Last international game for Cha Du-Ri set for Tuesday March 31st at Seoul World Cup Stadium to honor the man, the son of Cha Bum-Kun, the last professionally active link to the pioneering legend that propelled Korean football in a whole new light. Here’s a preview of what we might expect from Uli Stielike’s Taeguk Warriors and a glimpse into the future of their World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign.
Korea v New Zealand MARCH 31 7am US EST / 8 pm Korea Time
US Broadcasts: none (creative options available)
Korea Broadcast: MBC
After a dismal 1-1 draw with Uzbekistan Friday, on the surface Uli Stielike will be looking for a convincing win as a psychological boost to morale and keep a sense of calm in the court of public opinion. Looking past that, Uli hasn’t seen all his option players, including Ji Dong-Won. The reality is, Uli is still tinkering with some aspects of the squad given he’s only had 6 months as national coach. However, if we are to make anything out of his sightings at K-League Classic and Challenge matches, he is looking deep to discover all aspects of the Korean football landscape.
Korea has played New Zealand 6 times, won 5 and drew only once – however it’s been 15 years since the last time the senior teams have faced each other in friendly competition. If there’s any indication of the strength of the squads in comparison, the U23 squads have played each other in July 2012 as a tuneup before Korea’s fairly successful Olympic campaign (in which Korea would go on to win the Bronze against Japan and military exemption). Park Chu-Young scored a wicked backheel in the New Zealand test match, Nam Tae-Hee would add to the score and Korea would go on to win 2-1.
Here’s what we know about changes to the lineup: Lee Jung-hyup (CF) and Jeong Dong-ho (RB) were injured in the Uzbekistan match.
Jeong Dong-ho returning to his club at Ulsan. Stielike had already announced well before the Uzbekistan match that Ji Dong-Won would start against New Zealand -and we know Cha will start in RB. Most likely Cha would play roughly the first half before heading out for the sunset. Replacing Cha could be Kim Chang-Soo.
Since Kim Seung-Gyu (GK) had his turn on Friday, Kim Jin-Hyeon will probably get his turn between the sticks on Tuesday.
There are questions about Son and whether he is gassed. With all the travel, etc, it might not be a bad idea for Son to be a super sub on Tuesday. Same could go for Ki Sung-Yeung.
Lee Jae-Sung had a very good debut for his first cap -so that begs the question: Lee, Kim Bo-Kyung, Nam Tae-Hee or Koo Ja-Cheol in the hole? All candidates Stielike will have to sift through…
Here’s a possible lineup for Tuesday:
[swap Kim Young-Gwon and Kim Ju-Young]
4-2-3-1. It’s not a radical departure, but tests out some ideas (and with Yun’s case at LB, give him the Uzbekistan game to settle things). *Tavern writers more familiar with Kim Eun-Sun and Lee Jae-Sung with their respective K-League clubs, let me know if the above are way out of position for them. Here’s what I have a problem with: Ki Sung-Yeung could (and actually should) get a rest, but who would fill his boots? Korea’s best XI would ALWAYS include Ki -provided he’s healthy. Supposedly, if there’s a way to experiment with who could be in line to be Ki’s understudy, this might be the match.
Tavern contributor Takeuchi offered this idea for the starting XI on Tuesday:
A 4-4-2 diamond that morphs into a 4-3-1-2 featuring Park Joo-Ho as LB, Kim Young-Gwon and Kim Ki-Hee as the CB pair and Son and Ji up top. In a versatile diamond, Kim Bo-Kyung, Lee Jae-Sung and Koo Ja-Cheol could all swap positions.
*What will the shape of the KNT look like in the coming World Cup campaign? I may have led on too much with that promise of delving into that – it really deserves it’s own post. However, this is indeed a transitional time with the Asian Cup out of the way; we are beginning to see some elements of what Stielike’s long term vision will look like. Perhaps the first half in Uzbekistan was that first glimpse. The full picture isn’t even close to being assembled -consider that certain key players due to injury/recovery weren’t called up for the March friendlies, including Kim Jin-Su and Lee Chung-Yong. If Park Chu-Young should ever find his mojo again for FC Seoul, that could bolster more up-front options for the national team. And we haven’t even talked about the current U22 squad who will be competing next summer in the Rio Olympics, nor for that matter any other younger talented prospects in various academies across Europe who, in theory, offer some additional youthful energetic possibilities. Again, we will have to leave that tantalizing thought for another post for another time.
Though they are FIFA ranked 133, New Zealand’s national squad has active players in the A-League and a few abroad in Europe. They just missed out the 2014 World Cup in a Oceania v CONCACAF playoff with Mexico (Mexico won 2-0 as their final ‘back from the dead’ revitalization effort). The All Whites captain Winston Reid (West Ham defender) however will miss out on Tuesday due to injury. One player to look out for is their rising young star, Bill Tuiloma, who just broke into Marseille’s first team last February. Here’s a short video on his European top flight education and what it’s meant for his family. In short, while New Zealand’s national football program is fundamentally hampered -in that they only have semi-pro ball domestically, don’t count them and their Māori tribe warriors out. Case in point, Auckland City FC, despite being a semi-pro team that includes amateurs, fought their way to a miraculous 3rd place win over Mexico’s Cruz Azul in last December’s FIFA Club World Cup.
Back to Cha Du-Ri, it will be his moment in Seoul. The KFA produced his short video as a promo:
and let’s take one last look in tribute to the Chaminator:
Extra Time: Korea’s Men’s Olympic squad just won their latest AFC U23 Championship qualifier in Indonesia, this time a 3-0 win over East Timor. Brace by Moon Chang-jin (16′ 46′) and a goal by Kim Seung-jun (43′).
Last Friday, Korea’s Olympic squad beat Brunei 5-0 with goals by LEE Yeongjae (2′) JUNG Seunghyun(28′) KIM Hyun(38′) KWON Changhoon(64′) JANG Hyunsoo(75′).
I don’t think the result or performance vs Uzbekistan was dismal (okay, 2nd half if was). I was very critical of Uli Stielike in Asian Cup & attributed the results more to being “lucky”. However, I liked what I saw in opening 30 mins vs solid Uzbek side. The graphics might have had KNT in 4-2-3-1 but what I really saw was 4-3-3 pressing in defense & fluid 4-1-4-1 in attack. The 4 attacking midfielders (LJS, Kimbo, Koo, and Son) were compact & interchanged quiet often. Some good build-ups in open play (something that was missing for a long period with KNT) & organized pressing in defense.
Of course, it all went downhill once LJH got injured. Ki’s introduction more or less ruined the overall shape & good organization in the opening 30 mins. It was clearly visible he was fatigued/tired. Also, Koo at CF role didn’t work…. it’s not his natural position & it clearly showed.
Thanks for your observation – yes agreed – 2nd dismal but 1st half was encouraging – the entire match wasn’t all bad. Honestly I wasn’t able to see the match very well (stream came in and out and sick 2 year old took me out of the game). How would you rate Lee Jung-Hyup before his injury?
I’m still unsure of LJH. He works hard though…
I really want to see KNT play in 4-4-2 diamond/4-3-1-2 …
something like this vs New Zealand
Kimbo, LJS, and Koo can all swap positions.
Interesting! I’ll update the post to include that lineup…
Park Moon-sung offered a very similar suggestion in an article (not sure if you saw it).
huh! he’s got a diamond 4-4-2/4-3-1-2 as well with Son and Ji up top.
PJH at the bottom of the diamond? No thanks. As for overall formation/tactic(?), you and I have been begging for it for some time? No? For me, I wanted to see it in 2014 WC under HMB….
4-4-2 diamond/4-3-1-2.. and eventually, into 4-3-3 later in the WC cycle (around 2017?).
I missed that – agreed – PJH at the bottom diamond not the best idea. Ki would be more natural there rather than on the wing of that.
So…4-3-3 to implement later…could it be tried out sooner or no?
A 4-3-3 seems like the best bet long-term, but I’d be hesitant to use it now with Lee CY injured. An asymmetrical 4-4-2 (similar to the shape used by Real Madrid) is another idea. Park JH in a semi LM spot to cover to Son HM with the other three more central.
Forgot to mention this in the other preview post too, but I’m almost 100% sure that KYG plays on the left and KJY on the right.
Gotcha, Thx!! I’ll try to get that fixed…
This would seem to be the general consensus among Korean media for the starting XI.
Only position not with a general consensus is at CB where most think it’ll be Kim YG and either Kim JY or Kwak TH.
YSY at left back? Sigh, I prefer PJH at LB and Kimbo/Kim Eun-Sun(?) paired with Ki instead.
None of the media predicted Park JH at LB (all had Yoon) as most (3/4) had him in the MD next to Ki. Kimbo doesn’t appear in any of the XIs while just one had Kim ES starting (perhaps not fully recovered from illness?).
good observation! I too, thought that the team vs Uzbeks played more like 4-1-4-1 with Han as holding MF, LJS and Son switching flanks out wide and Kimbo and Koo down the middle.
IMO it’s important to find another CM who can cover for Ki, so that if Ki’s out injured or Ki was to played more attacking role, this other CM can slot in.. unfortunately Han is not capable of doing that.
Anyway, I just want to point out that here in NZ, most ppl are expecting KNT to thrash the All Whites, as this AW team is composed of mostly inexperienced youngsters. Some ppl are even criticizing the coach (Hudson) that he’s taking this game vs Korea too lightly (IMO he’s not taking it lightly, he just wants to experiment more with lesser known players)
Looking forward to the game tonight!
Might be a bit late, but this is what I think/want to see tonight (subs in brackets)…
Kim Jin Hyeon
Cha Du Ri (Kim Chang Soo) – Kim Ju Young – Kim Young Gwon – Yun Suk Young
Ki Sung Yueng (Kim Kee Hee) – Kim Bo Kyung (Kim Eun Sun)
Han Kyo Won (Nam Tae Hee) – Lee Jae Sung – Koo Ja Cheol
Ji Dong Won (Son Heung Min)
your predicted starting XI wasn’t off by much
some interesting reads for you guys.. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/football-soccer/news/article.cfm?c_id=86&objectid=11425964
some interesting articles and perspectives there, thanks for sending that!
BTW, how do you like living there in NZ?