U20 World Cup: Haniljeon Time

Photo Credit: @TheKFA Instagram. Come on, you know I hadta do it to em.

In world football, there are some matches that just mean more. Tomorrow afternoon in Lublin, we will get to watch one of those matches. Simply put, when Korea Republic faces Japan tomorrow in the Round of 16, both teams will put it all on the line. It’s just that heated of a rivalry match. One thing is for sure: this match will not be as boring or as heartbreaking as Saturday’s Champions League Final.

Will Chung Jungyong stop tinkering?

I hope so. All three group stage matches consisted of personnel and tactical changes. However, the final match against Argentina produced a comprehensive win. Chung Jungyong should realize that this is his best lineup and tactical setup and stick with it. Knockout football is not about tailoring your approach to each match; there is not enough time between matches to do this. Instead, he must realize that knockout football is about picking a tactical and personnel approach that works for the squad and moving forward as far as possible. You can make little tweaks in the match like all normal coaches do; you cannot make sweeping personnel and tactical changes for each match. With that being said, here’s the lineup from Friday with tactical arrows included:

KISS : Go with what works!

Which Japanese players should we watch for?

None of them. I kid.

Let’s be real, this Japanese team did really well to advance to the Round of 16 and are not to be taken lightly. Especially against Mexico, they looked incredibly good. Here are FIFA’s highlights of that match, and all three goals are quite impressive:

If there is any Achilles heel that we must exploit, look no further than this tweet:

Our defense is not easy to break down and our best defensive tactic will be to frustrate them and block shooting angles.

Rivalry Scrappiness

One thing that I can guarantee in any Haniljeon is that there will be some shenanigans. Players will play up contact to get fouls, there will be some hard challenges, and there may also be a lot more arguments than your average match. To both sides unfortunately, a Haniljeon is a match all about pride. You can’t lose and you’ll do a lot to make sure you win. It has the potential to be the match of the Round of 16.

How’s the Bracket Looking?

Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_FIFA_U-20_World_Cup

We may have landed on the harder end of the bracket, but I cannot be sure about that until the France-United States match. If the US pulls off an upset over France, I actually think it would become possible for Korea to make the final. My pick for the final on the top half of the bracket is Colombia. In Korea 2 years ago, Venezuela had a breakout tournament and made a FIFA final for the first time. I think Colombia could continue that trend for sure. I will only pick Korea out of pride if France is eliminated tomorrow. If France advances, I still feel they are a strong favorite to win this tournament.

Match Info:

Korea Republic vs. Japan

Lublin Stadium, Lublin

11:30 AM EST, 12:30 AM KST (June 5)

Broadcast Info: KBS2, MBC, SBS (Korea), Fox Soccer Plus (US), FS2 Tape Delay 7:30 PM EST/9:30 PM EST

Prediction: I guessed right for Argentina so I’m going to try for 2 in a row. 2-0 Korea.

Let’s Get IT!

Comment Rules: Please be nice to other people, regardless of which nation they support and do not use any ethnic name-calling. I know this match is heated and personal, but let’s be nice to each other.

About Michael Welch 89 Articles
That Halfie Korean-American who loves football (I mean, soccer).


  1. Lee KI seems to be impressing everybody. Googled news on him, word is a Dutch & English side are genuinely considering paying the 80 million euros to purchase him outright (which tbh strikes me as a bit much atm; maybe w/ a bit more of a proven resume).

    There also seems to be a bit of hand wringing on the part of Valencia fans, that they may lose him. Well, the way their coach has (mis) used him, I feel a little “mwa-ha-ha-ha” coming on.

    This U20 WC has really been a showpiece for LKI, if only Jeong WY coulda been there too, dangit; have a feeling they’d have both made each other look so good (as well as developing chemistry for the future)

      • Oh, a question. Is Oh Sehun, the really tall kid who scored the header off of LKI’s laser cross, the real deal?

        • Very early to tell that. But I think he is certainly very good. He is owned by Ulsan Hyundai but has gone on loan to Asan Mugunghwa to gain playing time in the K League 2. He is one of their starting forwards already and will have his military duty out of the way very early. We will know if he is the real deal when he finishes his loan this season and goes back to Ulsan Hyundai. Ulsan Hyundai is currently the best team in the K League. If he breaks into that side he’s the real deal and a transfer to Europe could happen. For now, let’s just enjoy that he’s playing well!

  2. You were definitely right about it getting scrappy. Couldn’t watch the game, only updates, but was JP as thuggish as the 22 foul stat would suggest? They’re not normally like that are they? Also, how much of that was directed towards LKI (not cool)?

    And was JP as technically superior as the possession/pass % would suggest? By the #s it looked like total domination, it’s just JP sorely lacked final third product, lucky for SK

    • The 22 foul stat is misleading. I would say that Korea did well to draw fouls. Hats off to Japan because I actually thought they showed good sportsmanship (helping Korean players up after a tumble and so on).

      Japan had a couple clear chances that was lacking in final third product but overall, I’d say that the possession/pass completion stats didn’t result in goals for Japan due to Korea’s hard work in defense and in pressing, and Korean players fearlessly throwing themselves across the goal.

      Thought Korea’s game plan was to throw Japan off their game with a more aggressive, physical, and direct approach, compared to Japanese tiki taka, and it worked more or less. This game reminded me a lot of the 2012 London Olympics Bronze match actually.

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