Myanmar 0 : 2 Korea World Cup Qualifier 2018 [update]

Korea’s notched their first win in the road to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, a 0-2 win “away” against Myanmar. Not convincing, but at least wasn’t one of several shocking results around Asia, including the biggest jaw dropper: a draw for hosts Japan with 154th ranked Singapore. We’ll take a look at today’s match, the highlights and lowlights, and take a quick spin around the other WCQ’s in the AFC region.

*updated: we fixed a few links including a video of scoring highlights, edited a bit of grammar. What’s that song from that sh*tty 80’s band, “I’m only human…”  

The quick and dirty can be found here in a summary match report by Yonhap news.

Many of you Tavern goers (especially in the US and Canada) missed the match with it’s 8am EST kickoff, so to get a feel for what happened today, let’s reconstruct the game in unorthodox Tavern fashion.

The starting XI for Korea – a 4-2-3-1 formation

…                    Lee Jung-Hyup

Yeom Ki-Hoon       Lee Jae-Sung       Son Heung-Min

…      Jung Wu-Young       Han Kook-Young

Kim Jin-Su      Jang Hyun-Soo      Kwak Tae-Hwi     Kim Chang-Soo

…                      Kim Seung-Gyu


Selection critique will have to be tempered with the fact a number of European based players are serving short summer stints in the Korean military (even military exempt players have to put in some time).  Ji Dong-Won, Kim Bo-Kyung, Koo Ja-Cheol, Park Joo-Ho absences (+ Ki Sung-Yeung injury) compelled Stielike to look further inward domestically for a squad capable of dispatching Myanmar.

Prematch: It’s worth noting critics back home were voicing concerns about the Lee Jung-Hyup call up as center forward when there were a number of other tangible options to try out.  Why not Suk Hyun-Jun (Vitoria Setubal) who was in good form this spring with outstanding goals in Portugal, or Joo Min-Kyu, a hot striker for Seoul E-Land, leading both Lee Jung-Hyup and the rest of the K-League Challenge with 11 goals and multiple hat tricks already for the brand new Martin Rennie-led club.  This outcome wasn’t really in doubt, not after picking apart an uninspired UAE last Thursday 3-0. The team that knocked out Japan in the Asia Cup quarterfinals didn’t show up.  Too bad, as we didn’t really see Stielike’s experimental selection get fully tested.

1st half summarized by this:  chances, chances and more chances.  Let’s take a twitter-cast look:



First half in the books. Korea in control as expected but still can’t convert chances efficiently. Only a 1 goal lead against a clearly weaker team, Team Korea had to look back over their shoulders because before halftime expired, it was FT in Japan and Singapore earned the first positive result ever against the Blue Samurai, 0-0 draw.  No changes for Korea into the 2nd half…    

Jeong Dong-ho subbed in for the injured RB in the 62nd minute. 65′ Son finally shows his talent, skipping by a couple defenders, but LJH’s Yeom’s volley lacks technique and goes out for a GK    

FT: Myanmar  0  : 2 Korea




A few notes as the dust settles:

        • Expected to win, sure. But this many chances squandered – against such a poor opponent, you’d have to wonder what’s going through Stielike’s head.  If we  narrowly focus on the center forward, the terribly ineffective Lee Jung-Hyub stayed in until close to the 80th minute mark. What was Stielike waiting for?  His favorite striker from out of the blue (sort of) came through for him during the Asia Cup but even then never looked convincing.  The Sangju Sangmu man had mostly heavy touches, unforced turnovers, and looked utterly lost.  This is the selection we had to endure for most of the game, picked over Suk Hyun-Jun and Joo Min-Kyu?  (out of Stielike’s control: Kang Su-il sent home for doping violations. Damn shame as it would’ve been interesting to see what he would have been able to do).



      •  Korea looked in control, never really bothered Kim Seung-Gyu or the backline. But the cleansheet perhaps had more to do with the Burmese counter attacks fizzling out from a lack of quality on their end than spectacular defending. One telling moment from the 1st half, Kim Seung-Gyu had some mixup with Jang Hyun-soo while a Myanmar striker lurked nearby. Curious as why Hong Jeong-Ho didn’t start.  Hong had been in very good form for Augsburg as they finished strong with late season wins -including one against Bayern Munich.



      • Looking to the midfield: Jung Woo-Young, decent against UAE, a poorer showing today with a mix of defensive errors and passing problems. Yeom Ki-Hoon looked better in the first half, but not so in the 2nd.  He made way eventually for Lee Chung-Yong. Son Heung-min had a somewhat dubious 1st half of jittery-dribbling followed by a dynamic and confident 2nd – bypassing defenders and putting an exclamation point on a hard hit freekick goal. Lee Jae-Sung proved his worth with his header in the first (but flubbed some shots as well).



      • Substitutes: Lee Yong-Jae, UAE made him look good. Against Burma, Lee Yong-Jae looked mortal. 2 great chances, 2 gifts for the keeper. Still, an improvement over Lee Jung-Hyup, making runs and moving off the ball to open up space.



      • No goals from open play. Long running concern for a team that’s yet to solve it’s perpetual striker problem.  And if we’re really honest, the 2 goals scored from set pieces had more to do with inept goalkeeping.


      Can of Worms opening time: dare I say his name, Park Chu-Young might’ve been a more appropriate option -not that Park would want to get back into the cauldron himself until he notches some more goals for FC Seoul.  But you might say, Tavern Owner, give Stielike a break here?  Ok, I’m here to commend thinking outside the box. Selecting Yeom Ki-hoon and Jung Wu-Young is unorthodox. I’m ok with trying them out.  But I’m not sure that calling up Lee Jung-Hyup qualifies as outside box thinking.  If by logic, Stielike’s scoured J2 and K2 divisions, wouldn’t a player like Seoul E-Land’s Joo Min-Kyu get a look?  Or players not considered before in Europe like the aforementioned Suk Hyun-Jun?


Suk hyun jun video highlights


Jinseok may have more to say on other areas of concern regarding Stielike’s roster, but Lee Jung-Hyup, should he get the call again (when not much warrants it)  -should begin a conversation on whether Stielike is right for the managerial job anymore.      


Quick look around the AFC (prepare to be amazed!):  

Iran held by Turkmenistan 1-1

North Korea beat Uzbekistan 4-2

Guam beating India 2-1 (first WCQ win ever -here’s a Guardian article on that -scroll down further and you’ll see some terribly sexist comments by the head of Brazil’s FA. Bad timing man, bad timing #WWC).


Too bad for Bhutan, they fall to China 0 : 6 . As consolation, they have THE best kit and check out their home stadium, it breathtakingly beautiful

Australia brief scare with a 1-2 win at Krygzystan, Socceroos concede one at stoppage time but avoid a ‘Japan v Singapore’ moment.

Malaysia 0 : 6 Palestine   Not bad for the Palestinians.



Extra Time:

Here’s the WCQ left in this round (thanks to BSK):

(Home) September 3, 2015: Korea vs Laos @ TBA, South Korea.

(Away) September 8, 2015: Lebanon vs Korea @ Beirut, Lebanon.

(Away) October 8, 2015: Kuwait vs Korea @ Kuwait City, Kuwait.

(Home) November 12, 2015: Korea vs Myanmar @ TBA, South Korea.

(Away) November 17, 2015: Laos vs Korea @ Vientiane, Laos.

(Home) March 24, 2016: Korea vs Lebanon @ TBA, South Korea.

(Home) March 29, 2016: Korea vs Kuwait @ TBA, South Korea.



Extra Extra Time:

U22 Korea:  Moon Chang-Jin comes away with more positives than negatives after a 1-1 draw with France (in which he scores one and blows one by missing a PK in stoppage time) and Sunday’s 0-2 win at Tunisia (1 goal scored by Moon and a Moon FK resulting in OG).  A pretty contrite Moon said this after the 2 friendlies:

I will not do a Panenka anymore!”   – Moon Chang-Jin

His coach Shin Tae-Young offered up praise and was adamant that his playing time for Pohang at such a young age has already reaped benefits that was made apparent these past couple of days. Shin also revealed this interesting tidbit: the squad only trained for 3 days before the France game.  Not too shabby for the U22’s.

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  1. Anyone else notice how SHM is playing like he’s a deep lying playmaker? He’s always trying to be a playmaker and it’s annoying. Just go to the wings dude and create a shot and score a fucking goal for once.

  2. hey we won. 😀
    it may have not been Korea’s best day but in the end we got the victory like expected.
    wanna see Suk Hyun-Jun in action for the NT real soon!
    good job to Lee Jae Sung and SON HEUNG MIN!
    and i know it may be kind of early to ask but do you guys think Kim Jin Hyeon will be available for the 2018 World Cup?
    and kinda looking forward to the 2015 EAFF East Asian Cup… hope Park Chu Young makes the squad for that.

    • Hey Elliot – sorry for late answer

      If KJH stays in the form he’s been in of late (Asian Cup) there’s no reason why he can’t take us to 2018 as our no.1. But of course there are a lot of factors that could change this, and three years is a long time.

  3. Meh. Not great but good enough to beat myanmar. Will definitely need to improve on all cylinders, but it wasn’t our best 11. LJH is okay but not ideal. Really should leave PCY out of the picture until he is at least scoring a goal every two or three games.

  4. Picked up 3 pts. I think that’s all that matters atm. I personally don’t have any complaints of his selection in FWs for recent two fgames. I can understand Stielike’s selection of LJH (who scored for him in Asian Cup) and LYJ. Suk Hyun-Jun isn’t a traditional target FW who is active in pressing/defending (nor does he link up well with teammates). Joo Min-Kyu is unknown player for me but he seems more like 2ndary FW type. Can he lead the line? Is he the right fit for rather stale 4-2-3-1 formation/tactic we have seen so far under Stielike?

    However, I have a big issue on how the players performed. Uli Stielike doesn’t come off as tactician but a motivator type. He will have his basic formation & basic instructions… however, he seems to be the type who is demanding & provides freedom to players to figure things out on their own in the game. Is that the right approach? Asian players (due to culture) are accustomed to following instructions & playing specific role (thus the lack of flair & killer instinct from Asian players/teams). HKY is a player I like (and constantly defend) but he touched the ball far too much for my liking yesterday. He can recycle possession & often, his passes are forward to players in front of him. However, he is not the type who can start an attack or make cross field pass. Far too often, players would pass backwards or sideways to HKY. Too many players took the lazy & safe option. I expected more from LJS & JWY (big disappointment) in midfield…..

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