Another “experimental” side sent out by Uli Stielike. Seemingly following the pattern he used last month, a “weaker” side against the smaller opponent and a (likely) stronger side against the bigger one in the second match. For the purpose of this analysis we’re going to focus primarily on the first half of the match. The second half featured many changes from both sides thus making an in-depth analysis slightly pointless.
As Roy said in his recap, the base formation was largely a 4-1-4-1. Han Kook-young sat deeper as a single pivot with a band of four in front of him consisting of Kim Min-woo, Nam Tae-hee, Cho Young-cheol, and Han Kyo-won. Park Chu-young played as the lone center forward. The backline consisted of Park Joo-ho, Kim Young-gwon, Hong Jeong-ho, and Cha Du-ri with Jung Sung-ryong in goal.
Kim Min-woo, Nam Tae-hee, and Cho Young-cheol were all fairly flexible with their positioning. One would often drop deeper to help Han Kook-young start attacks (usually Nam TH) and the other two would move to cover. Han Kyo-won was largely stationed purely on the right side, but would occasionally move up to play as a second center forward.
The above diagram broadly shows the game when Korea attacked and Jordan defended using ‘half-court’ play. Jordan dropped deep, making their four defenders compact in the center and dropping their wide midfielders alongside to help defend the flanks. The center midfielders also would drop deep to help guard the center. The two attackers would stay higher (but often still in their own half) to counter.
Korea pushed their players up in attack, but possibly mindful of their vulnerability on the counter they didn’t commit too many forward. One fullback, often Park Joo-ho, stayed a bit deeper than the other. Han Kook-young occasionally went forward, but usually not too far.
Compared to most recent games, Korea encountered a different sort of defense from Jordan. Most teams drop deep into two disciplined banks of four and wait for Korea to make a mistake then counter. Jordan employed a more aggressive man-marking system that often followed Korea’s attackers around the pitch (when inside the Jordan half). That left space behind the defense for Korea get into, and they often did.
In the above image you can see Jordan’s press in action. The yellow circle shows the ball, the blue circles. The red circle shows the space left open by the press. As said, Korea was often able to get the ball into those spaces, but Jordan’s press was effective enough to keep Korea from generating too many clear cut chances.
The above diagram shows Korea’s lone goal of the night. A 15 second counter attack. Park Joo-ho and Kim Min-woo combined to win the ball off the attacker. Kim MW passed to Nam Tae-hee in midfield who carried the ball forward into empty space. Nam then passed to the onrushing Cha Du-ri, who looked up and crossed to the unmarked Han Kyo-won who headed home. Below, you can see the sequence in images.
Korea rarely experienced any sustained pressure from Jordan, but it looked like the base formation to defend from was a 4-1-4-1. I’m not a huge fan of the 4-1-4-1 as a defensive formation because of the two big red circles on either side of Han Kook-young. In tactics talk they’re called the “half spaces” and are, in essence, the area of the pitch between the midfield and defensive lines as well as the wide and central players. More importantly they are the areas of the pitch where the opposition is often most dangerous in attack. Jordan’s poor tactical set up and lack of technique meant that they didn’t take advantage of the huge space available, but better teams could.
When Jordan did get the ball into Korea’s half, Korea did use a press to try and win the ball off them. Again, it wasn’t the most brilliant press, but it worked. It was applied individually to the ball carrier and any near passing options. Again, Jordan’s lack of technical ability and tactical structure didn’t help them, and Korea was often able to win the ball back quickly.Some Individual Thoughts
- Park Chu-young: Invariably it comes to him. Park had his moments in the build ups of a few moves, some nice flicks and such. But, in the end he only took one shot (which missed) in the whole game. For a center forward that’s not acceptable. People want to argue that his off the ball movement is okay, or that he has the nice passes every now and then, and I would accept that if he was creating chance after chance or really opening up space for others. However, he isn’t. It’s a bit unfair to an extent, but the modern center forward MUST contribute to both the build up and the finish. I’m not looking for him to be Messi or even Benzema level, but he’s got to offer more and be more involved in the game.
- Han Kook-young: I won’t come down to hard on him for this one because he clearly lacks the skill set to be a single pivot. Few in the world can play the role well at the senior international level. Han strikes me as a player who can fill a very specific role (I think I’ve said this before). When there is a high quality attacker on the pitch who needs to be marked and nullified as much as possible, Han fills that role well. But if the idea is for the holding midfielder to be more disciplined and positionally aware, other options need to be explored.
- Kim Young-gwon: Two more mental mistakes that almost got punished. I raised the question on Twitter, “how much longer are we going to think that this is something he can grow out of before we come to the decision that this is just his level?” Perhaps he needs to move to a higher quality league? We can only speculate, but the future doesn’t look to good considering Lippi is standing aside for Fabio Cannavaro. Cannavaro was an excellent defender, and perhaps he can pass on some knowledge to Kim, but his track record as a coach is unknown