So, yeah. There’s a match tomorrow. If you forgot, don’t worry, most people seem to have forgotten about it. So much so, that there seems to be very little press about it. Hong Myeong-Bo has continued to do his best to scour the region (meaning the K and J Leagues) for hidden gems of talent. If the East Asian Cup is any indication, there aren’t many around, but Hong will look anyway.
Much of the roster is the same as the East Asian Cup. My brief analysis and list of the call ups can be found here.
I suspect that Hong Myeong-Bo will largely start an XI similar to the ones that started in the East Asian Cup, and then gradually sub the majority of them out at halftime and in the second half. So my WAG (that would be Wild A** Guess) of a starting XI is:
Kim Jin-Su should start on the left again. I think Lee Yong will get the nod at right back as Kim Chang-Soo has already well-established what he offers and that Hong Jeong-Ho will start as he continues to work his way back to his top level. I also expect Jang Hyun-Soo to step in as his defensive partner in the absence of Kim Young-Kwon. There are reports though that Hong will start Kim Chang-Soo and Hwang Seok-Ho in defense. Lee Keun-Ho seems the natural choice to start in one of the attacking midfield positions as I don’t think Hong will trust either Cho Chan-Ho or Lim Sang-Hyub with a start. I think Hong will stick with Kim Dong-Seob at striker, but fully expect to see Cho Dong-Gun and/or Baek Sung-Dong at some point. Ha Dae-Sung is still Hong’s captain and will start, Lee Myeong-Joo should start as well, although I suppose it’s possible Han Kook-Young could get a run out (although I expect he’ll sub in during the second half).
Peru, while not a big name in world football, is still a team with plenty of quality. While Hong Myeong-Bo is relying on domestic players, Peru coach, Sergio Markarian, has called up a strong squad for this match. They are led by captain Claudio Pizarro. Pizarro is a highly experienced forward who is currently on the roster of treble winning Bayern Munich. Even though he was solidly the third choice striker last season (behind Mandzukic and Gomez), Pizarro still managed to bag 13 goals in 28 appearances. Pizarro also holds the distinction of being the Bundesliga’s top foreign goal scorer of all time with 166 tallies next to his name. Likely to partner Pizarro is Paolo Guerrero who currently plays for Corinthians in Brazil, but has considerable experience in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich and Hamburg. These three players will likely offer the biggest test for Korea, as they will likely test the defense much more than others recent teams have.
Peru is currently facing an uphill fight to qualify for Brazil as they sit near the bottom with 14 points thus far, and only four matches left to play. That being said they are easily within reach of the playoff spot, and could still manage one of CONMEBOL’s four automatic spots. Jefferson Farfan is Peru’s highest scorer in qualifying so far with 4 goals.
Peru is expected to line up in a 4-4-2. Korea in a 4-2-3-1. In a typical match up between these two formations, Korea should be able to control possession given we should have an extra man in midfield. To counter this, Peru would likely need to drop Guerrero into a deeper position to pick up the third man (likely Lee Seung-Gi). I think that when Peru is on defense this will be the likely scenario. For Korea the big question is still can we can a goal from our forwards? Kim Dong-Seob hasn’t shown many signs of getting it, but he’ll likely get another chance tomorrow. Like most teams at the international level, Peru will likely play their defense very compact, and leave little space for Kim and the attacking midfielders to work in. Kim Dong-Seob has shown good work with the midfielders, but will need to sharpen up his off the ball movement, to ensure he’s in threatening positions and ready to shoot first time or with one small touch.
Player to Watch
Korea: Hong Jeong-Ho – While Kim Dong-Seob is a bit of an obvious choice given our goal struggles, I’ll be keeping a close eye on former U23 captain Hong Jeong-Ho. Hong had a good East Asian Cup, but with the exception of Japan, neither of the other teams really offered much in the way of attack. Hong will have to deal with different threats in the form of a penalty box predator (Pizarro), a pacey winger (Farfan), and a good dribbler and passer (Guerrero). This match will be the best showing of how far Hong has come (and how far he still has to go).
Peru: Jefferson Farfan – While Pizarro is the biggest name, Farfan is the player I think will cause Korea the most problems. Korea’s defense has shown it still gets a little panicky when players run at it, and I expect Farfan to do that quite a bit.
I don’t expect too much from this game. A result would be nice for morale, but Hong still doesn’t seem to care very much. He said in an interview recently that he would be happy if his first win with the senior team came in the first game at the World Cup. Poetic to be sure, but I think many fans and administrators would be happier if it came sooner than that. Hong has also said that this game is about the defense (given Peru’s strong attacking threat). While this is true to an extent, I think Hong is trying to deflect some of the attention away from the attacking woes.
I think it’ll be a close game. Korea will likely have the edge in possession, but I fully expect some heart stopping moments from Peruvian counter attacks. I think a draw will be the end result, 1-1.
Where to Watch
The match is being broadcast on MBC here in Korea. I haven’t seen/heard about any broadcasts in the US, so if you have a good website for streams that would probably be your best bet. The match begins at 8PM Korean time, which I believe translates to a 7AM EST kick off (4AM PST).
I should be doing another live tweet (@SKSBlog), so feel free to follow and join in.
*I don’t know if it’ll happen, but if there are enough people interested instead of live tweeting, a live blogging event (through Cover It Live or something) may be possible. Certainly for the World Cup, and possibly friendlies. Again, the key thing would be reader interest. If you’d be interested in something like that, let me know in the comments.