The first group stage match for Korea is set for kick off in several hours. Ji So-Yun believes that her team can beat the heavy favorites. On the other hand, Brazil is determined to make amends for its loss at the 2007 Women’s World Cup. All of this has the makings of one the most important matches of the tournament. With that being said, let’s take a look at what we might be seeing in the battle uphill.
June 9th, 7 PM EST or June 10th, 8 AM KST
US Coverage: FOX Sports 1
Korea Coverage: MBC
After a surprising 0-0 draw against the heavily favored United States, it’s difficult for even the harshest critics to take notice of the threat Korea poses going into the tournament. One point that we can take note of is that Korea is a well-organized team that can effectively prevent the opponent from developing into a rhythm. The last game against the United States shows that it can now compete face to face against top-ranked teams, something it was unable to do in its last appearance in 2003. Ji So-Yun, one of the best players of the tournament, will be an important factor in how Korea will deal with its offensive and defensive game. Although there are cracks in both these areas, the Korea’s performance in the 2012 and 2014 editions of the Women’s U-20 World Cup give us reason to hope.
On the other hand, Brazil’s situation in terms of team play will play to Korea’s advantage because of their inconsistency against opponents of different levels. Although they have beaten Switzerland and Sweden in the past months, recent results also include two losses against Germany and two draws against China and the United States. Even with the likes of Marta and a coach who is credited for the development of Kaka and Rivaldo, 2015 has not been an outstanding year for the Brazil WNT.
Results by the U-20 Korea WNT also indicate that Brazil might have a difficult time sparring in their first group stage match. Korea’s 2-0 victory over Brazil in the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup was the reason why Brazil was knocked out early on in that tournament.
Prediction: A 1-0 win Korea. The match will be tight and both teams will effectively outplay each other in the first half. Korea, however, will manage to create more opportunities in the second half and take the three points in their group.
Tim here: Adding my two cents – I am expecting Korea to set up defensively, in two organized banks of four, and transition quickly through long balls to the physical figure of Park Eun-seon or have Ji So-yun run it up the pitch. I’ll predict a 0-0 draw, which would be a superb result for Korea and put them in a very good chance to advance automatically from the group. Of course a win against Brazil, as Jeremy predicted, would be sensational.