The final friendlies before the Asian Cup, Uli Stielike’s South Korean National Team packed their bags and traveled to the desert in Amman. There, a Jordan side await them, who are also Asian Cup-bound. Can Stielike’s squad bag a win on the road?
South Korea’s National Team has gone through a tumultuous last few months to say the least. A World Cup disaster led to the firing of a national legend, and the hiring of a virtually unknown manager – Uli Stielike. The German had a respectable first impression in South Korea, and now, the Korean National Team hopes to impress on the road, in a pair of friendlies against Jordan and Iran. And, with the Asian Cup right around the corner, these friendlies give eager fans the opportunity to see how far we can go against our continental opponents before the big tournament this January.
Stielike has vowed to “show attacking football to Korean fans” and took the positives from last month’s friendlies. He named Koo Ja-Cheol captain and said, “After his excellent performance (recently), I had no choice but to include him.” He also reiterated the fact that these friendlies allows him to see where the team is at with respect to other Asian nations.
This is a potential line-up of the team. A report said 4-3-3, which threw me off, but after re-reading the article and talking to some of the Tavern writers on twitter, it sounds like Korea’s 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation, the one we played for the World Cup.
In goal, Kim Jin-Hyeon has been rumored to start. I’d be curious if this means Kim Seung-Gyu gets the harder game, against Iran, or if Stielike wants to put Jung’s experience to the test against Iran. I actually expected Jung Sung-Ryong to start this game and one of Kim JH/Kim SG to start the other, since they’re both heading to Australia in all probability, but I got to go with the big news companies, and give KJH the start.
The back four is expected to be the one we have up there. Park Joo-Ho is a definite, as
he cannot play in the Iran game due to issues getting a visa, and the documents about his military exemption, which are apparently required by Iran, not being ready yet. Update Jae, jumping in here. It was announced today that Park Joo-ho has gotten clearance to play in the Iran game. The centre-back pairing could also be Jang Hyun-Soo and Kwak Tae-Hwi, if Stielike wishes to play the stronger CB pairing against Iran.
The remainder of the team is like the World Cup’s, with one notable exception. Son Heung-Min only participated in a light running session in training on Wednesday, and won’t play in the Jordan game due to fatigue and a minor injury. Update 2 Jae again, Lee Keun-ho’s participation in the Jordan game is in doubt after he pulled up in training with lower back pain. He was unable to continue to train with the group. Therefore, it is Kim Min-Woo earning a nod out left. The Sagan Tosu man has impressed in recent friendlies for Korea and in my opinion has done enough in Stielike’s eyes to earn a trip down under for the AC.
As is always the case with the KNT Previews, I could be terribly wrong in the team selection, but this is what seems to be the consensus for a best XI side against Jordan with the players that are available.
The Captain will be Koo Ja-Cheol.
Players to Watch
Park Chu-Young – The Al-Shabab striker’s call-up was controversial, both with netizens and the readers of this blog. After an abysmal World Cup, can Park Chu-Young show the form he once had for the KNT or has Park Chu-Young of days of yore left us forever? These friendlies will perhaps allow us to briefly assess where he’s at in his fitness and playing skill.
Lee Chung-Yong – The Bolton midfielder has been on lethal form after new gaffer Neil Lennon moved him into a central role for the Wanderers. Chungy is expected to remain out wide for the KNT, at least for these friendlies, but can he put his lackluster World Cup behind him and bring that Championship form to Amman?
Hong Jeong-Ho – Injured and benched for Augsburg this season, Hong Jeong-Ho has played a smaller role for his club side this season. Will he be rusty or sharp(ish) as usual?
The Oppo: Jordan
Jordan, nicknamed Al-Nashama (The Chivalrous in Arabic) is currently managed by Ray Wilkins, two time caretaker manager of Chelsea after stints in London for QPR and Fulham. He had an illustrious career, playing for Manchester United, Chelsea and Rangers, and was a pundit for Sky Sports for many years. Wilkins took over in September, and the team under him has been struggling.
Their result fixtures include a 2-0 loss to Uzbekistan, a 1 all draw with China, and a loss and a draw with Kuwait in two successive friendlies. It’s a long cry from Jordan’s incredible run to the Inter-Continental playoff (despite the fact that Uruguay stomped on them as expected).
Jordan’s team is composed of mostly domestic players, with a few scattered across the other Middle Eastern leagues. Their captain is Amer Deeb, a 34-year-old midfielder of Palestinian descent, who plays for Al-Wahdat. Abdallah Deeb (not related to Amer) and Hassan Abdel-Fattah are two of their most dangerous players, although I expect Jordan to sit back and park the bus, giving Korea a hard time as Asian minnows in the Middle East often do, and sometimes succeed in doing.
- South Korea is 4-1-8 this year in friendlies and the World Cup.
- The last pair of friendlies saw Korea beat Paraguay 2-0 but fall to Costa Rica 3-1 in Cheonan and in Seoul respectively.
- South Korea has never lost to Jordan, with two wins and two draws against Al-Nashama
- The South Korean team has an average of 30 caps per player.
- The last meeting between Korea and Jordan was in 2008, the 5th of September, in World Cup Qualifying South Africa. Korea won 1-0 thanks to a Lee Chung-Yong goal.
The Game Info
When: November 14th, 11:30pm KST, 9:30am EST
Where: King Abdullah Stadium, Amman, Jordan
How: SBS (Korea), No Official Broadcast (Rest of World)
P.S. – Korea’s National Women’s Team beat Guam 15-0 in the EAFF Cup Qualifying Round. Ji So-Yun had a brace – Jeon Ga-Eul had 4 goals. The next game for the ladies is against Hong Kong on Saturday, before concluding the qualifying round against Taiwan early next week. If they win the round, they will qualify for the big show next year against Japan, North Korea and China.
P.P.S – Camilo’s incredible volley goal with the Vancouver Whitecaps has been nominated for the Puskas Award. Now retired Lee Young-Pyo provided the assist to that memorable goal. Video up later but at the time of writing (1am) the bed is calling. Jalgayo!