Earlier today Korea played its final warmup match before facing Fiji in the Olympics group stages. As the scoreline suggests, it was a fairly entertaining game. To sum it up, it’s pretty much just what we expected: great offense (in the second half at least), not-so-great defense. And as you may have already heard from the media, Hwang Hee Chan went into complete beast mode:
*disclaimer: none of the Tavern writers were able to watch this game (and highlights have yet to be uploaded), so I am completely going off of fan reports and media articles – I will not have much tactical information, or any insights on what worked / what didn’t work this time, aside from the overused mantra “Attack good, Defense bad.” Post may be updated once highlights / full match comes out.
Two key players were not fit to play this game – namely, Suk Hyun Jun and Lee Chan Dong, who picked up injuries in the friendly loss to Iraq (and SHM has yet to join up with the team in Brazil). So, STY played what would be our strongest XI without those three players:
At the start, Korea looked pretty poor – something about the 4-2-3-1 was off. There were pass misses everywhere. Counterattacks were initiated but quickly fizzled out – due to poor passes. There were elements of back luck as well, with Kwon Chang Hoon failing to score a open net.
In the middle of the second half the pass misses proved costly with Shim Sang Min turning the ball over in a poor location giving Sweden an easy chance to score.
But in the 38th minute Sweden’s GK went way off his line to chase a ball towards the left edge of the PK box. At that distance, it was probably wise to just go back to goal and hope Korea wouldn’t score from it, but instead, the GK followed JHS all the way out… and conceded a penalty.
JHS missed his PK (I believe it was his first miss ever). Ironically / Appropriately (however you want to think about it), Moon Chang Jin of all people got to the rebound and scored, bringing his U23 goal tally to 15.
Early in the second half, Hwang Hee Chan decided to go into God mode and provided a fantastic assist to.. Moon Chang Jin. For his 16th goal of the tournament.
Hwang Hee Chan God Mode continued with this fantastic run:
This guy is only 20 years old…. if he starts showing form against actual opposition (Austria 1st division, not Austria 2nd division), HHC must be called up to the KNT immediately.
Then he made another dribble that led to an assist for RSW. 3-1 Korea.
The game wouldn’t end before another defensive lapse, however – this time due to a slight error from Choi Kyu Baek (highlight video is not released, but we will update this post when it happens.)
STRIKER DILEMMA: Suk Hyun Jun came on towards the dying minutes but apparently, in the short moments he had with the ball he was poor. Meanwhile, Hwang Hee Chan continues with his form. What do we do against Fiji? Let SHJ gel with the team while risking aggravating his injury? Or save SHJ until Germany but make it his first game ever with the team / risk a very out-of-form SHJ? After this game, fans (and STY) will certainly be questioning the widely-acknowledged notion that SHJ = starter, HHC = off the bench.
DEFENSE DILEMMA: So it continues – even with a completely different CB pairing the mental lapses continue. We did see in 2012 that Kim Young Kwon and Hwang Seok Ho, two famously error prone CBs, ended up focusing like mad, forming a watertight defense, and conceding only 4 goals, 3 from Brazil and 1 from a Aaron Ramsey PK. Meaning, STY has a LOT of work to do – maybe he should call up Hong Myung Bo and ask what exactly happened that turned KYK from a error prone CB into an error-free one.
Park Yong Woo: When I read Tim’s DM article and saw that PYW was going to start every game I was thinking it should be Lee Chan Dong starting every game, not PYW. Many articles report that PYW played very well today. This makes me confident in his form going into the Olympics, but I still don’t trust PYW as the lone DM in a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-4-2 diamond unless the opposition is Fiji.