The Korean national football team’s hard decision to change the formation in Monday’s match only resulted in a disappointing result. South Korea faced Saudi Arabia Tuesday in a friendly match in Abu Dhabi, where head coach Paulo Bento changed the formation from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-2-1 this time.
The key to this formation was the use of Hwang Hee-chan, who is capable of quick attacks. In Tuesday’s match, Hwang played as a left winger. He played as a midfielder in front of left wing-backs, supporting three forwards (Hwang Ui-jo, Lee Cheong-yong, and Hwang In-beom) in offense. As the left forward Son Heung-min cannot join the team in the first two matches in the Asian Cup Group League according to an agreement between his club Tottenham Hotspur and the Korea Football Association, the Korean national team had to experiment with the new formation, increasing the number of forwards to strengthen offense.
According to Soccerway stats, Korea had a ball possession rate of 49 percent, less than Saudi Arabia’s 51 percent. Hwang Hee-chan failed to create scoring chances and Lee Yong, who is good at overlapping, could not send crosses into the box, concentrating on defense.
Asia-based players have not played lately as their season ended in early December while Europe-based players are having stamina issues as they are currently in season. “The key is to rediscover the players’ form before the first match against the Philippines in the Asian Cup on next Monday,” a commentator said.
Who will take a penalty kick is another issue. Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng missed a penalty in the 81st minute. He used to be a penalty kicker for the team in the 2018 World Cup Russia. Son Heung-min missed penalty kicks as well in the last tune-up matches against Costa Rica and Uruguay. “You can win or lose a game depending on a penalty kick in international competitions,” said Kim Dae-kil, a commentator at KBSN. "The Korean national football team should select one or two kickers for penalty kicks through training and try to lessen the burden on their shoulders."
Yun-Cheol Jeong email@example.com