K League Week 14 results + musings on the Shock in Brazil

Midweek K-League results are in, and later in the post the Tavern Owner muses about Brazil’s shocking 1-7 defeat to Germany in the semifinals. It is undoubtedly the worst loss ever for the Seleção -simply an unimaginable shellacking that shatters their unbeaten-at-home streak dating back to 1975. 

 

Sangju Sangmu
2
Final
Busan IPark
0
Kwon Soon-Hyung and Lee Sang-Ho send Jae’s team packing home with a loss (sorry Jae).

Jeonbuk
1
Final
Jeju United
1

Jeju’s Song Jin-Hyung struck first in the 39th minute, but Jeonbuk’s Kaio Felipe brought it back even in the 79th.

Dragons
3
Final
Gyeongnam
1
Despite Kim In-Han’s early 7th minute goal for Gyeongnam, Jeonnam equalized with Ahn Yong-Woo 4 minutes later, followed by a brace by Lee Jong-Ho to take all 3 points.
Incheon
1
Final
Seongnam
1
Seongnam’s Hwang Eui-Jo canceled out Lee Hyo-Gyun‘s goal for Incheon United. 
Suwon
3
Final
Ulsan
2
Ulsan’s Lee Yong laced up his scoring boots today, getting a double. It wasn’t enough, with goals from Suwon’s Roger, Santos Junior and Kim Eun-Seon helping to notch the win. Suwon continues their 5 game unbeaten streak.
Steelers                                    0          Final
FC Seoul                                  0
I actually got to see most of the 2nd half. Fairly entertaining game despite the scoreless result. Pohang dominated possession but a late surge by FC Seoul tested the Steelers resolve. Stoppage time saw some of the best chances for both sides – missed sitter for an FC Seoul forward, followed by a counter attack, a neat curling shot hitting the far post. Game over.  Pohang remains tops in the table while FC Seoul mired in 9th place.
Moderately attended by Pohang supporters – it’s the first time I’ve seen their Steelyard stadium from my far vantage point. Despite being dimly lit, with supporters close proximity to the field, it gave the impression that it has potential to be a very lively place. A sensible 25,000 seat capacity stadium, in line with attempts to attract more to K-League games, the Steelyard seems far more manageable than say the cavernous Ulsan Munsu Cup stadium (44,466 seats).
Last note on the game, the fuzzy stream I watched on had a disaffected English TV commentator on tap. Initially I was worried that he had suffered a heart attack as there was 6 minutes of silence before he decided to fulfill his obligations by minimally announcing the action on the pitch. In contrast, the Korean commentators next door could be seen animated & excited and unfortunately not heard. Soundproofing tech must be good in those booths. Hint to the K-League: if you’re going to have an english language voice-over as a parallel broadcast for Australian, US and other English language football TV markets, hire a Korean who speaks English. They will be invested in broadening the appeal of the K-League rather than the disaffected voice I heard today.
And back to Brazil…already we’ve had some Tavern goers chime in the comment section about the loss. To prepare talking about Brazil’s epic loss to Germany, first I’m going to resurrect the Coffee Talk Lady invented by Saturday Night Live’s Mike Myers.

Ok now it’s tempting to talk about that loss in context to Korea’s 4-1 defeat by Algeria. No Tavern Owner, there’s no comparison between Brazil and Korea – you’re nutters, you might say. Oh, I dare go there, I’m diving right in. Here goes:

Both Brazil and Korea has had trouble with adequate strikers in this World Cup. Korea has Kim Shin-Wook and Park Chu-Young – both not firing on all cylinders in the tournament. Brazil has Fred and Jo, not particularly inspirational figures for the Seleção. 

Both have suspect defense. Well, that’s not exactly true -actually Korea is more known for that. This Brazil squad on paper isn’t. Their club pedigree alone could not predict the kind of defensive meltdown seen last night. Marcelo/Real Madrid. David Luiz/Chelsea. Thiago Silva/PSG. Dani Alves/Barcelona. Dante/Bayern Munich. Maicon/AS Roma. Thiago Silva is bandied about as being among the best defenders in the world (and his suspension really hurt Brazil). And yet, in an 18 minute span of time, Brazil conceded a staggering 5 goals against Germany, the same German squad that struggled and drew with Ghana in group stage and merely beat the US by a score of 1-0. That’s not to say Ghana or the US has a better defense than Brazil (see 16+ shots placed against Tim Howard in US v Belgium).  What that does suggest is that given the particular circumstance (Neymar injured and more importantly Thiago Silva serving yellow card suspension), the disorganization displayed was at best seen as a ‘bad day at the office.’  At worst, some say this is the ‘death of Brazilian football,’ oddly mirroring in that Bizarro universe kind-of-way the banner rudely unfurled as team Korea arrived upon their return from Brazil several days ago.

Here’s where some interesting ‘stuff’ come into play. (Keeping in mind these aren’t exacting comparisons) Korea’s defensive 3 goal meltdown against Algeria in the first half took place in a span of 12 minutes. Brazil started to unravel after Muller drove the first goal home in the 11th minute – but it wasn’t until the 23rd minute that the real nuclear meltdown occurred. Miroslav Klose broke that dam loose in that minute – followed 2 minutes later by 2 more goals, each scored by Tony Kroos, each coming 2 minutes apart from each other. That’s 3 goals scored against Brazil in 3 minutes.

Khedira topped off the 1st half in the 29th minute with Germany’s 5th goal.  That’s Brazil, 5 times World Cup trophy winners. In Brazil. In the semifinals. Unbelievable. No one, and I mean no one could see that one coming. As imperfect as FIFA rankings are, no analyst would complain about Brazil’s #3 rank, just below Spain (#1) and Germany (#2). Nevertheless, it is the worst semifinal beat down in World Cup history. It’s hard to figure which will be historically seen as the worse loss, the 1950 final against Uruguay or 2014 semi vs Germany.

One could argue Brazil did try to come back -represented by a minimal consolation goal right before full time. However most saw a psychologically devastated team that threw in the towel when the score was only at 2-0. Korea in the 2nd half fought back to get back in the game despite going to HT down 3-0. They pulled back 3-1 with Son Heung-Min’s brilliant goal, almost 3-2 with Ki’s drilled shot, but lost momentum with Algeria’s 4th goal. Though they would eventually lose 4-2, Korea clearly did not give up.  While that doesn’t make up from how badly the defense and the goalkeeper did to lose the match and exit the tournament early, there were glimmers of hope to bank on for 2018. Then again, Korea didn’t have to come back 0-3 against Germany…

Korea clearly did not live up to expectations in this World Cup. But could the Algeria loss be seen as some Brazilians see yesterday’s game, as a bad day at the office?  Even amongst the most cynical and distraught Brazilian supporter, there’s no doubt Brazil will be back to being kings of football. Sure Korea’s defense will not see the last of a well deserved scolding. The flipside: Korea’s defense is young and does have raw talent. They are just starting to get European training (Hong Jeong-Ho/Augsburg, Yun Suk-Young/QPR, Kim Jin-Su just signed for Hoffenheim, Kim Young-Gwon/Lippi talked about him as ‘Man U quality’ -whatever that means).  In fact, this is largely the same D that held back Brazil’s A squad including a healthy Neymar several months ago in a friendly at Seoul. When I say ‘held back,’ it means they conceded 2 goals. Take from that what you will.

Across the media spectrum, analysts say Brazil are now forced to look inward to reassess their football program. Internally has been a mix of reactions, from contemplation to low level rioting. On the Guardian’s Football Weekly, Fernando Duerte, author of a book detailing Brazil’s worst footballing defeats, talked not about despair but of the opportunity to retool team Brazil going forward into the future. Germany themselves were disaster opportunists, taking action following a failed Euro 2000 campaign by radically redesigning their academy program.  I heard ESPN talking heads discuss this last night, something along the lines of this: each Bundesliga club contributing 2 million to establish a centralized academy system, improving both youth talent and coaching techniques with the dual goal of having competent modern footballers for clubs and for country. More on that, both Jamie Jackson and Stuart James wrote on this in appraising the recent rise in German football, see their pieces on the Guardian. Even bad boy and Yun Suk-Young’s QPR teammate Joey Barton weighs in on the German academy retooling as their blueprint for turning around their international game, see his blog piece on that.

Oh what a strange and wildly weird World Cup. Spain, defending World Cup holders, ranked #1, goes out with a whimper in the group stage. And now this result in Brazil. Such high expectations. Such a crazy outcome.

Where’s my Barabra Striesand wig? Let’s end this thing, ok? As the new Korean Coffee Talk lady, complete with a thick Brooklyn accent, I say this:  I’m verklempt about Korea and Brazil getting embarrassed at the World Cup. But Brazil and Korea had somewhat similar defensive disasters, both simply had their bad days at the office. The Yeot throwers and banner displayers are getting their panties all caught up in a bind. Both teams will eventually improve and move forward from their respective disasters.

2nd side discussion, a chickpea is neither a chick nor a pea. Discuss.  

 

Now to cue the riots…

 

 

 

 

About Roy Ghim 403 Articles

The old Tavern Owner

2 Comments

  1. Up to now, I just wanted balls-2-the-wall offense, but after the Brazil debacle… man, I’ve learned my lesson. Brazil did just that, & got annihilated. I mean, I still want fast breaks/lighting counters, but I’m questioning the offensive “flood” I was picturing.

    That was soo scary, worse than anything SK has ever done… tho I’m still paranoid that SK’s defense, as currently constituted, is more than capable of that kinda implosion, we’ve already seen hints.

    • Teams need to have multiple attacking strategies and capabilities nowadays. “Balls-2-the-wall” offense is fine, against teams that sit deep and have limited counterattacking ability (like the smaller Asian teams Korea will face in early qualifying), but managers must be smart and able to scale that back against quality counterattacking teams and superior opposition.

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