Korea reaches Asian Games Gold medal match, dispatches Vietnam 1:3

Lee Seung-woo celebrates after scoring against Vietnam

From overtime heart attack against Uzbekistan to a semi-comfortable victory, in a span of 48 hours, Korea found themselves squarely in the drivers seat early, they knock out Vietnam with a comprehensive 1:3 victory in the Asian Games semis. They face either Japan or UAE on September 1st at the same stadium, Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong Indonesia.

Quick recap, Starting XI:


Formation 4-3-2-1, changes to the side included Cho Yu-min at CB, holding mid Kim Jung-min for Lee Seung-mo and “San” Cho Hyun-woo recovering from his injury to return in between the sticks. Hwang Hee-Chan also included, providing some pace and urgency as Na Sang-ho returns to the bench. Rested: Hwang In-Beom, with Lee Seung-woo getting the nod for the start.


Starting on a fast gear, the game would continue with a blistering pace throughout, not what one would expect after both sides went a full 120 minutes in their quarterfinal encounters. The hope for both sides was to get a blitzkrieg goal early, but it was Korea who would notch first kill.  In the 6th minute, Hwang Hee-chan driving right up the middle, found Hwang Ui-jo. He had trouble holding onto the ball at the top of the area, but the ball spilled out to Lee Seung-woo, who took a touch before blasting it into the upper left corner of the net.

GIF / BSK poster Seol Korea

Vietnam 0:1 Korea

Entering the 27th minute, Son Heung-min, squeezed in with 3 Vietnamese defenders around him, turned and with great vision, flicked on the ball to Hwang Ui-jo making a run behind the defense. Timed perfectly, the keeper panicked with no defenders in front of Hwang and tried to cut off his angle. Hwang dinked it over the keeper for his 9th goal of the tournament.

Vietnam 0:2 Korea

Halftime and Korea finally allows themselves some breathing room. It didn’t take long after the restart for Lee Seung-woo to pounce again.


Vietnam 0:3 Korea

Kim Hak-bum started rotating players out, wise move considering the insane tournament compressed schedule. 59th minute, Hwang Ui-jo out for Na Sang-ho, and Son out for Lee Si-young in the 72nd minute, but not before Vietnam’s Tran Minh Vuong delivered a beauty of a freekick into the upper left net. Cho didn’t have a chance.

Vietnam 1:3 Korea

Lee Seung-woo led the attack in the absence of Son and Hwang Ui-jo, Korea and Vietnam kept up a wide open game right to the end, but Vietnam, which came uncomfortably close to getting their 2nd goal, just weren’t clinical enough to take advantage of a defense scrambling back to shape. Lee Jung-min played the Lee Seung-mo role of delivering cringe worthy mispasses, making things a bit more difficult for the backline.

Despite the scoreline, U23 Vietnam represented well, demonstrated by fast, physical and technical play, more so than the Vietnamese players of another older generation. It wasn’t enough however as Park Hang-seo’s side couldn’t get past an increasingly compact and defensive minded Korean team. 5 minutes of stoppage time ended and Korea’s players collapsed on the pitch in relief.

Fulltime: Vietnam 1:3 Korea

At time of writing, it’s Halftime 0:0 UPDATE: Japan 1 : 0 UAE late in 2nd half


Gold medal match: September 1st at 7:30am US EST/ 8:30pm Korea Time


Lee Seung-woo celebrates after scoring against Vietnam/Yonhap News


  • This was a game for Lee Seung-woo to shine, especially given how open the game was. Dribbling at his opponents, carving out space between defenders, his quick goal poaching instincts and clinical finish was again very reminiscent of his Barcelona academy days. The Hwang Hee-chan/Lee Seung-woo attacking partnership looked bright – another decent attacking outlet to compliment the Son/Hwang Ui-jo pairing. Kim Hak-bum risked a lot in rotating him out earlier in the quarterfinals – it’s paid off dividends with a fresh and energetic Lee today. Kim will also be praying that the injuries that Lee sustained (and having to be subbed out) will not be serious enough to exclude him from his title match game plans. He was walking around in post match celebrations, so perhaps that’s a good sign. 2 goals today, 3 goals in the tournament, Lee, like this squad, is heating up.
  • To balance out the good news, if it’s not Lee Seung-mo, then today it’s Kim Jung-min providing much discomfort with haphazard passing and generally subpar performance. His body language showed a lack of confidence. Terrifying to contemplate what could happen if opponent on Saturday were to exploit that weakness in the midfield effectively…
  • Korea playing with a much better understanding from back to front. They are on form simply because they seem to be learning from their mistakes as the tournament has progressed. It hasn’t been pretty, but team chemistry has evolved in a short span of time (they haven’t had much time to train pre-tournament). Son looked better from the perspective of his distributing and conducting things from a little further back than usual to keep the attack ticking and coordinated in a more cohesive fashion.
  • Speaking of Son, he may have gotten flack for turning his back on Hwang Hee-chan’s game winning penalty shot in overtime against Uzbekistan, but all that was yesterday’s forgotten problem. The gameplan was for Vietnam to swamp Son out of the game- and his job was to take advantage of that. The vision and instincts were spot on today, in particular, his lovely flick on for Hwang Ui-jo while Son was surrounded on all sides by Vietnamese defenders. The backline was completely caught out and the keeper left vulnerable for Hwang’s 9th goal. The goal scoring burden is not squarely on Son, and for a number of reasons, mental game included – that has been working as of late to Korea’s advantage. One slight negative: dribbling miscues were evident today, but will certainly weigh less because of the result. Son has quietly been effective, not in the way many would have predicted with far fewer goals to his name than Hwang Ui-jo and his other teammates, but when it’s clutch time, Captain Son has been and continues to be there for the squad.
  • Last but not least: fullbacks looked a bit more tired but steady overall.  Jury on Cho Yu-min at CB: not bad today. San Cho in between the sticks couldn’t do anything about that superb Tran freeckick but otherwise was his usual solid self (one distribution mistake, but still overall solid).





Extra Time: Suwon Bluewings, whose longtime manager Seo Jung-won resigned nearly 24 hours before a crucial Asian Champions League quarterfinal clash with Jeonbuk Hyundai —they surprised everyone by dispatching Jeonbuk 3:0 in Jeonju! The managerless Bluewings will take a Dejan brace and Han Eui-gwon header goal back to Suwon on September 19th for the 2nd leg.

Korea’s Womens team represented well on Tuesday in their semifinal match with Japan. Lee Min-ah equalized in the 68th minute, but they went down 1:2 with a late own goal by Lim Seon-joo.

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  1. Just a few points:

    1) I admit first and foremost that I didn’t watch this match. So I didn’t even have the chance to try the MBC link that Michael posted in the prior comments section. I woke up for halftime and saw the 2-0 scoreline and figured it wasn’t even worth it. When you’re tired and it’s still dark outside, hunting for streaming links is kind of a shitty way to spend your morning 🙂 It seems that someone else in the comments said that even that link might not have worked? My only request for the Tavern for the final is to find a reliable way to watch and post it here at the Tavern- I get that you guys don’t get paid and it is still work, but man it would be a god-send!!! Thanks in advance.

    2) Also, I admit I scoffed at Hwang Ui-Jo’s call-up. He has earned it and deserves to shove it in all of our faces (on the flip-side he’s like 5 years older than most of the players he’s up against and playing professionally at one of the top clubs in Asia- when you look at it that way, it’s not really fair). But I’ll just say this, Kim Shin Wook had his over-age callup/forward role at the last Asian Games and scored 1 goal. Not gonna say anything else lol.

    3) Maybe this competition is the blueprint for how Son should operate with the KNT. Be the creator. He has had way too much pressure from fans to score goals for the KNT. Hell, maybe he doesn’t even need to be the penalty taker. Enough of this “Sonaldo” crap. Tottenham has plenty of goal scorers- he fits in perfectly. I know he is the most famous player, but that doesn’t mean he needs to get all the goals. It shouldn’t be his role for the KNT. I think the younger guys get that, and maybe the older guys from the past 7-8 years didn’t get that. Here’s hoping he can grow more comfortable with the KNT in the future.

    4) I feel for the Korean coach of the Vietnam team. In any other matchup I would hope Koreans would have pride in him and cheer for him to succeed. With so much on the line for the Korean players, it really was a lose-lose situation for him. Hopefully he still gave it everything he had

    • I don’t completely agree with #3 about Son being the creator for KNT. I don’t think he has the ball-keeping skills and spacial awareness in tight spaces to be an effective creator at the international level. I think the lack of quality of ball winners and quality overall in this tournament has allowed Son to be an effective playmaker. Also, Hwang Ui-jo showed that he’s a reliable scorer…at this level. I don’t see him, Suk Hyun Jun, Ji Dong Won, or the really tall guy who should not be named and selected, scoring consistently for Korea at the senior level. I would love for one of these guys to prove me wrong though. IMO, Son needs to be Sonaldo for Korea. There’s no one besides Son who can consistently score in double digits in Europe. Son was Tottenham’s 2nd leading scorer last season after Kane. His greatest strength is scoring, especially when he can use his pace in the final third. Based on what I’ve heard about Paulo Bento, I’m hoping he can turn KNT into a ruthless counterattacking team that makes best use of Son’s pace and finishing. Leave the playmaking to Lee Jae-sung, Lee Seung-woo, and maybe even Lee Kang-in.

      • Yes I agree. Less pressure and responsibility is better for Son. I think I should have made clear what I meant by “Son needs to be Sonaldo for Korea.” I was actually talking about tactics and not about being a dominant superstar. In the past, Son tried to do everything by himself including scoring and playmaking. Son carrying the team has never benefitted the team. Like how he has done in this tournament, I hope he continues to defer to his teammates more. I think Son can be at his best for KNT as a striker in a two-striker lineup because it requires less defensive and build-up responsibilities. Son needs a Benzema who did a great job supporting Ronaldo at Real Madrid though.

    • I’m on the run, but firstly, thanks for the comment! We’ll have a Korea v Japan “haniljeon” preview up shortly and will include some links that have worked for us in the last few games – plus check back with tavern twitter right before kickoff on Saturday, we’ll try to post the latest links – honestly I’ve been using a couple of different platforms throughout the tournament, some work better than others. A lot of people are going to be watching from around the world, so the more links out there- the better.

  2. You can actually watch on YouTube. I search on “Asian games 2018” and filter on “live.” There’s usually 6 channels, and football will definitely be one of them on Sat.

  3. Lee Seung-woo is a killer. He finds the goal. He comes to ball every match. The World Cup stage didn’t shake him. Certainly the Asian Games didn’t either. KNT should build the program and strategy around him as the focal point. Everything should go through him. Let Son threaten with his speed and let Son do Son, but build the attack with Lee. And Lee has the fortitude and wits about him to be the star. The future is Lee Seung-woo! He needs to gain a couple of pounds of muscle since he’s probably not going to grow any taller as long as it doesn’t affect his speed and agility, but he does get pushed off the ball a lot. A few pounds should help with that as it did for Messi. He’ll Woo the rest of the world soon.

    • What do you think of Hwan Ui Joh its unfortunate he’s 26 years old. I feel this guy can become a special striker, that guy is always at the right position to score man lol I was on the torch the Kim Hak Bum band wagon and now I have to get off right away and beg Kim Hak Bum for forgiveness and go to the God Ui Jo bandwagon!!

      • You’re asking me? The Tavern boys know 1000% better than I do. I don’t follow him in Japan and know only about him through his Korea appearances. He definitely came to play. He’s obviously helping Korea win but I’m still not sure how the KFA or managers decide who’s more “deserving” of trying to get exception, as I’m sure that’s a factor in choosing overaged players. Not to sound heartless, but is his playing career in Japan worth “saving”. Next WC he’ll be 30 yrs old- not old but…

        • Thanks for your reply I will be more direct to you so you know my comment was directed towards you. I guess you pointed all the good things out, there were other comments I posted towards you I would like you to read them. I think his playing career can be worth saving he can do well in the dutch league or belgium in my opinion he has potential to be the best striker we ever had. He seems to be in the right place at the right time which most of our strikers struggle. He has a killer instinct and if nurtured properly he can become a world class striker. Which player are you most excited? I am sad our golden generation isn’t as famous compare to other countries and it was hindered due to many unfortunate circumstances but I am an optimist, for following Korean soccer for 18 years since I was a kid this group seems to have the most talent than any other generation.

  4. Keno I don’t know if it’s a good idea to build an offense around Lee Seung Woo to be honest. It is unfortunate that Kwon Changhoon was injured this year but he too got a goal scoring touch and if he gets back in form from his injury and maintain good shape we will have another weapon to use in our arsenal. I think the true player to build our offense around has to be Lee Kang In, this guy is truly a prodigy and he dominated against men, fully grown men that were 4 years older than him or more. It’s unfortunate the 3 year ban stunted our three great barca boys but this didn’t happen to our precious Lee Kang In and if you think Lee Seung Woo can be a Star Lee Kang In will be a super star.

    • Honestly, I haven’t really seen Lee Kang In play besides some highlight reels , but highlight reels are just that highlight reels so I can not say. I’ll take your word for it though and am excited to see him play in the future. Obviously the current golden boy isn’t so golden. Maybe for club but not for nation. Bless him for trying though and trying to be more than he is. No one can question his effort or commitment.

      • I have to agree with you here, I am a big fan of Song but you had a point, he shouldn’t have looked the other way when Hwang was shooting the penalty kick, unlike Song, Lee was ready to pounce the rebound. I seen so much poise from a young 20 year old and he was very calm and collected. He did not let the frustrations impede his judgment unlike Song Heung Min although perhaps Song had so much more pressure as he was the captain and the face of the entire Korean National team. I know so many Korean National Fans being pessimistic and overly cautious and the u-23 showed poor results to some of our top prospects like Kim Jung Min and Kim Min Jae but they are still young and 4 years later I seriously hope they develop really well. Thank you for responding to me Keno.

  5. From Steve Han’s Twitter page:

    Kim Min-jae on a potential Korea-Japan final: “It’s been on every player’s mind. All of us should jump off the plane if we lose to Japan in the final. They’re a team we can’t and won’t lose to.”

    Anyone else tired of this? Choi Kanghee said some other BS, like “Don’t come back if you don’t get gold”. I hate that attitude. It’s obviously good to want to win and have a warrior mentality, but I hate the jump off a plane crap. I mean, kids listen to this. Just overwhelming negativity- I know it’s Korean, but I’m influenced by western culture I guess.

    • Tbh I freaking love it… this is the tuhon mentality man. It shows motivation. Losing to our archenemies is unacceptable.

    • Jon as a Korean I have to tell you this kind of thing I feel is very normal in the Korean culture. I am a York University student studying in Toronto, Canada and my mom tells me if I fail to get A or A+ I should kill myself before she kills me . Even I make those jokes at times and so does many Koreans that I seen in Toronto. I don’t know how to explain but we have extreme pressures on ourselves and to fail is unthinkable, its sort of like the Japanese honor system and Senpuku lmao.

  6. Go Korea!
    Haven’t commented here in a long time but just wanted to say thank you to all the writers on this website. Appreciate it.

    One more match Korea needs to win and they bring back the gold.

    Also the women’s team did a great job.

  7. Jon I mean I think the players know their situation, they took this tournament extremely serious and put 3 overagers in the under 23 tournament when almost no team in the asian games did. Japanese team although quite talented don’t have the wealth of experience at this team does and we have players that are very well known. I understand your point of view but try to see the perspective from korean netizens and korean players alike. Losing to a team that never took this tournament seriously to even begin with and fail to get military exemption from one of the best way to get it will be extremely humiliating for the korean national team.

    • Totally get it, and agree with everything you said. I understand WHY he said it, just have a problem with the WAY he said it. Perhaps being coached by Choi Kanghee in the Kleague will create that attitude. You notice that the players in Europe never talk that way. But YES for sure they are under enormous pressure. Just don’t need to hear jokes about suicide, and don’t want Korean kids to hear that either. I know I’m sensitive, guess I’m getting old lol

      • P.S. I’m not trying to be a troll at all 😉 Just trying to add some (cordial) discussion to my beloved Tavern. Don’t kick me out Tavern bouncer..

        • Haha I don’t even think your comment was wrong at all, it was extremely thought provoking and I love it. Haha we all are getting overly sensitive, Jon what do you think of the new coach btw I hope the Tavern writers write about him its been almost 2 weeks since his hire I never even knew we had a new coach until one of my friends told me.

  8. Its japan vs korea… enough said… anyone remember koo ja chul in Olympics vs japan …no one in korea forgets the history between us… it’s always personal when we play them

  9. I agree that a Son without all of the pressure on him is the best Son. That’s why he thrives at Spurs. He has Kane, Dele, and Eriksen to help score and create (and looks like Moura is playing well in Son’s absence… Anyway…), and that frees up Son. I will be the first to admit that I really questioned the Hwang Ui-jo call up (favoring Suk instead), but he really has had quite the tournament. Glad to see him playing so well, feeding off the other players, and scoring. Hwang Hee-chan’s finishing is not quite that clinical so it’s a relief to see him link up so well with his teammates (granted he’s still only 22 but let’s not get our hopes up that he is the striker to answer our prayers just yet). And Lee SW is a fresh sight for Korean football. Glad to see him giving it his all this tournament; we’ll have plenty of time to debate the future of the KNT and Lee SW, Paik SH, Lee KI, so let’s just go out and win this year’s Asian Games!

    This is it! Really the final that we were all hoping for. This reminds me of the 2012 bronze medal match in London, when a team comprising our last generation of KNT stars (Kim Young-gwon, Ki SY, Kim Bo-kyung, Ji DW, Koo JC, and last but not least Park Chu-young) fended off Japan, 2-0, to earn military exemption. Let’s hope this year’s cast of characters (Son, Cho, Lee SW, Hwang HC, Hwang UJ, Kim MJ, et al) accomplish the same feat. So close! Let’s go!

    Also, not going to weigh in one way or another on Kim MJ’s comments from before, but just as a reminder to everyone, there is historical context to what he said, dating back to the 1950s…

    At any rate, let’s go win this!

  10. Hwang Ul-jo, I still don’t know much about him but he appears to be in the right position at the right time. That’s a good thing.

  11. I agree that Son should by no means be the playmaker for the KTN. He might excell on the U23 level in that role, but on international level creating, tactical intelligence and first touch (very important in playmaker role!) has always been his weakness. At the World Cup Son coulsnt excell as the tactics were only built around him “just get son shooting”. Imo if he can just play as one member of the team not the main player who should do everything, I think he can help us more, as he’ll be left with space more often that way. I hope Kwons skills will not be harmed by his injury. An attack with Kwon, LeeSW, Lee Kangin would have quality like weve never had before. Lee Jae Sung is also fucking good if he has a bit of space.
    Hwang Shouldnt play as Striker imo, he plays much better as Winger. Hes fast and gets good low crosses in, remember his assist against Honduras?

    I do also agree with Jon that such harsh statements arent good for players psyche, it just builds up to much pressure. Its only focused on avoidance not achievement, it rather creates fear thus constricts the mind instead of freeing it.

    • First touch weak? Son’s first touch is one of the best, whether in Tottenham or Asian Games.

      Son’s biggest weakness is not first touch or tactical intelligence, it is his crosses. He is good at short pass, but his crossing is lacking. I don’t know if this is Korean systematic issue, but every time I watch Korean players in international matches, their crosses are subpar at most. Based on the stat in 17-18 season, Son’s cross success rate is the lowest in Tottenham team, and he would struggle if he plays it like deep lying playmaker. Also, his defensive capabilities are lesser, which is why it is difficult if he drops too deep.

      Son has strong offensive mindset, so when you play him too defensively, his weakness (defensive capabilities) will be glaring.

      Tactically, Son can be played 7, 9, 10, or 11. However, because Son plays too often as 7, his experience as winger excel. Now he’s 26. Maybe under Poch, his weakness will be tone down and learn to be more defensive, which is now seen in recent games. But there is a reason why Son can play as 10. As long as Son doesn’t drop too deep, it would’ve been fine for him as 10. Plus, it would be great experience for him to be 10 since his strength includes positional fluidity and intelligence.

  12. Yes, I’m also excited to see what the future holds for Korea. Things are definitely looking up. Winning gold in this tournament will be huge for the national soccer team and the players coming up. Thanks to Tavern for all the coverage from top to bottom- I’m pretty pumped.

  13. Update: Just saw the press conference with Lee Seung-woo. He was in obvious discomfort and grimaced while rubbing his right knee. Something to keep an eye on.

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