Another match, another scoreless draw. Really, the main points from the Australia match are applicable to this one as well. Poor finishing. Slow build-up play. Decent defending. Poor opposition. So, is there anything much to add? In my opinion, not really.
*Correction, I had mistakenly called Seo Dong-Hyun, Seo Dong-Won. I’m not sure why, but it’s been corrected.
But, that being said, I suppose there are some things that should be pointed out.
1) This was essentially a ‘C’ team
2) China essentially brought their ‘A’ team
3) This tournament is fairly meaningless
4) Hong Myeong-Bo has not had a whole lot of time to sort through the players at his disposal and train them to play like he wants them to
Knowing these four things makes me think that we should be fairly understanding of the performances and such, but I can’t help but feel a bit annoyed and frustrated.
The main reason for this is because of the massive changes that Hong made for this match. 9 changes in total. The only two players who kept their spots were Jung Sung-Ryong and Yoon Il-Rok. The starting XI looked like this:
As expected the team did not perform as well as the team did on Saturday. The defense, while hardly troubled (although that was due more to China’s inability to string more than 2 passes together in our half), looked shaky at times and a little short on confidence. The Han-Park midfield, one that I’d been curious about for awhile now, was physical and energetic, but lacking a bit in technical skill and ability. The attacking trio of Yeom-Yoon-Cho was inconsistent. And Seo Dong-Hyun was quite poor.
On paper, Korea should have won this one easily. But to be honest, the team that came out never really looked like winning. Seo Dong-Hyun’s flubbed shot, right before he got hauled off, was the only real chance. The rest were long-range efforts, and half-chances that any decent keeper would keep out.
There were no major tactical battles here. China went 4-3-3 (that played more 4-5-1), and Korea went normal 4-2-3-1. So, for the most part it was a man-on-man battle. Defensively, China didn’t press much, generally allowing Korea possession in our own half, and then keeping things compact at the back. We had several opportunities to cross, and once again the players were not able to give any real good service. It strikes me that the fullbacks and wingers are told to cross the ball into dangerous areas, rather than try to put one on the striker’s head, as many of the crosses seem to go nowhere near the players in the box. Something that would be good to straighten out.
Offensively, China relied heavily on the counterattack and set pieces. Their best chance came from a set piece, but good contact was not made. China was poor for the first 20 minutes or so, as their passing was very wayward, so their breaks broke down quickly. But as the first half went on and their passing got more accurate, China started to control the match more.
Defensively for Korea, the team started much like China. Letting China have possession in their own third, but then pressing more as ball got closer to the midfield line. As time went on, Korea started to press deeper (around the penalty box), but the pressing was poorly organized, and China didn’t have much trouble playing around it. The other side effect of the higher press was that it left more space at the back. Korea was let off the hook though, as China was unable to really provide a quality final ball.
Jung Sung-Ryong S.V. – Did so little. If Hong Myeong-Bo wants to test out the reserves, why not give Lee Bum-Young a run out? Surely Hong knows what he’ll get from Jung by now?
Lee Yong 5.5 – A bit disappointed by his play. Got up and down the right, but the crossing was poor.
Jang Hyun-Soo 6.0 – Decent outing, but doesn’t look any better than the three I have before him (Hong Jeong-Ho, Kim Young-Kwon, Kim Ki-Hee).
Hwang Seok-Ho 6.0 – See above
Kim Min-Woo 5.5 – See Lee Yong
Park Jong-Woo 5.5 – Lots of energy and a potential back up to Lee Myeong-Joo. Lacks passing and technical ability, but can help by dribbling out from the back. Always seems to have one tackle that’s piss poor and gets him booked. Let off the hook today as it came very early.
Han Kook-Young 6.0 – Was impressed early at his ability to play the ball quickly and move to receive passes. But faded as the game went on. Maybe useful against stronger teams, but against weaker teams a better technical player is needed.
Cho Young-Cheol 6.0 – I had, somewhat high, hopes for this kid going into the match. Had the one nice moment when he cut in, and had his left foot shot go narrowly wide. Otherwise inconsistent.
Yoon Il-Rok 5.5 – Had a bright game against Australia, but was a bit anonymous against China.
Yeom Ki-Hoon 5.5 – Kind of similar to Yoon. When he came off the bench against Australia, he had lots of energy. Today, just kind of meh.
Seo Dong-Hyun 5.0 – Missed the best chance of the game, didn’t add much to the build-up. Not aerially dominant like Kim Shin-Wook. Not as good with his feet as Kim Dong-Seob.
Kim Shin-Wook 5.5 – Doesn’t seem that effective as a sub. Had one aerial chance, but it went well over.
Go Mu-Yeol 6.0 – The other player I wanted to see. Didn’t have much time, but showed glimpses of what he can do.
Lee Seung-Gi S.V. – S.V. because admittedly I completely missed that he had come in until the very end. Whoops.
Hong Myeong-Bo 5.5 – Not particularly pleased with the way Hong managed this match. I realized there are a lot of ‘things’ going on with the national team now, but this is a country and group that badly needs goals and a win just to boost morale and remind everyone what the team can be.
I’m not sure exactly what Hong was hoping to accomplish. Best guess is he just wants to see all that he’s got. Maybe he wants to give the younger players more experience. Either way it largely seems a waste to me, particularly in the attacking end. Giving the fullbacks and defensive midfielders a run out is fine because some of them may be useful. But when you have a good thing going, sometimes it’s better just to let it ride. What will he do for Japan? I have no idea. Switch back to the Aussie line-up? Mix the two together? Give even more players a chance? Hong will do what he wants, but I hope that it’s in the idea of figuring out who can fit in with the Europe-based players, so that when Brazil rolls around next summer we don’t look a complete mess.
The final match of the tournament will be on Sunday, at 8pm at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul. Japan will be the opponent.