A full review will be up tomorrow, and there’s quite a lot to talk about. But, Korea pulled it out, literally in the last minute with Son Heung-Min tapping in the winning shot. Dramatic stuff.
Tavern notes: Lee Keun-Ho scoring in the 59th minute, a beautiful header by the 2012 Asian Player of the Year winner, has only 3 minutes to celebrate the goal before the 2006 Asian Player of the Year recipient scored for Qatar, Khalfan Ibrahim. Down to the wire, 3 critical WCQ group points on the line and less than a minute in stoppage time left, a full team effort (after a shot taken by Koo Ja-Cheol followed by 3 touches by 3 different players) only got the ball to bounce just off the crossbar. However, Son Heung-Min, running into the box to the right of the keeper – was able to follow the bouncing ball and just had to tap in the game winner. Cue wild celebration and what should have been a third goal in the final seconds of the match. Take a look:
In other WCQ/AFC Group A news, Uzbekistan maintains their table lead, winning 1-0 against Lebanon. In WCQ/AFC Group B, a shock upset, Jordan winning 2-1 against Japan. Japan still has a sizable lead in their group table.
Fantastic finish to a not so pretty game. Really glad to see my favorite player pull in the winning goal with seconds to spare. That really makes me wonder — why doesn’t Cho start Son? I mean he’s clearly one of the best players available to the team but it seems like he really doesn’t get much credit from Cho. I really wish Son was featured more prominently and I think the Korean attack should be built around him. The other forwards really looked like they were playing in a different league. Aside from one poor touch, Sons’s movement and control of the ball were really superb, which one should expect given the league he’s playing in. I’d really like to see your opinion on this.
-Adam (American fan of Korean soccer living in Thailand)
Choi doesn’t have much faith in Son as a team player, which isn’t unusual for Korean bosses, Hong Myeong-Bo didn’t either (which is why Son wasn’t in the Olympic squad). Both acknowledge Son’s immense talent, but when they try to stick him in the squad, he doesn’t link up well with the other players. When I was writing on SKSB I did a piece on Son. Maybe I can re-post it here, with an update or something.
I remember reading an article before the Olympics that had mentioned that Son decided not to participate to focus more on playing at Hamburg. Was that true or was it just a bit of face saving after he realized he wasn’t going to be included?
Here’s the article by the way: http://www.goal.com/en/news/3800/korea/2012/06/28/3205602/son-heung-min-to-miss-london-olympics-to-focus-on-hamburg
Also, I would love to see the repost with an update as you mentioned. Really appreciate the articles you guys are writing.
I think it was a bit of both. Son has a couple times asked not to be included in the NT setup, first was his father asking the NT not to call Son so he doesn’t get burned out, and then this other time. Even before this though, Son was not part of the Olympic set up, with Kim Bo-Kyung, Seo Jung-Jin, and Nam Tae-Hee getting more of a look. I seem to recall Hong Myeong-Bo not being happy with his attitude (more me first). I may be remembering wrong though.
The review should be up later today (just finished work), and then the updated Son post, maybe tomorrow.
Sorry, I should have said “Choi” instead of Cho. I still have the old coach’s name in my mind.
Agree on Son. He should have started or at least been subbed in earlier. The only downside today is that Choi probably saved himself from the sack. He got his tactics all wrong in the first half. It was only more with a 4-4-2 that Korea finally got it together. I’m not convinced that 4-1-4-1 works.
There’s hope here though. The Oh Beom-seok-Lee Chung-yong flank worked wonders, especially Lee who’s back to his old self. Ki Seung-yeung did well as more of a holding mildfielder/ball winner.
Not sure about Ji Dong-won though. Koo Ja-cheol has also never done it for me either. Prefer Kim Bo-kyung as either a winger or an attacking midfielder. And we really need central defenders. Leaving the Qatari player with so much space in the 1st goal was inexcusable….
Korea did play better when it reverted to a more 4-4-2/4-2-4 shape, and I’ll discuss that more in the review later. I would have to agree with Jinseok’s comment below that Oh Beom-Seok wasn’t great. He really did do much at either end. I suspect he would have been “found out” against a better team. Qatar didn’t attack much, and when they did it was generally down the Korean left. Lee Chung-Yong was outstanding though. Ki was kind of “meh” for me most of the game, but did better towards the end. Koo is still, probably one of our best players, but I think he’s wasted when he plays deep. Ji is . . . mixed. And yes, we need defenders.
Oh Beom Suk was terrible.. it was LCY who was awesome, not the two of them together
I think you guys might be too harsh on Oh & Ki. Off the ball, they were opening up positions, giving the team options. Overall, there were glimpses in the second half of the passing and good positioning this team is capable of, which a better coach could probably bring out. With better finishers upfront we could have easily scored 2 more goals. Anyway, Jae, look forward to your review.
Oh wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t great either. He was fairly average. Since Qatar wasn’t attacking much he was fairly free on the right. Ki was okay, but I feel his position with the NT is confused, and as such his performance is lacking. When he was given more freedom to push up in the second half his performance improved and so did the team’s.