In world football, there are some matches that just mean more. Tomorrow afternoon in Lublin, we will get to watch one of those matches. Simply put, when Korea Republic faces Japan tomorrow in the Round of 16, both teams will put it all on the line. It’s just that heated of a rivalry match. One thing is for sure: this match will not be as boring or as heartbreaking as Saturday’s Champions League Final.
Will Chung Jungyong stop tinkering?
I hope so. All three group stage matches consisted of personnel and tactical changes. However, the final match against Argentina produced a comprehensive win. Chung Jungyong should realize that this is his best lineup and tactical setup and stick with it. Knockout football is not about tailoring your approach to each match; there is not enough time between matches to do this. Instead, he must realize that knockout football is about picking a tactical and personnel approach that works for the squad and moving forward as far as possible. You can make little tweaks in the match like all normal coaches do; you cannot make sweeping personnel and tactical changes for each match. With that being said, here’s the lineup from Friday with tactical arrows included:
Which Japanese players should we watch for?
None of them. I kid.
Let’s be real, this Japanese team did really well to advance to the Round of 16 and are not to be taken lightly. Especially against Mexico, they looked incredibly good. Here are FIFA’s highlights of that match, and all three goals are quite impressive:
If there is any Achilles heel that we must exploit, look no further than this tweet:
Our defense is not easy to break down and our best defensive tactic will be to frustrate them and block shooting angles.
One thing that I can guarantee in any Haniljeon is that there will be some shenanigans. Players will play up contact to get fouls, there will be some hard challenges, and there may also be a lot more arguments than your average match. To both sides unfortunately, a Haniljeon is a match all about pride. You can’t lose and you’ll do a lot to make sure you win. It has the potential to be the match of the Round of 16.
How’s the Bracket Looking?
We may have landed on the harder end of the bracket, but I cannot be sure about that until the France-United States match. If the US pulls off an upset over France, I actually think it would become possible for Korea to make the final. My pick for the final on the top half of the bracket is Colombia. In Korea 2 years ago, Venezuela had a breakout tournament and made a FIFA final for the first time. I think Colombia could continue that trend for sure. I will only pick Korea out of pride if France is eliminated tomorrow. If France advances, I still feel they are a strong favorite to win this tournament.
Korea Republic vs. Japan
Lublin Stadium, Lublin
11:30 AM EST, 12:30 AM KST (June 5)
Broadcast Info: KBS2, MBC, SBS (Korea), Fox Soccer Plus (US), FS2 Tape Delay 7:30 PM EST/9:30 PM EST
Prediction: I guessed right for Argentina so I’m going to try for 2 in a row. 2-0 Korea.
Let’s Get IT!
Comment Rules: Please be nice to other people, regardless of which nation they support and do not use any ethnic name-calling. I know this match is heated and personal, but let’s be nice to each other.