South Korea consider new tactics for the World Cup

South Korea has been ravaged by injuries so far in the build-up to the World Cup, the most recent being in-form Dijon attacker Kwon Chang-hoon. In the warm-up games Korea has mainly been playing 4-4-2, but with the injuries to key players piling up; Shin has said he is considering a change of tactics.

The game he mentioned, in particular, was Korea’s first game in the finals against Sweden, for fans who follow Korea regularly this will likely come as no surprise because Korea has struggled against dogged physical teams and this is exactly the way Sweden managed to defeat Italy in the playoffs for a place in Russia. As Sweden is unlikely to change their approach which was successful in qualification and with Shin losing a lot of key players then it would be crazy for Shin to use Korea’s regular tactics against Sweden in their opening match.

It’s hard to know if Shin not knowing what tactics he wants to use is a good or a bad thing, is it better to have a set tactic or change depending on the opposition you face? Only Shin can decide right now which approach he thinks is best for Korea, but he needs to figure out how to deal with physical teams a lot better than they have so far. For instance, in their friendly against Northern Ireland, Korea looked in control of the game until Northern Ireland went route one. Once the direct approach was employed, Korea looked shaky from that moment on, and eventually lost the game as they couldn’t deal with big long hoofs lumped into the box.

If I was Shin, I would insist that the team get the ball on the floor and play quick passing football with the intention of getting Sweden’s big defenders turned quickly and gave chase after the likes of Tottenham’s Son and Salzburg’s Hwang in an attempt to target Sweden’s slower defenders if possible. As well as attempting to get their defenders turned and sprinting after pacey strikers, I would want to use the full width of the pitch as Sweden will be well drilled and extremely organised, Shin should want Korea to use quick and clever movement to pull Sweden out of their positions, and then let the fast guys up top exploit the spaces that the Swedes have left exposed. If Korea does this I think they will have a chance to nick a win against Sweden.

For Korea to stand a chance of getting out of the group, they must defeat Sweden and pick up at least a draw against Mexico. It might still not be enough, but 4 points are likely to get you second place in this group as I am expecting South Korea, Mexico and Sweden to all be competing against each other with the results from their matches being a mixed bag. Germany is likely going to tie up top spot pretty easily, which leaves the other three battling for that vital runner-up place. All of Korea will be hoping that Shin gets his tactics spot on and masterminds an astonishing route out of a very, very difficult group.

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