International Friendly: Korea @ Jordan (11/14)

The final friendlies before the Asian Cup, Uli Stielike’s South Korean National Team packed their bags and traveled to the desert in Amman. There, a Jordan side await them, who are also Asian Cup-bound. Can Stielike’s squad bag a win on the road?

South Korea’s National Team has gone through a tumultuous last few months to say the least. A World Cup disaster led to the firing of a national legend, and the hiring of a virtually unknown manager – Uli Stielike. The German had a respectable first impression in South Korea, and now, the Korean National Team hopes to impress on the road, in a pair of friendlies against Jordan and Iran. And, with the Asian Cup right around the corner, these friendlies give eager fans the opportunity to see how far we can go against our continental opponents before the big tournament this January.

Stielike has vowed to “show attacking football to Korean fans” and took the positives from last month’s friendlies. He named Koo Ja-Cheol captain and said, “After his excellent performance (recently), I had no choice but to include him.” He also reiterated the fact that these friendlies allows him to see where the team is at with respect to other Asian nations.

The Team

This is a potential line-up of the team. A report said 4-3-3, which threw me off, but after re-reading the article and talking to some of the Tavern writers on twitter, it sounds like Korea’s 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation, the one we played for the World Cup.

In goal, Kim Jin-Hyeon has been rumored to start. I’d be curious if this means Kim Seung-Gyu gets the harder game, against Iran, or if Stielike wants to put Jung’s experience to the test against Iran. I actually expected Jung Sung-Ryong to start this game and one of Kim JH/Kim SG to start the other, since they’re both heading to Australia in all probability, but I got to go with the big news companies, and give KJH the start.

The back four is expected to be the one we have up there. Park Joo-Ho is a definite, as he cannot play in the Iran game due to issues getting a visa, and the documents about his military exemption, which are apparently required by Iran, not being ready yet. Update Jae, jumping in here. It was announced today that Park Joo-ho has gotten clearance to play in the Iran game. The centre-back pairing could also be Jang Hyun-Soo and Kwak Tae-Hwi, if Stielike wishes to play the stronger CB pairing against Iran.

The remainder of the team is like the World Cup’s, with one notable exception. Son Heung-Min only participated in a light running session in training on Wednesday, and won’t play in the Jordan game due to fatigue and a minor injury. Update 2 Jae again, Lee Keun-ho’s participation in the Jordan game is in doubt after he pulled up in training with lower back pain. He was unable to continue to train with the group. Therefore, it is Kim Min-Woo earning a nod out left. The Sagan Tosu man has impressed in recent friendlies for Korea and in my opinion has done enough in Stielike’s eyes to earn a trip down under for the AC.

As is always the case with the KNT Previews, I could be terribly wrong in the team selection, but this is what seems to be the consensus for a best XI side against Jordan with the players that are available.

The Captain will be Koo Ja-Cheol.

Players to Watch
Park Chu-Young – The Al-Shabab striker’s call-up was controversial, both with netizens and the readers of this blog. After an abysmal World Cup, can Park Chu-Young show the form he once had for the KNT or has Park Chu-Young of days of yore left us forever? These friendlies will perhaps allow us to briefly assess where he’s at in his fitness and playing skill.

Lee Chung-Yong – The Bolton midfielder has been on lethal form after new gaffer Neil Lennon moved him into a central role for the Wanderers. Chungy is expected to remain out wide for the KNT, at least for these friendlies, but can he put his lackluster World Cup behind him and bring that Championship form to Amman?

Hong Jeong-Ho – Injured and benched for Augsburg this season, Hong Jeong-Ho has played a smaller role for his club side this season. Will he be rusty or sharp(ish) as usual?

The Oppo: Jordan

The Jordan FA logo.

Jordan, nicknamed Al-Nashama (The Chivalrous in Arabic) is currently managed by Ray Wilkins, two time caretaker manager of Chelsea after stints in London for QPR and Fulham. He had an illustrious career, playing for Manchester United, Chelsea and Rangers, and was a pundit for Sky Sports for many years. Wilkins took over in September, and the team under him has been struggling.

Their result fixtures include a 2-0 loss to Uzbekistan, a 1 all draw with China, and a loss and a draw with Kuwait in two successive friendlies. It’s a long cry from Jordan’s incredible run to the Inter-Continental playoff (despite the fact that Uruguay stomped on them as expected).

Jordan’s team is composed of mostly domestic players, with a few scattered across the other Middle Eastern leagues. Their captain is Amer Deeb, a 34-year-old midfielder of Palestinian descent, who plays for Al-Wahdat. Abdallah Deeb (not related to Amer) and Hassan Abdel-Fattah are two of their most dangerous players, although I expect Jordan to sit back and park the bus, giving Korea a hard time as Asian minnows in the Middle East often do, and sometimes succeed in doing.

The Numbers

  • South Korea is 4-1-8 this year in friendlies and the World Cup.
  • The last pair of friendlies saw Korea beat Paraguay 2-0 but fall to Costa Rica 3-1 in Cheonan and in Seoul respectively.
  • South Korea has never lost to Jordan, with two wins and two draws against Al-Nashama
  • The South Korean team has an average of 30 caps per player.
  • The last meeting between Korea and Jordan was in 2008, the 5th of September, in World Cup Qualifying South Africa. Korea won 1-0 thanks to a Lee Chung-Yong goal.

The Game Info
When: November 14th, 11:30pm KST, 9:30am EST
Where: King Abdullah Stadium, Amman, Jordan
How: SBS (Korea), No Official Broadcast (Rest of World)

P.S. – Korea’s National Women’s Team beat Guam 15-0 in the EAFF Cup Qualifying Round. Ji So-Yun had a brace – Jeon Ga-Eul had 4 goals. The next game for the ladies is against Hong Kong on Saturday, before concluding the qualifying round against Taiwan early next week. If they win the round, they will qualify for the big show next year against Japan, North Korea and China.

P.P.S – Camilo’s incredible volley goal with the Vancouver Whitecaps has been nominated for the Puskas Award. Now retired Lee Young-Pyo provided the assist to that memorable goal. Video up later but at the time of writing (1am) the bed is calling. Jalgayo!

About Tim Lee 321 Articles
The maple syrup guzzling kimchijjigae craving Korean-Canadian, eh?


    • Yeah I was a big fan of his captaincy during the World Cup, falling over every chance he got. If you’re the captain and the team exits with 1 point, something might not be working, and maybe you should… I don’t know… try something else?!?!

  1. Personally would like to see lee cy in CAM and have nam th out right. But, if koo is captain I guess that’s how it’ll be. Hopefully it’ll be a fluid midfield with koo kim and Lee all rotating.
    Also, does anyone think that in the future having park jh as DM and kim JS as LB would be more optimal??

    • The problem with them rotating positions/being fluid has generally been Koo who isn’t very comfortable playing out wide. I think it’s more likely we see Kim MW and Lee CY switching sides on occasion and maybe some brief switches with Koo.

  2. You know, the player I want to see on the KNT the least besides JSR is KJC.
    I just don’t believe he’s a CAM.
    The AM line should really be KMW NTH LCY in any order since all three can play all three

        • kimchi, i’m concerned that i’ve been agreeing with you so much lately. =P

          this is what i think of koo: he’s a hustle player. you know what i mean? he’s got that intensity that you wish every player had, but he doesn’t have the talent that correlates with his passion, nor does he really have a position to make you think, “this is where he will thrive.”

          • Koo actually is very talented hence why he’s often included/forced into formations. He does have an ideal position, but said position does not exist within Korea’s standard 4-2-3-1. Koo is pretty clearly, to me at least, a withdrawn forward in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. I think the problem/confusion comes with ‘labels’. People want to label him as an attacking midfielder, but he doesn’t play like a midfielder. He’s a forward. And a forward that plays best when he can play just behind a more traditional 9.

          • Hmm, I actually have different take to yours Jae.

            If KNT wants to play like Germany, I see Koo as attacking #8 (or one of double-six) in place of Ki. He doesn’t score enough or doesn’t have the track record as 2nd forward in 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1.

            I think he can be useful in compact “gegenpressing” formation of 4-2-2-2/4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 (in midfield 3). Come to think of it, it’s the only formation/tactic where I have seen him do really well in Bundesliga (FC Augsburg).

          • He could transform into an 8, but right now I don’t think he has the ball-retention ability to consistently play in deep midfield. His goal scoring has slowed down, but I think that’s more due to constant changes with NT and injuries. Early in his career he showed a decent eye for goal and his ability to time runs into the box from slightly deeper positions was very good.

          • Im not so sure transitive properties exist here with saying it would be as simple as transferring LCY to CAM just because he’s making it look so easy at Bolton right now.

            Thats why we need more analysis on whats going on at Bolton currently. Different cast of characters and different manager. He plays a ton more for club than NT, and he’s been at Bolton a LONG time. A lot of moving parts and Im not sold he could repeat the same performances in a red shirt.

        • I don’t think Tim is talking skill/ability level. But his situation is similar to Rooney’s. Both are captains (for Korea and United), but neither really fits the system used by the teams, so they end up being shoehorned in.

          • Ah, you answered for me before I saw your post. That’s exactly what I mean.

            “Shoehorned”. That’s a new one. I should see what my “English Teachers” (– I speak better than them… ah Quebec) will say when I use that verb haha.

            And what you said about Koo and his ideal position makes sense – do you think we should change formation to allow him to play with a traditional 9 or is the 4-2-3-1 the best formation Korea can use as a team right now, despite it creating some awkwardness for Koo?

          • ‘Shoehorned’ is a perfectly legitimate word. To ‘shoehorn’ is to force something into a space. ‘Shoehorned’ is simply the past-tense form of the verb.

            The 4-2-3-1 works with Koo in it, but the issue (for the past year or so) is the player over on the left, one Son Heung-min. Son is comfortably on the left, but he wants to cut in towards the center, a space where Koo is and Koo isn’t great when he goes wide. I think Koo could do much better if there was a more conventional left winger (who can create chances). The Jordan game may bring out some of Koo’s better aspects since Son HM is likely out and Kim MW in.

          • The parallel actually works even better when you stay within international level – Korea / England (whom Rooney captains as well).

            About Koo JC – correct me if I’m wrong but I recall him starting (on paper) as a false left wing and then making those great runs from deeper position into the box at the Asian Cup 2011. He was nothing like trequartista.

            And since LW position isn’t firmly assigned to anyone at the moment, I’d perhaps give him a go – just to see what he could do there for Korea.

            Also, this would open up an opportunity for Lee CY, who for one imho *should* play more centrally for KNT; and secondly could also use some sort of wake up call, breath of fresh air.

          • On paper maybe, but on the pitch he was more central with Park Ji-sung on the left who sometimes moved central (with Ji DW drifting left). That’s what I remember at least.

            Koo doesn’t have the ability to beat defenders on the ball, so I think he’s fairly useless on the left wing. In an ideal world (mine at least) you’d have Son HM on the left, Lee CY central, someone on the right (maybe Nam TH) and Koo as a rampaging 8 just ahead of Ki.

          • (Imagine this is a reaction to your newest post, still can’t see “reply” down there.)

            Yep, it was certainly very fluid, constant rotation in place, no fixed positions, all skilful players – that’s what I would also like to achieve/restore by this move.

            The main “innovation” is to have Lee CY playing more centrally – upon which we can both agree on.

            Otherwise, your suggestion sounds quite alright to me but I’d be a bit afraid to use it when facing a tougher opponent (which would be the case at the Asian Cup rather often than not). It could work very well against minnows though, yes.

          • @Jae about the shoehorned thing:

            No, I wasn’t saying it wasn’t a real word, I was saying how I had never heard it used before and it does sound like one of the stranger verbs in the english language?

            Anyhow, enough about “to shoehorn”.

        • WHOA I’m not talking about skill level, I mean predicament. A talented captain (compared to the National Team which they represent) who should be playing for the NT, but has trouble finding a position where he flourishes in. A captain that doesn’t fit in the formation.

  3. i’m know i’m a little late, but i think my comment was misunderstood. i wasn’t saying koo wasn’t talented. i was saying it doesn’t match his level of hustle/passion. jae associated the term rampage with koo, and to me, that fits. he always looks more like he’s on a rampage than a natural as a soccer player. even in london where he had a goal and a fairly good tournament, he didn’t look all that smooth or natural. sure, if he’s in the perfect system maybe i wouldn’t be saying this, but i’ve yet to really see him in a perfect system. and it seems even takeuchi can only think of one system where he looked good in the bundesliga. even so is he the type of player to build a system around? i don’t think so. besides, in takeuchi’s and jae’s perfect world, it seems to me that even his ideal position is one very contingent on having other better players around him for the most part. i hope i’m wrong though and they can fit him where he can thrive while not getting the rest of the team out of sync. again, i think he’s talented but to me he seems to play like a hustle player, albeit, one who is talented enough to get into the first team.

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