The Swedish view on Korea

Tavern of Taeguk Warriors have done an excellent preview before South Korea vs Sweden

The Tavern of Taeguk Warriors guys has done an excellent in-depth preview of South Korea’s opening game vs Sweden at the World Cup. Part of their review was speaking to a Swedish journalist who gives a rundown on how Swedish fans are thinking about the up and coming game between the two nations. 

The view from Sweden definitely seems to be that they will defeat South Korea but we think the match will be a lot more intriguing than the Swedes will have you believe. That is because Sweden doesn’t exactly put the fear of God into teams, they’re attack doesn’t score often as they rely on solid positional structure and an excellent defensive set up. 

The Swedish view on the match against Korea

The Guys from Tavern of Taeguk Warriors managed to get to speak with Swedish Journalist Therese Stromberg from Sports Expressen about the views in Sweden of Swedish football fans. 

The consensus seems to be that people are indifferent about Zlatan not playing, they expect Sweden to be more attacking against Korea than in qualifying, the majority of Swedish fans only know Son Heung-min and Ki Sung-yueng, and Sweden expects to beat South Korea. 

These are the general views held among Sweden fans according to Swedish journalist Therese Stromberg, who did end his interview by saying he doesn’t believe the same as the rest and offers a more pessimistic or realistic 1-1 draw depending which side of the fence you sit. 

Sweden indifferent to the absence of Zlatan

According to Therese Stromberg Sweden fans seem to be rather indifferent about the absence of Zlatan. They now believe the team functions better because they work for the group, unlike before where it was all about Zlatan, however they do still believe they’d have more chance of scoring with Zlatan than without. This seems to a conundrum for Swedish fans so it’s good they have a manager to decide for them. 

Zlatan, on the other hand, has been quoted in media outlets as saying this is a very Swedish mentality, and they don’t like what he says because he doesn’t think the way a Swede does or have a Swedish family name. According to Zlatan they can’t talk about any of this working better as a team thing until they win something and until then it’s pointless. He goes on to say he is a winner and he knows how to win. Not like anyone ever expects Zlatan to talk about Zlatan mind. 

Aerial threats, and a physical approach the biggest danger

Aerial bombardments to some giant cloggers up top seem to send Korea into a blind panic, in previous games where they have had to face this approach they have really struggled. The defence isn’t the best to begin with but once that ball starts being pumped into the box Korea’s defence starts to wobble at an alarming speed. 

I personally believe the closest friendly opponent South Korea played who match Sweden very well was Northern Ireland, and in that game, South Korea dealt with Northern Ireland exceptionally well, until Northern Ireland went route one. Once the Irish started hoofing the ball into the Korean defensive area Korea’s defence instantly looked shakey. Sweden has the potential to offer up the exact same threat as the Irish did in that friendly and that has to be the worry for Korea. 

The best form of defence is to attack

This could be Korea’s best form of defence in the finals especially against Sweden and Mexico because we know it’s a whole different ball game against Germany. At the same time though if they just came out the blocks and attacked Germany maybe it would have the chance of shocking them by Korea taking an unexpected approach. 

Against Sweden attack will by far be Korea’s best form of defence, the best Korean players are all currently attacking ones. Korea needs to play their own game and to their own strengths, use their pacey and creative forwards to stretch the Swedes out of their very well disciplined defensive formation. 

The attack is the best part of Korea’s team, while the defence is the best part of Sweden’s team, therefore the result of the game is going to rest on which strongest part of either side can come out on top. For Korea to win games at this tournament I am expecting them to need to score 2 goals per game.

The Son Heung-min effect 

Spurs forward Son Heung-min is by far Korea’s most well-known player and biggest attacking threat. The whole world knows what he can offer to South Korea and it has been well reported that Koreans hopes for good World Cup performances are resting on his shoulders. 

Sweden will give him some very close attention without a doubt, but for those who aren’t aware Son Heung-min isn’t Korea’s only attacking threat. They have other options and if Sweden put so much attention onto Son then that could open up spaces during the game for other players to exploit. The hope for Korean’s has to be that the other players can use this space well. 

Every country expects to beat the Asian participants 

The Asian Football Confederation is considerably weaker than Europe’s but that does not mean every team will find it easy to beat the representatives from Asia. It was rightly pointed out that Saudi Arabia was hopeless, but to tar, every other Asian team with the same brush on the back of Saudi being gash is quite frankly a ridiculous proposition. 

Australia was close to getting a draw with France, and Iran secured a last minute win against Morocco in a very even match. At the point of time, this was written no African teams have currently won a game at this World Cup although I have no doubt they will win games but they seem to not get the same scrutiny from people expecting their teams to be beaten. This is because a lot of African players play in the Premier League or other big leagues across Europe so people automatically assume that they won’t be easy games. Everyone knew Salah wasn’t fit but the internet kept exploding saying that Egypt will be tough because they have Salah, it’s idiocy at it’s finest.
 
I am not in any way advocating that Asian teams are as strong as Europe or South America but they can definitely compete with them, and I would argue with anyone that the best teams from Asia are on par or very close to being on par with the best teams from North America, and Africa. Just because nothing is known about Asian teams, especially from English speaking audiences does not mean the game is going to be easy. 

Who will win the game, South Korea or Sweden? 

The winner of the game will all hinge on which ‘best’ part of the system out competes for the other sides ‘best’ part as they are in direct competition basically. South Korea’s attack against Sweden’s defence, I am hoping that the Son Hueng-min massive come out on top and will predict a 2-1 win for the Koreans. 

I am only predicting a win for Korea because more often than not attack wins more games than defence’s do but Korea do have a tendency to self-implode even than Sweden still need to produce the goods and their attack isn’t regarding the most threatening by any means but the physical presence is a worry for certain. 

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