World Cup 2014: Korea 1-1 Russia (Player Ratings)

Holy crap. That was a rollercoaster of emotions. From a lucky but deserved goal for Korea by the Soldier, Lee Keun-Ho, to a defense fail, questionable handball, and a tap in for the Russians all after a great Jung save. Here are the player ratings. Vent/celebrate/share your thoughts below.


GOALKEEPER JUNG Sung-Ryong (Suwon Bluewings)

Tim (7.5): He made a pair of great saves, including the super diving punching (which might have saved a goal) and the great stop prior to the goal. He was confident. He worked hard. Still had some of those awkward saves, but he played well.
Jae (7.0): A much better overall performance from Jung, who looked the most confident we’ve seen in months. Some excellent saves, but he always palms/punches clear. Sometimes that’s necessary, but sometimes it can lead to scoring chances.

DEFENDER YUN Suk-Young (Queens Park Rangers)

Tim (7) Solid crosses, solid runs, he was a very positive player. Wish he did just a little bit more on the Russian goal though.
Jae (6.5): Showed some of his offensive ability making a couple strong offensive runs. But contrary to Tim, I don’t think his crossing was good. FourFourTwo’s stat zone seems to back me up in showing that Yoon attempted just one cross all game, and that one was claimed (easily) by Akinfeev.

DEFENDER KIM Young-Gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande)

Tim (6.5) In my view, slightly responsible for the goal. Instead of appealing for handball he could have taken that split second to get in the way of the Kerzhakov shot. Unlucky goal though.
Jae (7.0) – Neat and tidy in defense. Made a number of clearances and combined well offensively with Ki Sung-Yueng. His long passing was a bit poor (compared to usual), and there is the small matter of the ‘could he have done more on the goal?’ question (personally I think no).

DEFENDER HONG Jeong-Ho (Augsburg)

Tim (7) Decent. Subbed off due to injury after the LKH goal?
Jae (7): Like his partner, neat and tidy in defense. I’d rate him higher if he hadn’t gone off injured, but . . .

DEFENDER LEE Yong (Ulsan Hyundai)

Tim (6.5) Didn’t do anything spectacular from my memory.
Jae (6.5): Defensively solid, but offensively absent.

MIDFIELDER HAN Kook-Young (Kashiwa Reysol)

Tim (7) I really like Han. Sliding tackles really helped us regain possession today.
Jae (7.5): An excellent game from Han, who made a number of tackles and looked much calmer and in control.

MIDFIELDER KI Sung-Yueng (Swansea City)

Tim (7) Positive presence. He had a solid game too. Set pieces weren’t the greatest, but he was good overall. The middle was a bright spot today, both in attack and defense.
Jinseok (8) Definitely our best player today. He completed over 90% of passes, won his aerial duels, and looked like the old Ki Sung Yong we all know and love once again.
Jae (8.0): Excellent.

MIDFIELDER LEE Chung-Yong (Bolton Wanderers)

Tim (7) He worked hard today as always. Didn’t have any real chances but was part of the attacking buildup.
Jae (6.5): Worked hard, but stayed a little too deep for my liking.

FORWARD (C) KOO Ja-Cheol (Mainz 05)

Tim (7.5) MUCH better game from the Captain. He got a couple good shots and created several chances.
Jinseok (7) MUCH better game from the Captain but still a little rusty.
Jae (6.0) Better? Yes. Much better? Okay. But let’s remember what we’re comparing his performance too. He was solid, but given his role within in the team, he needs to be better.

MIDFIELDER SON Heung-Min (Bayer Leverkusen)

Tim (7) He really had to do better on the chances he made for himself, but he made them. It’s a start.
Jinseok (6.5) Showed good flashes here and there but he really screwed up two chances that on any other day he would’ve buried. Choked hard.
Jae (6.5) Started well, but faded in the 2nd half, possibly due to the fact that he tracked back a lot more than in recent games.

FORWARD PARK Chu-Young (ex-Arsenal FC)

Tim (5.5) I mean he was invisible again. Hong needs to look at someone else as a different option.
Jinseok (7) Dude. PJY was actually legit today. He drew away defenders by drifting wide, leading to a quite a few of our chances, made some good runs, and most importantly, created  chances very well. Still, he should’ve done better on Lee Chung Yong’s through ball.
Jae (6.0) I’ll split the difference here and say that Park was . . . okay. He had some nice flicks and touches here and there, BUT as the lone forward his job is goals. Park didn’t take any shots the whole game, and for a forward that’s unacceptable.


FORWARD LEE Keun-Ho (Sangju Sangmu aka the Army)

Tim (7.5) BIG step up from Park JY. Offered more fluidity and creativity. Although his shot was a little rash, it was high, on target and yes, it went in. An absolute howler from Akinfeev. But the Soldier scored and he was confident.
Jinseok (7.5) Same rating but he was not a big step up. That being said he did impact the game pretty positively.
Jae (7.0): Fortunate on the goal sure, but he brought energy and some forward thrust that had been missing since Son had started to fade.

DEFENDER HWANG Seok-Ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)

Tim (7) He was very unlucky. Came on for an injured Hong Jeong Ho, had to make a tough clearance in the box and a stroke of misfortune – hit the Russian, ball finds its way to Kerzhakov, tap in.
Jae (6.5): Decent, but coincidence the defense looked a lot shakier after he came in?

MIDFIELDER KIM Bo-Kyung (Cardiff City)

Tim (7) Did what he could. Korea wasn’t really in the mood to attack when he came on for Son.
Jae (6.0): Ummmmm, don’t think he did anything of note.


Jae (7.0): On paper Korea looked the exact same as the disastrous friendlies. Same players, same formation. But, the organization was much better, as was the positional discipline. I imagine Hong worked on that over the past week, so credit to him there. But there are still offensive issues, and a draw won’t do the next game.


Son Heung-Min, Ki Sung-Yueng, Koo Ja-Cheol

DAEHANMINGUK FIGHTING! Stay tuned for a full match report later from our trusty Tavern owner, then of course, Jae’s tactical analysis. Stay tuned for World Cup coverage here at the Tavern!

About Tim Lee 321 Articles
The maple syrup guzzling kimchijjigae craving Korean-Canadian, eh?


  1. Great game, wish we took the 3 points but at least we got 1 point. Hopefully we will win our match aganist Algeria, but do you think we can tie with Belgium? That’s my main concern now…

    • i think the concern HAS to be algeria still. they are better than people give credit for. once korea takes care of business, then we should belgium.

    • in terms of entertainment, yes, i think so. in terms of quality, both were very sloppy. but, korea can take heaps of positives out of this match.

      • Maybe I was coming off the high of a spectacular game previously (Bra vs Mex) but I was let down by what I saw today.

        Hong has us playing a very ugly brand of football to compensate for our lack of technical ability that Im never going to go along with. The keep away resetting, never using the space in front of you. I saw MANY occasions today where our players opted for side or back passes rather than utilizing acres of space in front of them WTF was that all about?

        Did you hear the groans during several back passes all the way to the GK? KBK a 7? Koo a 7? PCY a 7? No offense but Wheres this koolaid you guys are drinking? BTW, Im sick of hearing how Park drew players away from him….LOL…his job is to effin score for chrimes sake. Do you ever hear people say this about Suarez (a stretch comparison of course but you get my point)? No never. Its time some of us quit trying to cover for some of these guys.

        These scores you guys gave Id probably give for our game against Uruguay jn 2010 even though we ended up losing. Full on attack football. Respectable.

        Sorry these are my opinions. I could never watch todays game again for entertainment purposes. I watched the Uruguay Korea game at least 5 times. That says something.

  2. overall, i’d say your ratings are pretty fair. pjy was good maybe the first 20 minutes and then, yup, he disappeared. however, i do think they don’t really use pjy well either. schematically, pjy needs to link up more, but koo and son, while they played great, aren’t the greatest link up players. i think pjy needed to go more towards lee chung yong’s side and try to link with him. son and koo look for the shot too often which takes pjy out of the game. that’s my humble opinion. that said, he needed to be more active than he was. i think the defense (and offense) towards the end weren’t necessarily breaking down, but rather showing that they were incredibly tired. i was super pleased with jung. while your rating of him is pretty accurate, i almost want to give him an 8.5 just because his head was in the game with confidence and not just his body with good positioning. he was much more decisive. i hope he grows in confidence even more after this match, because he deserves to. shm was good, but he also basically faded after the first half. i’m wondering if this heat had a lot more effect than we are really accounting for. they need that win against algeria. they won’t be a pushover.

  3. Ugh, protesting handball on Rus goal @ the absolute critical moment, REALLY?! Just play, eye on the ball dammit! THEN complain 2 ur hearts content

    Pleasantly surprised by defense & Jung (tho @ the end, SK defense was scary chaos) I was petrified every set piece, but Jung came thru. Nice possession/skills, LCY in particular, impressed. Totally agree about LKH, so preferable to PCY.

    I wish defense would b better @ passing to midfield, too tentative, & too many long balls/kix outta bounds. But safety 1st, I completely understand that. Maybe when defense gets more experience/confidence, they’ll possess/transition a bit better w/out great risk.

    Sum of the passing on attack was nice, need more of it, but MAN! Thought I saw several ripe counter moments that SK didn’t take advantage of, & sum off ball movement was disappointing

    Son… calm the bleep down, man. U got urself in position nicely, then nerves gotcha. Well, it’s his 1st WC, rite? Expect better against Algeria. Offense in general could use a bit more sync/aggressiveness, not exactly ferocious (like Rus @ the end, wow!), but interplay upfront wasn’t the horror I feared it might b, just not enuff closing/bringing the hammer down.

    I was pleasantly surprised by tenacity & sum nifty possession skills (when they weren’t long-balling it), keep it up guys! Oh, & please keep it together better in the mad scramble @ the end of games

  4. I have faith in PJY. But, this formation is not working because he’s not getting involved. Need to get him involved to have a chance.

  5. By the looks of things I have drifted into PJY-hater territory somewhat subconsciously. Here’s my real question – how do you evaluate PJY’s game today?

    • he was there at the start and then he faded. in my humble opinion, part of the problem is that he doesn’t fit the formation well. while he is the best striker we’ve got, he’s actually more of a rooney-ish sort of player, meaning he should really be in the role that they have koo playing, behind the striker. the problem is that pjy is the best suited out of anyone to play in the system that hong has. but pjy also tends to be more on the left and i think that makes shm and pjy overlap too much in that area. maybe i’m wrong, but those seem to be my observations. it worked out against greece for that one connection, but generally, i think they seem to compete for the same space since pjy drifts left from the center and shm drifts center from the left. jae, i’m sure can correct me if my observations are not really accurate. pjy does fade though, and that’s on him. perhaps physically, he’s just not there. i think you might see pjy given one more chance to prove himself and if he fades again, we won’t see him again.

      • ok sorry man…this messaging format is really awkward and I read your messages then read the other pro ones I get confused.

        ill take a better read at this.

    • I see some of you again are blaming the formation for PCY’s MIA status today. I have a newsflash for some of you. He goes MIA in many systems. His job is not to go out there and provide cover or decoy runs so he should be given such high marks for this stuff. This will be his last WC and I can’t say I haven’t been more disappointed in a player’s so called potential. He earned a 5 today and Im being generous.

      You might think Im being dumb or overly harsh but I say things without the blinders on. Theres a very good g-darn reason why this guys career has gone the way it has. He might have the physical capabilities to be a good player such as his ridiculous vertical leap but mentally….just not a very aggressive player with a poor work rate.

      • you seem to be directing your comments towards me, since i’m the one that brought up formations, though it’s unclear since i don’t recall too many people talking about formations regarding pjy except what his natural position is. that’s what i’ve talked about in the past. i don’t think you’re being dumb, just not reading my comments correctly. i don’t watch with blinders on and i don’t react as emotionally as you seem to, which is fine. i actually stated that pjy only showed up for part of the first half. i never gave him a pass on that. however, that does not negate the fact that playing in a system that doesn’t suit him best affects his play as it does for any player. not playing in the best position doesn’t excuse him from disappearing. rooney, for example, played ineffectively because he’s not playing his natural position, but he didn’t disappear, he was just ineffective. pjy on the other hand, doesn’t play in his most natural position, but does disappear. you get what i’m saying?

        • and one of my sentence sounds douchey. sorry. didn’t mean it that way. i am, like you, kimchi, disappointed in pjy. he needs to force his way into getting himself involved even if the formation doesn’t suit him.

          • He disappears so often that Im through trying to cater a system around him. He hasn’t played consistently in the last 2 or 3 years and he’s not aggressive. He’s exactly as perceived and even a dumb Lallas put it correctly. He’s in there for the sake of not much else as an option.

            To me its not worth trying to tinker with the formation especially if Hong is more interested in not getting burned than actually playing attacking football. Its pointless.

          • you misunderstood the point again. i (and frankly none of the other comments that i’m aware of) suggested changing the system for him. pointing out he’s not in his best position doesn’t indicate that there is any advocacy for changing the system for pjy.

          • Daniel how the heck do you explain him disappearing SO often no matter the team, the system?

            Lets stop making excuses for the guy.

          • Park is good for a goal every 3 to 5 games at this clip and Im fine with that. I realized the science experiment here was over about 2 years ago. He’ll score a goal here and everyone will be rejoicing him again but Im jaded enough to not buy into it.

            He’s not even the biggest problem here. Koo is and I have no idea why he garnered the ratings Im seeing here. He was on the ground more often than not and was still coughing the ball up too much.

            So Ill agree with you on that point. Service to PCY is sucking.

          • dude. seriously. you need to read better. where did i make any excuses for him??? he did create chances and ran hard for a little bit then he faded out. explaining that someone is out of position is not making an excuse. it’s a factor, but it’s not an excuse. my rooney example alone should have made clear what my point is. i’m explaining a reality. and it’s clear that you’re not reading me correctly, because i never said service to pjy was poor. i said shm and pjy tend to compete for the same space, which is also not an excuse for effort, but a factor in terms of ineffectiveness.

            as for koo, he was decent, but i’m sure it helped his ratings somewhat that he was actually more of a positive and did things on the field rather than also disappear as in previous matches. i totally agree with you though in that he went to the ground way way too much and a lot of times for no good reason.

          • Ok sorry my bad….the messaging system is really awkward here and when we have this many messages (mostly mine lol) I get mixed up and respond to the wrong bodies or pro PCY arguments.

            Illl take a better read at yours.

          • no prob. we all don’t agree so i prefer to be debated with on my own merits. lol. i don’t mind being critiqued or have disagreement offered. i just don’t like being disagreed with on something that i’ve never stated or implied. =). if you need to know where I, Daniel, stand, it’s that pjy needed to be taken simply because, unfortunately, he was the most talented guy we had to the point that it’s rather difficult to pick and choose, especially when everyone else was pretty much in the same boat as him–injured, not playing regularly, or in poor form. i always contended he should be on the team for that reason, but i also always stated that he has been a disappointment and that i personally had always believed he was a bit over-hyped. i’ve never been a huge fan of pjy, but objectively, he’s one of the most talented center forwards korea has ever had, and he’s never quite lived up to his potential. i think it’s true that generally he’s best used behind a legit holding striker, as he did at monaco, but he doesn’t have that in korea. that has nothing to do with match fitness and effort, or at least game to game consistency in effort. some games he gives it his all the whole game and at other times, it seems like he disappears. i’ve never disliked him but i’m not one of his apologists either. unfortunately, i don’t have a particular player in korea than i’m a fan of and i think most of korea’s players have been overrated by korean fans throughout the years. if cha bum kun was young and still playing, i’d be his fan. lol.

    • There was 1 nice sequence I remember, guy whose name I can’t recall delivered a decent through ball to Park who was on a good penetrating run, ball was juuust outta reach. It looked promising 4 a sec, anticipation/almost-sync, & more like it would b nice in future.

      Can’t recall much else that Park did, which I guess says sumthin. Oh, he trapped the ball betw. his legs while on the ground & almost got kicked in his own balls. Yeah, that’s bout all the impression he made on me XP

      Lee KH, on the other hand, was like a freakin jitterbugging spark plug as soon as he came on as a sub, looked really good

      • He had few chances from the wings and midfield. Played pretty well off ball movement than on ball. Also note, he had awkward positioning for the passes (only 55% completed, 4 of which were back passes). I give him a 6 rating. ^Completely agree. Dude would be much better as a CAM in the 4231 or a CF in a 433.

        • For now, I’d agree a 6 is probably fair on him. He did create some chances, and his off the ball movement was decent. But if you’re a lone striker and you don’t take a shot, then something’s wrong.

  6. You guys are on crack. They’re 5s at best. Tentative and negative all game. No movement off the ball. No creating space. No support for each other.

    • No heart! These kids don’t look like they wanna be there. Take away their military service exemption. Maybe they’ll start playing harder.

      • lol. i don’t condone the use of the word, ‘retard,’ but since you are just quoting a movie and it’s apropos to the comment, i will have to agree with the sentiment. but then, paul also might not know how tim and jae use the rating scale here. still, paul, your comments are generally not that educated sounding.

  7. Ki was absolutely an 8 today. Super tidy in possession, beat defenders on the half-turn several times, and was flying around defensively as well.

    It’s hard to rate PJY without re-watching the match since his contribution was all in his movement off the ball. It’s easy to bash him but that’s not really fair. He was isolated in the box against 3+ defenders at all times against a side that sat very deep. And he received no service whatsoever. He’s being asked to play a role he’s not suited for (which I’m okay with as long as it’s in the best system for the team – we can’t tailor our attack for everybody).

    Overall this was a tactical stalemate (until later when both sides tired) as both sides were incredibly wary of not being caught in transition. Each side traded spells with a lot of sideways passing against 9+ men behind the ball. Neither side had enough quality and invention to penetrate in the final third but I think Korea had a slight edge in controlling the run of play.

    After the last few matches I’m glad that we got through a game without any glaring goalkeeping and defending errors. A few “what if’s” on the Russia goal, but a draw was a fair result.

    • Our whole MO today was to play keep away and only send in balls when absolutely sure the endpoint could be handled. I agree with your 3rd paragraph fully.

      The ULTRA conservative and risk adverse brand of football Hong has the team playing makes a man up top almost pointless. Swing passing all day today. Its no wonder 60% of our attempts today were screamers about 20 or 30 meters outside the box.

      Hong is so fearful of a counter attack (as Ghana probably left a huge mark) its very difficult to play the way you’re accustomed to and I didnt enjoy it even though we may have gotten the desired result. I was a bit sad honestly.

      • I’m glad that Hong was fearful of the counter attack. Plus I think the way Cappello set up his Russian side had more to do with the fact that this match was a low-tempo tactical stalemate. They’re an incredibly well-drilled defensive side (5 goals conceded in UEFA qualifying). We refused to be drawn right into their hands. I’m okay with that – we’re not good enough (offensively and defensively) to play proactively against a reactive side with 9+ men behind the ball.

        Getting results is all that matters. I only care about footballing philosophy and aesthetics with my club team. The only thing that matters for the national team is results. And it’s not like they parked the bus. If our worst crime is that we passed conservatively in the opposition half then I will take that.

        We’re not advanced enough as a footballing nation to be complaining about not being entertaining enough. They have these sort of pragmatism vs style debates in the Brazilian media over their national team. Honestly it sounds a bit ridiculous coming from us.

        • I agree with a lot of your points.

          This is the first WC I can remember where half the people I was watching the game with took off in the middle of the 2nd half.

          I also belong to a paid football forum made up of mostly internationals and far and away this was voted the worst viewing experience since the tourney began.

          Thats not like us.

          • “We’re not advanced enough as a footballing nation to be complaining about not being entertaining enough. They have these sort of pragmatism vs style debates in the Brazilian media over their national team. Honestly it sounds a bit ridiculous coming from us.”

            I beg to differ. We have become known for playing for a very entertaining brand of football. Several of my non Korean friends were actually looking forward to this match and were sorely disappointed.

            Always attacking never giving up….fighting.
            Granted, Russian might’ve played a tactical game that lent itself to a defensive stronghold but there were many instances today where we had acres of space and chose to back pass instead. About as close to anti-football we’ve ever come.

    • The only guy who deserved a 7 out there was LCY. I thought Lee Yong was good as our right back…pleasantly surprised

  8. i just saw jae’s ratings. i think i agree with his ratings the most. i’m also in complete agreement with jae’s assessment of pjy. did some good stuff off the ball early, but as a forward, he HAS to get some shots off. and he absolutely did fade in the second part of the first half. if he starts again, i hope he comes out swinging.

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