Korea Glides By Canada 2:0 as Uzbekistan WCQ Looms

Cheonan Baekseok Stadium was the scene of a sparsely attended friendly (or quasi-freewheeling tuneup to the looming WCQ against Uzbekistan next Tuesday) where they breezed by Canada 2:0. Goals by Kim Bo-Kyung and Lee Jeong-Hyeop marked out a frenetic start against a B squad Canada struggling to get out of their half.  Canada were able to find some opportunities to comeback but overall weren’t able to find their footing to get back into the game.  There’s some takeaways from the match as Steilike rested key players with niggling injuries and tested out some fringe players plus some video recaps, stay with us, we’ll get to all that after the jump.

 

Yonhap
Yonhap

Canada and Korea haven’t faced each other since 2002, but their trajectories have been quite different paths.  This friendly served as a quasi tune up but really it was a fixture for the hard core KNT enthusiasts with debatable significance.  First, let’s get to the game itself, much speculation revolved about the starting XI as Jeonbuk’s Lee Jae-Sung, Crystal Palace’s Lee Chung-Yong and Spur’s Son Heung-Min (and Ki rested as well) were left out to recover from minor injuries (that or it was really an excuse to rest them before the Uzbekistan WCQ).  This is what Uli revealed before the match:

Hwang Hee-Chan was rumored to line up on the left, but instead a surprise start by Nam Tae-hee. Safe and conventional 4-2-3-1. Lee Jeong-Hyeob starting up top – again head scratching amongst analysts over what Uli still sees in the ex Busan striker.

Despite a ‘This looks like a “let’s just get through this and move on” kind of XI’ –quoting Jae on twitter, Canada weren’t able to contain Korea’s offense. This happened in the opening 10 minutes:

 

It took only 15 minutes to find the back of the net again, Canadian defenses can’t clear their lines and in the confusion, Lee Jeong-Hyeop knocks it in.

And we interrupt this twitter recap to bring this encouraging picture from the bench:

Cha has been signed on in an advisory capacity following the Iran WCQ loss in Tehran last month.

Back to the twitter recap: Canada attempts to come back get a bit close for comfort:

But that’s it for the half. 2nd half brings on subs subs and more subs for rotation sake:

Korea continued to make havoc in Canada’s half but no goals. Stielike brought on Hwang Hee-Chan – that’s when things got livelier. The RB Salzburg wide forward has lit up recently for his club, with several consecutive clutch goals in domestic and Europa League competition.  He did not disappoint, looked threatening every time he had the ball, stretched the compact Canadian, and made them sweat.  Several fine chances came Korea’s way with the extra Hwang Hee-Chan octane boost, particularly Yun Suk-Young combining with Hwang and Kim Bo-Kyung. Kimbo nearly got a double after a fine team effort to hunt for an emphatic finish, but the ball sailed just over the xbar.  Korea wasn’t ruthless or clinical enough to find the back of the net again.

FT Korea 2 : 0 Canada

 

What can we say about this – probably not able to come away with too much meaningful. Korea looked good, even flashy at times moving the ball around (i.e. Ji Dong-Won backheel – magnificent! Nam Tae-hee didn’t look too bad) -but with all due respect to Canada, perhaps against a jetlagged team with B listers, that probably wasn’t a surprise. Even Lee Jeong-Hyeob looked good (but again, back to Canada) though to be fair, this is an accurate reflection on the frequently maligned LJH on his outing today:

Jae mentions the frequent offsides -that and he wasn’t able to get on the end of some nice over the top balls to him -and missed latching onto a delicious cross to score on an open net. But, not a bad day at the office, with a goal to boot.

Kim Shin Wook- not much time in the 2nd half as a sub, the few touches I saw him execute were a bit awkward and fizzled out a Korean counterattack.

Anything else?  Not even Stielike had a lot to say:

“Today’s match was so good that I don’t even need to speak much about it,” Stielike said. “Of course, we had a couple of dangerous moments, especially from set pieces, but other than that, we dominated the match.” (postmatch conference from Yonhap).

[Did…did I hear a just chuckle out there in cyberspace?]

I suppose we move on with the crucial WCQ against Uzbekistan, Tuesday Nov 15 at 6am US EST/ 7pm Korea time.  Son, Ki, Lee Chung-Yong, Lee Jae-Sung all rested. Kimbo looked good today – might not be a bad idea to include him on Tuesday.  The Augsburg connection of Ki and Koo remain capable options. Park Joo-Ho and Yun Suk-Young weren’t bad at left back and Kim Chang-Su even looked threatening today (again Canada…). If everyone is healthy – let’s see how Uli shakes things out for the starting XI on Tuesday.

 

oh yes and there’s also the matter of the low attendance:

 

18k I believe? I’d imagine the Uzbekistan attendance will be better – but if not- might be a troubling barometer of things.

 

 

Extra time: I leave you with this interesting historical debate – did Korea actually invent a flying device hundreds of years before the Wright Bros?

Kim Dong-min thinks so. He heads Jinju Bicha Restoration Commitee which postulates a flying glider was invented and used when Japan invaded Korea in the Japanese Invasion in the late 1500’s. Here’s a link to a Yonhap news article on that.

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7 Comments

  1. I knew we’d win but was happy to see how free flowing we were. I mean it was against a second string Canadian side but ah well, was good to see nonetheless.

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