ROSTOV — South Korea had not misplaced a gap sport on the World Cup since 1998 till final Monday. That 1-0 defeat by the hands of Sweden was not one of the best ways to kick off a troublesome group that continues with a sport towards Mexico on Saturday after which ends with Germany. The main focus now shouldn’t be on making an attempt to get to the knockout phases however merely on avoiding elimination with a sport towards the defending champions nonetheless to come back.
It might be a serious embarrassment for Asia’s most profitable World Cup nation in the event that they had been to exit after two video games, and that’s the reason the Koreans are prepared to present their all in Rostov. Korea had been considered one of two groups within the first spherical of video games to not have a shot on the right track — the opposite was Saudi Arabia, crushed 5-0 by Russia.
Shedding to Sweden was a efficiency that introduced again dangerous recollections of the 2014 World Cup and bumbling shows towards Russia, Algeria and Belgium that noticed them bow out within the group phases and end backside of Group H. If Saturday’s efficiency towards Mexico doesn’t mark a severe enchancment then gross sales of “yeot,” the Korean candy that was thrown at the returning squad four years in the past as a welcome residence current, are going to undergo the roof.
Coach Shin Tae-yong is below stress. After profitable the 2010 AFC Champions League with Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, a group with energy, tempo and invention, his teaching profession has been a bit cease and begin. He led Korea by means of group phases of the 2016 Olympics and the 2017 under-20 World Cup with type and confidence earlier than going out within the first knockout spherical each instances. Appointed in July 2017, the 49-year-old continues to be looking for his defining position as a coach.
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Shin’s repute goes to be outlined by the following few days, or moderately it’s being outlined proper now and the following few days provide an opportunity to alter earlier than it turns into set. The way in which issues are going, he’s going to be remembered extra for what he mentioned throughout the 2018 World Cup rather more than what he did — mainly the spying row with Sweden, a foolish spat between two of the friendlier and extra accessible nationwide groups, and his feedback about switching numbers round throughout warm-up video games.
“We switched them round as a result of we did not need to present our opponents every part and attempt to confuse them,” he mentioned.
Nevertheless, the way in which Korea performed meant that it did not matter whether or not Sweden knew who was who as no participant induced any issues. Shin was uncharacteristically reticent even when a cautious strategy was comprehensible given the issues over the group’s leaky defence. The backline carried out fairly nicely, and surprisingly choosing Cho Hyun-woo as goalkeeper, who’s nicknamed “Dae-hair” at residence to sound like a sure Spanish goalkeeper (David De Gea) with a reference to his hairstyles as “Dae” (which suggests “nice” in Korean), was impressed.
However going ahead there was nothing. Sitting deep and launching lengthy balls to tall striker Kim Shin-wook, who struggled towards the Swedish centre-backs, was not the very best methodology for a quick and agile group towards a giant and comparatively sluggish one. The sight of Son Heung-min getting the ball removed from aim and making an attempt to do an excessive amount of was as irritating for followers because it clearly was for the participant.
“We thought that not conceding was an important factor,” Son mentioned after the sport. “We had been cautious about conceding, so we tried taking part in conservatively with out giving up a aim.” He denied that the referee, fussy normally however right with the VAR assessment that gave the penalty, was an element. “Totally different officiating would not have modified the result of the sport,” he added. “Refereeing had no affect. Moderately than blaming the referee, we should always have performed higher.”
Mexico are all that issues now. Not way back, they had been seen as Korea’s finest probability of three factors given the very fact the Asian group have a good file towards El Tri, profitable 4 and drawing two of their 12 conferences thus far. Mexico’s 1-0 win over Germany has given Korea pause for thought however would not change the truth that the Asian facet want one thing from the sport.
All of it factors to 1 factor: Shin is able to return to his attacking instincts and the 4-4-2 that he used to supply Korea’s finest performances since he took management nearly a yr in the past. Son ought to characteristic in a central attacking position with the equally speedy former Barcelona prodigy Lee Seung-woo set to be unleashed. If the Taeguk Warriors are to bow out of the World Cup, they are going to go down combating.