There was spirit, there was a certain sense of structure, and there wasn’t a lack of passion, but there were two poor backpasses that led to the demise of Korea’s gameplan and a victory for the Brazilians in Korea’s first Women’s World Cup encounter.
— 대한축구협회(KFA) (@theKFA) June 9, 2015
— Taeguk Warriors (@taeguk_warrior) June 9, 2015
The First Half
Korea settled in quickly, and despite an early Brazilian half chance (a long range shot crashing off of the bar, through Kim Jung-mi had it covered), the Koreans were the ones making the most noise early on. Counter-attacking quickly in numbers, the ball eventually found Yoo Young-a in the fifth minute, and the striker was brought down by a rash kick on her shins by Brazilian Formiga. The referee, however, wanted nothing to do with it. Replays showed it was a pretty clear penalty and the Koreans were not happy.
Over the next 25 minutes, Brazil finally settled in. Their midfield triangle dominated and Korea did not make much use of their possession. However, the Korean centre-backs snuffed out any chances and the Brazilian wingers, Andressa and the ever-dangerous Marta. Brazil’s chances were few and far between and were long range as well. This only increased the frustration of Korean supporters when Incheon Hyundai centerback Kim Do-yeon underhit a backpass to goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi. Formiga pounced on the opportunity and slot the shot underneath a taken aback Kim. Right place, right time, an unforced error and Brazil took the lead.
This was detrimental to Korea’s entire game plan. Much like China against Canada on Saturday, the Koreans set up to defend a try to grind out a 0-0 draw. The Koreans had prior experience in doing this as well, setting up in two solid banks of four against the Americans and holding them to a draw on their own turf. I mean grass. Hehe.
At halftime, the tale of the tape was this: a bright Korean start, and resolute defending when Brazil took the bull by the horns, but Brazil seized their only opportunity.
The Second Half
If Yoon Deok-yeo was supposed to send out the team motivated and ready to get the goal back to start the second half, he failed miserably. Halftime came and went and the tempo of the game was the same. Korea wasted their little possession, Ji So-yun in particular being stifled, marked and forced into uncharacteristic mistakes. 2 minutes after veteran netminder Kim Jungmi made a finger-tips save after Kim Hye-ri was caught over committing, Ji So-yun strolled with the ball into her own penalty box and delivered a poor pass in a dangerous position to Cho So-hyun. The Korean captain, Cho, was forced to bring down the omnipresent Formiga, resulting in a Brazilian penalty. Marta took the spot kick and scored, making her the top scorer in Women’s World Cup history, and making this game 2-0 for the South Americans.
The Koreans seemed to open up more after, and certainly press for an opening goal. Combined with Brazil’s defense carrying themselves with a certain complacency and nonchalance, there were a few chances for Korea to take. Notably, you could see what Ji So-yun can really do in transition and on top of the box. She was the most reliable Korean playing going forward in this passage of play. The earlier, “play not to lose” tactic certainly did not suit her skill set and despite her efforts, Korea would have no goals to show for their late surge.
Final score: Brazil 2, South Korea 0. Next up for Korea is Costa Rica. With no points gained in their first match in Montreal, they will need to leave La Belle Province Saturday evening with 3 points in their bags if they are to hope for a Round of 16 place. The Costa Ricans drew Spain in the earlier match. The Central Americans are most certainly not to be underestimated.
Roy will put up a post with his analysis later, but for now, Jalgayo from the TSQ…