South Korea coach blames the K League

Systemic problems around the national leagues in South Korea are the main problem with why South Korea failed at the World Cup Shin Tae-yong claimed. 

The popularity of the K League has dramatically dropped in recent years with average crowds in the K League 1 this season being around the 5,500 mark. This is compared to 2011 where the average crowds in the league were around 10,000. 

Many circumstances have been blamed for the demise of the club game in South Korea such as a match-fixing scandal in 2011, the rise of the popularity of baseball and the fact the national team have been on a steady decline since they reached the 2002 World Cup semi-final. 

While of course there is some truth in the fact that football in South Korea needs to change, they need to improve the popularity of the sport. As only 49% of South Koreans watched the countries game with Sweden on TV at the World Cup this year compared to over 60% who watched in 2010. 

Shin Tae-yong's poor tactical ability should also be put to question and the fact he could not settle on a team or formation in time for the World Cup is something he will need to answer for. When he came out with thing such as swapping numbers around to confuse the Swedish scouts you really felt he was clutching at straws. 

Two of South Korea's last four goals over their last six matches have come from screamers off the right foot of Son Heung-Min. So had it not be for Son who performances in a Korean shirt are also questioned Tae-yong side would be in even bigger trouble. 

The coach went on to explain his worries for the national side as he said "We have systemic problems. We must think how we can improve our domestic league and work with young players. We lack experience and that doesn't come overnight."

What he is saying is correct and it will be interesting to see if in the coming years we see key changes to the K League. We will then see if these changes come if they develop the quality and popularity of the club game while also improving the fortunes of the national side. 

Back to the matter at hand on Wednesday South Korea will face Germany in the final group game of Group F. The match will take place in Kazan and the Korean coach said his side will have to be more disciplined. 

Defensive mistakes so far have cost South Korea big time and they have conceded two penalties in the two games. The coach went on to explain "Our defensive players have lost confidence and that's very unfortunate. I hope they will be able to restore their confidence and fight a bit more in the last game."

Although a win for South Korea on Wednesday and a Mexico win over Sweden will see South Korea qualify for the last 16 it is very unlikely that this will happen. It is hoped however that South Korea put on a brave performance on Wednesday and can at least leave Russia with the heads held high. 

Comments