South Korea lost in their opening their World Cup with a 1-0 defeat against Sweden, and Korean manager Shin Tae-yong employed some mind-boggling tactics, which were ineffective throughout the game.
The game plan revolved around Korean lamppost Kim Shin-wook and him having the ability to beat Sweden’s warriors at the back in the air.
Belt it long, hit the lamppost
Kim Shin-wook is a huge guy who resembles a lamppost standing 6ft 6 and Shin Tae-yong’s game plan seemed to be all about booting it at him. All game, when Korea got the ball the first thing they did was look to hoof it long for Shin-wook to get a nod on it.
It looked to me that they expected Shin-wook to get the flick on, and Son or Hwang to bomb on with the ball and be through on goal. Throughout the match, Korea didn’t attempt to do anything else even though it was obvious long ball was failing and failing badly.
Son and Hwang were anonymous in the hoofball
With the ball just being belted forward towards Shin-wook, this meant that Son and Hwang were ineffective as everything relied on the Wookie winning the first ball and flicking into their path. With that not happening much the excellent attacking pair were on the peripherals of the game.
Korea’s attacking efforts at the World Cup rely heavily on these two players, Kim Shin-wook does well against fellow Asian opposition but it seems like he struggles to make the step up in quality. Korea needs to utilise Son and Hwang a lot better if they expect to do anything in their final two matches.
Son and Hwang should have been deployed as double false nines
Sweden’s defence was big, organized and uncompromising, therefore Korea should have used the clever movement and pace of Son and Hwang to drag them around the pitch and open up spaces for them to exploit. It may sound unconventional but it would have had more chance of success than lumping it to the big man.
There was a couple of occasions in the game where Son and Hwang absolutely murdered the centre backs for pace if they were starting from a better attacking position than out wide hugging the line they would have had the potential to cause more damage to the Swedish defence.
Did Shin Tae-yong not see how Sweden knocked Italy out?
You would think the first thing the Korean management would do would be to watch videos of how Sweden knocked Italy out of the World cup. Sweden is not a better team than Italy just because they qualified, what happened in the playoff match is Sweden got their tactics spot on, and their players put the tactics into play superbly ensuing that an excellent defensive display saw them through.
Sweden’s qualification was built around a strong, battling defence, you would think the Korean management would have known that and therefore built their tactics to ensure they found a way around it or at least looked like they were trying to exploit Sweden’s weaknesses.
However, with Korea just lumping the ball long to a target man it did make you wonder whether Korea had done a sufficient amount of homework on the opposition.
Shin’s mind games were no use
There was a lot of talk about Swedish spies in Korea’s closed training sessions along with Shin saying that they had switched players numbers around in friendlies and training to confuse the Swedish spies.
Shin’s mind games really had no effect on the outcome of the game, and we think for the next game he should spend more time working out betting tactics and doing more homework on the opposition.
Can Korea get through to the last 16?
Short answer – no. Korea’s best chance of getting to the next round has now passed, if they had any chance at all then they had to win this first game against Sweden. We can’t see any way they will get wins against Mexico and Germany.
The best thing for Korea now is that they don’t finish the group with three losses and no goals, because even though the group is more difficult than the one they were in during the 2014 Brazil World Cup; it would still be considered a worse performance this time around.