into a 4-3-3 if Lebanon’s defense is being more stubborn than expected. Son, Ui Jo, and Hwang Hee Chan can provide a three pronged attack. Backing them up will be Lee Jae Sung and Hwang In Beom to play higher up the pitch to create chances. Jung Woo Yung can be trusted as the lone CDM in front the back four, if needed.
Final score: 2-0 South Korea
I can’t see South Korea racking up goals like they did against Sri Lanka. Lebanon will be much tighter and more organized. Korea should still be able to hold a clean sheet unless something goes really wrong on a set piece. Fans will expect South Korea to come out professionally and get the job done at their last World Cup qualifier of the year.
Streaming Info: 10 PM KST, 8 AM EST. TVChosun/NaverTV. Free stream also available via this tweet from @FALebanon.