Korea in Group H

So, it’s a bit overdue (but everyone already knows), but Korea was handed a friendly-ish draw on Friday. Korea ended up in group H with Belgium, Russia, and Algeria.

(From Koream blogsite)

The task won’t be an easy one, but Korean fans should feel at least a little optimistic about the team’s chances of making it to the round of 16. On paper, Algeria should be three points, the team will have half a chance of beating, or at least taking a point, off the Russians, although not much should be expected against Belgium. It’ll be a fight certainly.

Here’s a recap of our previews of all the teams.

Belgium is another sneakily good team. If you haven’t seen them, then watch out! Just a glance down their team sheet and the fact that they easily topped their group (that contained Croatia, Serbia, Scotland, and Wales) isn’t such a surprise. In goal they have the best young keeper (and possibly one of the best in the world) in Thibaut Courtois. Solid center backs in Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, and Jan Vertonghen. Talented midfielders in Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembele, Axel Witsel, and Kevin De Bruyne. And two bull forwards in Romelu Lukaku and Christen Benteke. A slight worry for Belgium will be their last two matches (against Colombia and Japan) where they lost both matches in Belgium. Belgium would be an extremely difficult opponent, but you’d think Korea may have a very small, outside chance at beating them or at least taking a point. The team generally is quite young, and that inexperience at the World Cup (Belgium hasn’t qualified since 2002) could be important.

Last Meeting: International Friendly (1999)
Result: South Korea 1 Belgium 2
Writer Ranking: Jae (8) Jinseok (8) Roy (6)

Algeria barely made the tournament, eeking out Burkina Faso in the playoffs 3-3 on away goals (2-1). Honestly, I know little about Algeria and only recognize a couple players in their squad. They wouldn’t seem to have much of a shot.

Last Meeting: None
Result: N/A
Writer Ranking: Jae (32) Jinseok (32) Roy (32)

Russia has gone through some big changes over the past few years. The team looked to be an expansive, attacking team under the Dutch guidance of Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat, but since Fabio Capello took over they’ve become a pragmatic, solid side. Russia seems firmly like a middle of the pack team, in that they won’t likely beat many top sides, but should have enough to keep the lower sides out.

Last Meeting: International friendly (2013)
Result: South Korea 1 Russia 2
Writer Ranking: Jae (13) Jinseok (15) Roy (13)

Korea has been spared a trip to the Amazon as well as the most punishing of travel schedules, with all three group games located in the southern half of the country.

Match 1: Russia vs Korea – Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba – 19:00

Match 2: Korea vs Algeria – Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre – 16:00

Match 3: Korea vs Belgium – Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo – 17:00

Should Korea advance to the round of 16 they would face opposition from Group G (Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA). They would either return to Porto Alegre (runner up) or Salvador (winner).

For more details and thoughts/analysis on Korea’s group and the World Cup in general, stay tuned for the podcast we recorded, which should be up soon.

About Jae Chee 339 Articles
A football fan who got bit by the writing bug.


  1. Hey Roy and company,

    The thing that I enjoy most about your site or bigsoccer is when someone uploads individual highlights or “ball touches” of Korean players abroad.

    Can’t you guys make compilations of all the Korean players and upload? If you did I would be here all the time and I would recommend your site to everyone, help you grow.

    You can get full Matches in rojadirecta.es for example or other Korean sites.

    Please do it, that’s what we want above everything else.

    • I love when I come across compilation videos of touches by individual players. To be honest, with 2 kids a Tavern wife and a dayjob that’s all pressing me for time, not to mention that the Tavern doesn’t make any $ – I can’t even pay writers for their time devoted to the subject. bottom line: i’d love to do it but logistically it’s not feasible for me to do that. That said, the individual (or individuals) who are putting these compilation videos together may still be -or are planning to release more. If they do, and if they post to youtube – you can be sure that we will do our best to find them and relay that here on the Tavern.

      Still, we’d love you to keep coming back to the Tavern. If anything else, I hope u find it’s still cool to keep hanging out here. If there’s something you want to write about – this is a place you can feel free to stretch.

        • No, the site doesn’t make any money at all. It’s been a behind-the-scenes discussion a couple times (how to monetize the site), but nothing’s come from it yet. If you notice there aren’t any header ads or sidebar ads, nor is there an ad when you first enter the site (like adfly). Roy has been offered a couple other things (like writing junk posts about other things), but declined.

          I’ll echo Roy’s thoughts and say that I’d love to be able to provide more unique and interesting things, more tactical diagrams, screen captures from matches showing what I’m talking about, videos, etc. but like Roy I have a one-year old, wife, and day job that takes up a good chunk of the day. Most of the matches I watch either require staying up until 2AM or waking up around 3-4AM. Okay for the Sat. games but not so good for ones on Sun. night or midweek. From a cost-benefit analysis the cost is pretty high for us in terms of time and effort, while the benefit isn’t as clear. Korean football (in English) is very much a niche market, so how much we would get, in terms of clicks (and theoretically money if we pursued that) and acknowledgement is certainly an unknown. This site is purely a labor of love from all of us, and we’re happy to do it, but until this becomes a (significant) paying venture, there will always be some limits on what it can be.

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