The Return of Park Chu-Young: Greece 0 : Korea 2

It’s been over a year since Park Chu-Young rejoined the KNT for the start of today’s crucial friendly with Greece. Crucial and friendly usually aren’t in the same sentence, but this was a high stakes test of overall World Cup fitness -could Korea away from home deliver? Before the game, tension was rising, so much on the line as many including Hong Myong-Bo and Park Chu-Young himself said it would be his last chance to show he deserved a spot in Korea’s World Cup lineup. 18 minutes into the match Park Chu-Young latched onto a beautifully delivered pass by Son Heung-Min, smashing a brilliant volley past Greece’s Panagiotis Glykosto on into the net to surge Korea ahead against the FIFA 12th ranked nation. The electric moment marked the return of Park Chu-Young. [Park’s goal starts :36 seconds in]

Here’s another angle of Park’s shot:

Son did well to zero in on Park making his run and delivered his overhead pass with deadly precision.

Park in the starting XI made a difference and the team overall looked different – I’d say more effective. When not scoring, particularly before his goal, Park linked up well with his teammates, and delivered a stellar pass to bring Lee Chung-Yong one on one with the keeper – his shot was on target but the so-so finishing allowed the keeper to get enough to block it from going in.

Hong once again made a controversial and risky move adding Park into this roster despite Park’s lack of minutes in Europe lately. His faith (and perhaps all of ours) was justly rewarded. For those who listened in on the last Tavern Live Hangout, we discussed whether Park would score and if so, would he do the sliding on knee/prayer scoring celebration. He did (Dammit Park -don’t risk injuring your 28 year old knees! AND Don’t make me sound like my hal-mo-nee in reprimanding you to stay safe all the time!)   Hong gave Park a rest and installed Kim Shin-Wook for the start of the 2nd half, with an uneasy 1-0 lead…

And yet it was the 21 year old Son Heung-Min, even as inconsistent as he was, who had another moment of sheer brilliance to double the lead 10 minutes into the 2nd half.

Captain Koo Ja-Cheol with the assist. See that tight angle? Son’s left footed shot surprised the keeper, bounced off the post- and another international goal notched for the Bayer Leverkusen wingman.

Experiment over and the results are in: most of his European based players gelled with the handful of domestic based players, enough for the lineup to work and be productive. Korea looked like they enjoyed a good possession rate – and this time the finishing backed up and complimented their hard work to maintain time on the ball.  At this point, Hong’s roster looks fairly sealed up, today’s stating XI is expected to be pretty much his World Cup starting XI of choice. Hong’s sub choices were quite revealing on his thoughts – interesting choices but didn’t seem effective tonight. There will be a some pundits scratching their heads and wondering why Park Joo-Ho (Mainz) and Ji Dong-Won (Augsburg/Borussia Dortmund) didn’t see any time tonight.

It was an encouraging result for the Taeguk Warriors.  FIFA ranking had us pegged at 61st. Korea won an away match at Athens, Greece for what FIFA deemed to be the 12th ranked team in the world.  Proving perhaps that FIFA’s ranking is as flawed, if not more so than the BCS system in the US.

Still, there are plenty of cracks in the system to be concerned with.  Defense got very lucky that they didn’t concede 2-3 goals that could and should have easily went in. From BSK forum, a poster there remarked: “the crossbar was a better keeper than Jung Sung-Ryong.” Ouch. I twittered during the match:

 That backline at various time, particularly defending against set pieces (yet again), gave me heart attacks. I think I’m going to need a defibrillator while watching the World Cup. John Duerden remarked:

According to Greek media outlet ekathimerini‘s match report, there were a number of  Korean supporters on hand for the friendly. “The national team was outrun, outsmarted and outdone by South Korea…there were times when the Greek players could do no more than just watch the tricks the Koreans pulled on the pitch, to the excitement of the 300-strong following the Asian visitors had on the night…”

And Young Hoon-Kim offers his take from the game posted on

This isn’t the full match report – Jae Chee will be posting his post match analysis soon. Stay tuned for that AND both Jae, myself and Jinseok Yang as host will broadcast another Tavern Hangout on Google.  Broadcast time: Friday 5pm US EST / Saturday 7am Korea time. If you don’t get to catch it live – it will be a youtube video that you can access on demand at the Tavern.  More details to come soon at the Tavern.


Last thoughts? He is STILL the leading scorer on KNT…so good to see Park Chu-Young’s name return to the scoreline. It simply is The Return of Park Chu-Young.  The dream continues.  Dae Han Min-Guk.


About Roy Ghim 454 Articles
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  1. I honestly had to recheck if Greece was in the WC they were so out of it.

    I thought it was a great game by KNT and i was REALLY impressed by the disparity of this team and the one taken to the US recently by Hong. Massive disparity to say the least. No team should be this thin.

    Hong seems to be well on his philosophy that many managers are implementing these days. Retention is power. Concerning though that this Greek team really didnt test us so its hard to say what we walked away with lesson wise. The A team has nice chemistry and Im starting to see why he brought back popular veterans who haven’t been doing much lately. I thought that especially of the Cha call up. He’s definitely a locker room presence this team is in need of.

    It was good to see the positive charge in everyones eyes when PCY scored. Ive been against the move but honestly I almost lost my shit when that happened. I hope he has the best tournament of his career and reestablishes himself somewhere good. Watching him wallow during the prime of his career was painful for a lot of us. Good job PCY

    It absolutely grates me when people say things like “we should’ve scored 2 so really its more of a tie” You really score what you’re capable of. But 2 beamers in one run of play? Insane. But don’t be fooled. Our defense and GK look SCARY bad still.

    • I agree with you that the defense looked bad and the GK played average rather than bad, though in the World Cup average will at some point be the same thing as bad. Also, just to rub it in a little more ;), this is exactly what I meant by PJY needing to be on the NT regardless of playing time. He demonstrated what I and some others here have been saying all along. No matter how little he’s been playing, no one has demonstrated that they have either more talent or better finishing to remotely replace him or at least bring to the World Cup in his stead. However, just like you, I’m very concerned about the defense. I think a lot of people were hating on Go Yo Han in the past, right? Well, I never really paid attention to him, but though he played better than in other matches, I have to agree with others at least with the haterade. There’s just something about the way he plays that annoys me. I think he reminds me too much of the past when players who weren’t as talented tried to get away with blunt and crude playing, which I differentiate from hustle. It’s kind of a thuggish type of play. Kind of like Skrtl of Liverpool (go Liverpool, btw). But, hey, a playa’s gotta play, I guess.

        • lol! sorry. it wasn’t go yo han. doh! i can’t remember who now though. maybe i’m talking about han guk young. my eyes must have been imagining things. i thought it was strange that he would have been called up. if it was han guk young, i have to say, i was thoroughly unimpressed. my comments stand. he was not a pretty sight. i like that he’s tough. but he looked.. bad. it seemed more like he tried to make up for mistakes by going a little extra aggressive. but someone can let me know if i’m just imagining even more things.

  2. And its good to see finally that Son was the difference maker here. MOTM honors. Ive been waiting for a performance like this from him since he became a member. Bodes well.

  3. I just wanted to say that even though Jung Sungryong looked very hesitant at times and got caught out of position a few times, some of those moments actually aren’t as bad as he made it look. I’m only saying this because I think people will probably think he played worse than he actually did, even though I also don’t think he played stellar either. for instance, during the mad scramble it seemed like he was in bad positions, but he was generally where he should be and only looked awkward cuz of the chaos of the pinball sequence. Also, in the first video during the free kick at 4:06, he looked really, really bad, but though it’s not in this video, from a different angle he was actually where he needed to be in order to defend if the Greek player connected on the end of the free kick. He just looked incredibly silly because the player and everyone else for that matter missed completely. There were some moments not on that clip though where he was clearly getting caught in no-man’s land. I hope to see less of that and a little more confidence next time. Everyone knows his skills and talent are kind of average, but it seems to me that for a goalie, having confidence and positioning (yea, yea, that’s a skill, too, I know) make up for a whole lot.

      • Tbh I’m going to put an 80% percentage that Cha is going to Brazil. He’s been at 3 World Cups and he’s a decent backup to Lee Yong.

        It might end up being a fitness race between Kim Chang Soo and Cha Du Ri though.

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