Stielike’s debut – International Friendly: Korea vs Paraguay

Hockey season starts, Canadian Thanksgiving weekend ahead (we can’t celebrate the harvest any later, or else we’ll all be covered in about 10 feet of snow), fancy intro for Paraguay friendly preview (+ U-16 Women and U-19 Men updates).

It was July 25th, 2007, when Pim Verbeek, South Korea’s last foreign coach, announced his resignation. A run of Korean coaches ensued – Huh Jung-Moo, Cho Kwang-Rae, Choi Kang-Hee, Hong Myung-Bo. An abysmal World Cup called for changes in the KFA and in the managerial post. Now, it is a new start, a blank canvas, under a new manager, with a vision for Korean football. Everyone knows how important first impressions are – and these friendlies are just that for Uli Stielike.

Formation/Team Selection
Korean media are speculating a 4-2-3-1 formation for Stielike’s KNT managerial debut, with Asian Games winner Kim Seung-Gyu between the sticks. In my opinion, he’s got to be the no.1 keeper now. Some saves he made against Thailand and Japan in the Asian Games were downright ridiculous. Can we forget Jung Sung-Ryong even walked the face of this earth? Yes? Cool. My life is a lot better now.

In the back four, two seasoned veterans, Cha Du-Ri and Kwak Tae-Hwi are rumoured to start. Cha is an experienced fullback who brings a lot of energy to the team, while Kwak Tae-Hwi is a defender who has seen his better days, glaringly lacking pace but at least offering some aerial presence. The other centreback will likely be China-based Kim Young-Gwon, who quietly does his job every game, despite not being exempt to the odd brainfart. The other fullback is Hong Chul, who know plays his club football in Suwon. I honestly don’t know much about him, but I’m sure other writers do. I just haven’t been around the K-League long enough.

In the midfield, Park Joo-Ho is expected to play alongside the new captain, Ki Sung-Yueng. It’s an interesting holding midfield pair, which I don’t think we’ve seen before. Park Joo-Ho has a chance to prove his worth after being largely ignored by Hong Myung-Bo. The 3 attacking midfielders will likely see Son Heung-Min and Lee Chung-Yong on the wings, with Lee Myeong-Joo, who made an impression on Stielike during the September friendlies, expected to play in the hole, behind experienced striker Lee Dong-Gook.

An alternate version of the defense sees Kim Ki-Hee, who played for Stielike in the Middle East, starting alongside Kim Young-Gwon, with Park Joo-Ho slotting into fullback instead of Hong Chul, and Han Kook-Young pairing up with Ki Sung-Yueng, like in the 2014 World Cup.

The most important thing is that Stielike gets a look at all the players in these two friendlies, and gets a better idea of how they can perform, and who he wants in his system and tactics.

A couple of changes were made to the callup list, as Han Kyo-Won and Cho Young-Cheol were called up to replace Kim Jin-Su and Koo Ja-Cheol. Hoffenheim wanted Kim back, while Koo has an injury. So much for the staying fit all year thing. Also, Jang Hyun-Soo earned a call-up after his stellar Asian Games performance – I’m curious as to whether or not we’ll get to see him play.

Just give me a picture.
Fine. (Does not work in Internet Explorer. Supposedly.)

Most of Paraguay’s team play their club football in Paraguay or in Argentina, but a few play abroad. Ivan Piris has 13 callups and is a defender for Udinese in Italy, while Vice Captain Victor Caceres plays for Brazilian side Flamingo. But it seems the main threat from the Paraguayans will come from Roque Santa Cruz (who Cha Du-Ri apparently knows personally), newly admitted to the century-club. Cruz is the Captain and has scored 29 goals (a national record) for country, and plays for Malaga in Spain.

Paraguay are also hoping to put the past behind them, although they have more to complain about, after an abysmal qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup that saw them finish dead last in the CONMEBOL, behind the likes of Peru and Bolivia. The Paraguayans have 1 win, a pair of draws and a loss this year in friendlies, with their most recent result being a goalless draw with the United Arab Emirates. They were also scheduled to play a friendly with Ukraine in September, but we can blame mother Russia for that game not happening.

Paraguay will also play China this international break.

All in all, it should be a very interesting game. I predict a 2-0 Korean win, with goals from Lee Dong-Gook and Lee Chung-Yong. Korea has 1 win, 3 draws and 1 loss against Paraguay.

Where can I watch?
There is NO OFFICIAL BROADCAST in Canada and in the USA, like it is for all KNT friendlies, nor do I think there is a broadcast anywhere else in the world (except Paraguay and South Korea).
Back in the motherland, MBC will broadcast live from Cheonan, 7am ET, 8pm KST. And you better watch or else this Korean actress is going to get to you.

You. Have. Been. Warned.

All joking aside, time for a quick kickaround:

First off, Korea’s U-19 got the job done in their first group game against Vietnam. It was a tale of two halves, with the Koreans really clicking in the second half to prevail in a 6-0 rout. Lee Jung-Min, Shim Je-Hyuk, Hwang Hee-Chan and Barca Boy Paik Seung-Ho all had a goal, while Kim Gun-Hee scored a brace.

In the other game in South Korea’s group, China beat the “enemy”, Japan, 2-1, thanks to a 1st minute penalty and a 77th minute winner by Wei Shihao. South Korea’s next game is against China on the 11th of October. That’s at 6:30pm Myanmar Time, which probably doesn’t help you. 8am Eastern, 9pm KST. Better?

Highlights worth watching – couple of great goals here.

Meanwhile, the U-16 girls qualified for next year’s AFC Championship after a 1-0 win against Australia. This came after they knocked off Hong Kong 11-0 and took care of Vietnam 3-0. Although you have to admit the qualification system is a little flawed when Australia goes out and Chinese Taipei qualifies in the other group.

Also, over in the K-League, FC Seoul beat Ulsan Hyundai 3-0. A brace from Sergio Escudero against a Kim Shin-Wook-less Ulsan (who is injured for the rest of the season) puts Seoul in 5th and it seems that they will make the top half, while Ulsan are going to need a miracle with I believe 3 gameweeks left to take the final top half spot before the split. Jeonnam currently holds 6th.

That’s all from me for tonight. The Tavern will open early tomorrow for the friendly. Daehanminguk Fighting! and Jalgayo from Tavern Studio Freezing-Cold-Quebec.

Oh, and happy Canadian Thanksgiving, eh?

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


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