Women’s World Cup 2015: Korea on the edge + Kang Su-il 15 match ban uncontested [update 2.0]

The Korean women’s program made history -their first point earned in the Women’s World Cup over the weekend. Yet they are feeling undoubtedly frustrated as 3 full points slipped away at the last minute of regulation against Costa Rica. Settling instead for a heartbreaking 2-2 draw, we take stock with the situation thus far as the Taeguk Eujahs are still in it, and quite possibly on the verge of making further history [also: Kang Su-il doping match ban update, Men’s Taeguk Warriors World Cup Qualifier against Myanmar tomorrow, and a nice result for the U22 Korean Olympic squad yesterday, stay with us]…

Here’s Group E standing thus far:

 

GROUP E
TEAMS MP W D L GF GA +/- Pts
2 2 0 0 3 0 3 6
2 0 2 0 3 3 0 2
2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
2 0 1 1 2 4 -2 1

Had Korea kept the lead in Saturday’s match, they would’ve been right behind Brazil. Another perspective: take away 2 bad backpasses against Brazil, Korea would’ve gotten a point there and the entire tournament for Korea would be a far different affair.

The roadmap to advance from Group E looks like this for Team Korea:

  1. Korea must win against Spain in Ottawa
  2. Brazil has to beat Costa Rica in Moncton 

Both games will be playing simultaneously on Wednesday -still a tight 3 way race to vie for runner up status. Should Korea draw or lose against Spain, it’ll be packing for home time.

Tavern talking points

  • Physical aggression: I didn’t catch much of the 1st half (still looking for a way to see it) but for 55 minutes, I saw a more physical Korean side, not just nimble technical passing.  To get back on their game, that was a needed component -something that was missing vs USA and Brazil.
  • Still no Park Eun-Sun: 2nd game without her services – I’ve been trying to confirm that she’s injured. One Tavern goer informed us she that she is and in the recovering stage. Korea really need Park because…
  • Korea is still not converting their chances efficiently.  So many chances to score – only 2 goals against Costa Rica to show for it.  Captain Obvious (my other alter-ego) said live during the game that an insurance 3rd goal would just about do it to seal the win. It never happened, and against the run of form, Costa Rica made Korea pay for not taking advantage of several unforced errors on their half.
  • Passing out from the back: better against Costa Rica but still problematic.
  • The key is not just Ji So-Yun.  The Chelsea Ladies award winning player can’t win the game by herself.  How coach Yoon Deok-Yeo lines up the squad on Wednesday will be under scrutiny.
  • Korea has to continue to chin up: confidence is still key. Sure there’s rookie mistakes that come from such a young squad but there’s enough raw talent and potential for this team to slug their way to a historic first win. And with it – advancing to the Round of 16. If they don’t lose their composure, Korea can not only win – they could do what other Korean Women’s squads haven’t been able to do: make an indifferent Korean public pay attention.
  • Implications with winning: being real, no one is expecting Korea to win the Cup, but that’s not the point at the moment. Not only could winning just this one game get Korea into the Round of 16, it would get people’s attention. That’s no small feat -and much as the 2002 Korea World Cup squad launched a thousand dreams and inspired Koreans to go into football, so to could this squad be a vanguard for Korean girls who, for whatever societal/cultural reasons, may be discouraged from going into football.  No pressure, right?

But one winning goal can make a difference. Paul Caligari’s unheralded strike for the underdog US squad in a 1989 WCQ against Trinidad & Tobago was the subject of a Guardian piece which they claimed resurrected modern US soccer, a program left for dead in a country that hadn’t qualified for a World Cup for 40 years.  Worse yet, many in the US didn’t care. Without that goal, one wonders where US soccer would be today.

One last note on the Women’s World Cup: in group F, something strange is happening. France was expected to clean up the group with no problems. Instead, the #3 ranked team in the world is wondering what happened after falling to Colombia 2-0. France is now 3rd in the the group. They may still advance, but the group is wide open and in all sorts of wonderful disarray. One interesting possibility: should Korea win on Wednesday, as Group E runner ups, their Group F winners they might face include England and Colombia – teams that are decent but have enough vulnerabilities that could give bookies all sorts of headaches. But don’t count France out yet, they still have a decent chance to seal up the group despite the loss to Colombia.

Kang Su-il update on “moustache gate”:  just hours before what would’ve been his first match in a Taeguk Warriors uniform in last Thursday’s friendly with the UAE, Kang was pulled aside and told of the results of a random drug test, a test he didn’t pass. Methyltestosterone was discovered, which he blamed on a moustache growing cream that a friend lent him.  Facing a 15 match ban for his first violation, he had until the 18th to appeal the decision by open examination of a 2nd sample B – but today according to the AP, he decided to forgo the appeal, not submit the sample B and accept the match ban.

Here’s Jae with a bit more on what his action means:

 

The KNT has their first World Cup qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in (Russia?) – Tuesday they will clash with Myanmar. The match originally scheduled in Myanmar, will be held  at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand as a consequence for a previous breach of Myanmar induced fan behavior.

Myanmar v Korea     June 16 at 8am EST / 9pm Korea Time      Korea TV: JTBC

Note: in the US, there will now be an unique way to watch this legit – that is IF you have Apple TV.  JTBC is offered in the KOR TV app. It’s a pay channel – but costs seem minimal – and better yet, a free 7 day trial.  Don’t count on watching all KNT games there, JTBC don’t usually carry national games.

Stay tuned – there will be a proper preview for this fixture. Looks like Jinseok has the preview up: check it out here.  Korea won comfortably 3-0 against the UAE in a friendly last Thursday, but there are lingering questions as to Stielike’s call ups and notable omissions.

 

Extra Time:

Good result from a friendly for Korea’s U22 squad – they beat Tunisia 2:0.  Goals by Moon Chang-jin and a Tunisia Own Goal.  [This comes in the aftermath of a friendly 1:1 draw with France last week – Moon Chang-jin playing both hero and goat – his brilliant goal canceled out by his penalty miss in stoppage time that could’ve won it].

We don’t have much details for the Tunisia match. Here’s the sequences for the two goals from BSK poster Jitvera:

37′: Park In-hyeok steals the ball from opposition pass-miss and dribbles 20m on the left. Connects to Moon Chang-jin and he shoots from the left angle of the box and scores.

60′: Set-piece (corner), Moon Chang-jin crosses the ball and Tunisia defender scores own goal

Also Korea gave away a PK on 55′ but GK Kim Dong-jun saved the penalty.

The U22 squad will be the future 2016 U23 Olympic squad.  This could be a chance for the likes of Son Heung-Min to earn military exemption -should they manage to earn an Olympic medal.

 

Extra Time update: forgot to include this earlier, Park Ji-Sung was suddenly back in action yesterday for Manchester United in a fixture with Bayern Munich. Surprise!  Well, no he didn’t come out of retirement, instead participated in a “Legends are Back” benefit charity match. He probably was one of the younger retirees, but didn’t look too shabby in this exhibition. It appeared for a moment that Ji-Sung scored a goal, but in the replay, though he set the goal, it pinged around the box and Dwight Yorke credited with putting it away. He got 2 assists before being subbed out to make way for the other cache of Man U greats of the past.

 

Lastly: looks like the K-League All Star game [another not so good idea borrowed from the US] format is set:

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