The South Korea defence - how will it take to the task of keeping out the Swedish attack?
On Monday South Korea will take on Sweden in their first game of the World Cup and their recent form in friendlies as not been impressive. This has led to many South Korean fans questioning the defence.
What is up with Shin Tae-Yong's defensive line and why is it under such scrutiny? First off with South Koreas opening game of the World Cup kicking off on Monday it would be anyone's guess as to what the back line will be. This is a little worrying as you would hope for a settled defence going into a major tournament.
South Korea played their last World Cup qualifier last September with a back line of four but since that game, the sides back line as changed. As Tae-Yong searches for the best formation for Russia. This is all a bit worrying and South Korea's record this qualifying as not been very impressive.
Although it should be said while the Asian sides play quite a few matches, for example, Shin Tae-Yong has had 18 games since August 2017. This is compared to the 13 matches Sweden have played in the same time.
Despite the extra matches, a lot of the time Tae-Yong's best players were not available to him. For example, Son Heung-Min of Tottenham has only played in 12 of these 18 games. The point being made here is that due to this the coach has had to tinker with his tactics and try different approaches.
Then against Bosnia, the coach went and tried out a 3-5-2 with Ki Sung-Yeung playing in the centre of the three. The side lost this game 3-1 and during this game defensive frailties were well and truly exposed.
So despite the positive attacking play in this match, the manager realised things had to change for their next match against Bolivia. In this game, they did keep a clean sheet but unfortunately, the attacking play was missing as the side drew 0-0.
The last friendly was played behind closed doors and although we managed to get snippets of how the team looked tactically I can't comment on this game against Senegal that ended 2-0 to the African side.
It looks like from reports the backline in this game, however, was (from left to right) Lee Yong, Kim Young-Gwon and Yang Hyun-Soo. Then looking at the line up it would look like a back three again. This is not clear however with there being no game footage released of the match.
Although whatever the backline is it is likely it will feature four players who play their trade between the Chinese Super League, the J League and the K League. This could be a worry as none of them plays at top sides and between their club signs are having indifferent seasons.
Aforementioned will mean then that whatever formation Shin Tae-Yong picks his side will have to be at the top of their game to keep out Sweden on Monday. Let's hope the defensive issues seen recently are not on show in Russia.