If you haven’t checked out our new writer Michael Welch’s preview post, check that out here!
1N the NUMB3RS
36.7 – The amount of possession that Korea had against Colombia. Shin Taeyong, however, wasn’t bothered:
2-1 – The scoreline of the last game between Korea and Serbia. It was the dog days of summer in 2011, Cho Kwang-Rae was the manager. Korea lined up in a 4-3-3, and Cho’s Total Football a la Korea philosophy was in full force, with Lee Yongrae, Ki Sungyeung and Kim Jungwoo the three midfielders. Captain Park Chuyoung opened the scoring in the 10th minute, before leftback Kim Younggwon scored his first international goal.
12 – The number of months since Korea went 2 wins out of 2 in an international break. This was, of course, last year against Canada and Uzbekistan.
4 – The number of caps left for Ki Sungyueng to reach 100 appearances in a KNT shirt. This game could inch him ever closer to that prestigious century and bring him on par with Park Jisung.
12.1 – The number of kilometres that Ki Sungyueng ran vs Colombia.
100 – Branislav Ivanovic, Serbia’s captain, will get his 100th cap if he comes on or starts for Serbia in today’s friendly.
53 – The number of months since Ulsan Munsu World Cup Stadium hosted a KNT match. The last game here was the infamous final World Cup qualifier of the 2014 campaign against Iran, when Korea lost 1-0 but still qualified for the Brazil World Cup. We’re back on the south coast!
22 – The average meters between the last man (excluding goalkeeper) and the first man when defending for the Korean national team against Colombia. In comparison, Colombia’s average was 33m.
“WHAT THEY SAID”
“Some players may be rotated, but there will not be any major changes. We have a squad of hard-working players, so even if some change, the team’s will and effort will not change.”
“We traditionally have some difficulty with these teams (Eastern European sides) because we lack in physicality. But we have to work hard and rise to the challenge, as it is possible that we face a side like this in the World Cup.”
“Our defensive positioning on set-pieces wasn’t enough against Colombia. And neither was it good enough last international break. From now, we must concentrate and train more on set-pieces, avoid repeating mistakes. There’s no margin for error against European sides.”
“We knew the fans were not satisfied with our performances. It made things difficult, the atmosphere was heavy and I felt a lot of weight upon my shoulders. Now, my mind has become much clearer. The players are moving better, and especially are more confident. Though Serbia will be vigorous opponents, I do not expect our squad’s confidence to be damaged.”
Mladen Krstajić (Serbian caretaker):
“Though I visited Korea in 2000 as part of the Yugoslavian national team, I know that Korean soccer has improved tremendously since.”
“All that is important tomorrow is to show a good performance in the stadium. Against China, we were able to play naturally.”
…game time notes…
Goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu picked up an injury in training…Shin Taeyong says he will evaluate all options…it could be a national team debut for Daegu FC’s rising star Cho Hyunwoo…But Kim Jinhyeon is the most likely option… Most observers expect another 4-4-2 from Korea…No word on whether Lee Keunho will start given injury picked up before halftime…The game will be another audition for Mladen Krstajic, the Serbian coach elevated to caretaker…Serbia sacked their manager after qualification.
So lucky just to get a tie.
Honestly Koo’s penalty was total BS. He was barely touched in the back when the Serbian player was jumping to head the ball… WTF?! Not saying he flopped but even if the fall was legitimate, no way that should be a penalty (even Koo looked surprised and Korean commentators too)
And sorry to fans of Son… he CLEARLY dove in the 81st min and proceeded to act like a little bitch when he didn’t get a penalty. I REALLY hate that style of football.
In fact, Son did a great job acting like a petulant child in this game (sadly foreshadowing the crybaby tears [AGAIN] at the World Cup if Korea gets knocked out in the group stage)…. such a shame after his solid performance against Colombia.
Kwon Changhoon was the best player for me.
Yes Korea was a little lucky to get a draw, but they still played well against a good European team. Some of the players, especially the fullbacks, were a little sloppy today. Again, Korea showed some good buildup play and had a good shape defensively for most of the game. I applaud STY for sticking to the same formation and not tinkering too much.
Koo and Son definitely went down too easily. I hope to not see this again from Korea. These players are not known for diving. It’s no excuse, but I think their actions were a result of being desperate for a win. Hopefully, VAR at the world cup can prevent players from diving and other disgraceful acts.