This won’t be a full, in-depth review, that will be saved for the next podcast (tentatively due out after the Russia game), but I will put a few thoughts up and some ratings.
Korean fans were treated to a slightly surprising 2-1 win for Korea over Switzerland at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Many, myself included, had predicted that this match would be one a bit too much for Hong’s group of improving, but still a work in progress, players. Switzerland have swept aside all comers lately, and figured to do the same here.
And for the first 10 minutes or so, that would seem to be the case. Korea struggled to get on the ball, with Switzerland easily winning the ball through high pressure, and some slack Korean passing. Things got worse when a defensive blunder gifted Kasami possession in the Korean half. He sped down the middle and fired a shot off from outside the box that Kim Seung-Gyu couldn’t quite get to, to make it 1-0. After that, things settled, and Korea started to see the ball quite a bit. But the team still didn’t look great. Lee Chung-Yong was having a solid game on the right, but wasn’t able to get anyone else on his level. Son Heung-Min was having an on/off night on the left. Kim Bo-Kyung was having trouble with the duo of Inler and Dzemaili. Kim Shin-Wook, drafted into the side, showed some moments, but possibly still doesn’t have the technical skills to really combine with the more fleet-footed attackers behind him.
So, the first half was largely one of nice moments with no real end product. Lee Chung-Yong, or occasionally Son Heung-Min, would have a nice combo with Lee Yong, Kim Jin-Su, or Kim Shin-Wook, to make space down wide, but then the final ball was poor or the pass took too long to come. Lee Yong in particular was wasteful with his chances.
The second half was brighter with the arrival of Lee Keun-Ho, who replaced Kim Bo-Kyung. Lee’s running off the ball and pace instantly helped. And it was he who had the first real chance, heading a Kim Shin-Wook cross which was parried over the bar. Korea leveled from the subsequent corner, when Hong Jeong-Ho’s run went unchecked and he headed home. The Swiss started to push more, but in the end it was Korea who scored. Again it was Lee Keun-Ho who was the spark, as his cross found Lee Chung-Yong at the far post. Lee outjumped the Swiss left back, Reto Ziegler, for the winner.
Kim Seung-Gyu 6.0 – Maybe could have done more for the goal, but was largely a spectator. Had a nice one-on-one save.
Lee Yong 5.0 – Quiet on defense, and poor on offensive. Had the poor pass that led to the Swiss goal.
Hong Jeong-Ho 6.5 – Nice night for Hong, who scored the tying goal. Largely untroubled on defense.
Kim Young-Gwon 6.0 – The new Asian champion had a quiet night.
Kim Jin-Su 6.0 – A solid night for the youngster who showed he might be the left back for the future. Also on the night that Lee Young-Pyo was commemorated.
Jang Hyun-Soo 5.0 – Played the whole match, but I can’t remember him doing anything except putting a header well off-target.
Ki Sung-Yueng 6.0 – Had some nice passes, but didn’t seem to gel well with Jang.
Lee Chung-Yong 7.0 – A wonderful headed goal for the winner, bright and tricky on the right wing.
Kim Bo-Kyung 5.5 – An off night for Kim, who really struggled in this one.
Son Heung-Min 6.0 – Mixed night for Son, who had some nice dribbling moments, but didn’t look very dangerous.
Kim Shin-Wook 6.5 – A nice night for Kim, who showed he can be useful.
Lee Keun-Ho 7.5 – I think a MOTM performance. Was it his arrival that sparked the team? I think so. His running and pace really troubled the Swiss defense, and he had a hand in both goals.
Nam Tae-Hee 6.0 – A return to the squad for Nam, who didn’t really do much in his short time on the pitch.
Yoon Il-Rok S.V. – A late sub, not much time to impress.
Hong Myeong-Bo 6.5 – The team seemed a bit lost in the first half, but his second half chances were largely sound. My only complaint, why did Jang Hyun-Soo stay on the whole match?
Will be on the pod. Stay tuned.