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Hiddink “Now, We Gotta Play Winning Soccer!“

Posted December. 07, 2001 09:59,   


"You should kick the ball accurately with the top side of your foot like this."

During the training of the Korean national team at Seogwipo World Cup Stadium yesterday, Head Coach Guus Hiddink, who had only raised his voice around the field, unprecedentedly called Lee Dong-Gook and Cha Doo-Ri to show how to kick the `Fevernova`, an official ball of the 2002 World Cup, because they are not yet adjusted to the new ball.

Since Fevernova has more resilience and spin more than former official balls, it has to be kicked very carefully. Most players seemed to adjust themselves to a new ball rather easily, but they had to receive `humbling` training on the basic skills from Hiddink.

There is one more thing that has been changed. Head Coach Hiddink also showed his passing ability to connect the ball to forwards for shooting practice. It is for the first time since he began to instruct the team that Hiddink handled the ball himself. It can be seen as an expression of his volition to pursue the winning soccer that he begins the training with unprecedented enthusiasm, running, passing and shooting with the players. As it were, it is his eagerness to earn a win the next year`s World Cup by more actively tempering the offensive power of the national team.

For the past a year, Hiddink has focused the training upon stabilizing the defensive line implanting the Dutch-style pressing soccer, whose effectiveness was proved in the game with Croatia last month. Therefore, the next issue must be a scoring ability. In particular, since the Korean team`s first round opponents such as Poland, USA, and Portugal possess experienced defenders, it cannot earn a long-awaited win only with a `maintenance soccer`.

In the same vein, Hiddink executed an intensive offense practice, calling out only the offenders on 5th, for the first time since the Hiddink squad was launched, and he concentrated on practicing to score according to the change of situation. In particular, he urged the defensive line to push up to the front for surprise attack by through-pass of the defenders.

The essence of Hiddink`s offensive tactics is `a short and quick through-pass`. That is, he is trying to make an opportunity to score by connecting the efficient passes to the front offenders right after taking the ball from the opponent through the strong pressure of the midfielders, who have recently made much improvement. It is the plan to complete one axis of the total soccer, which can be epitomized as both `total defense` and `total offense`.

So, now we can expect that the Korean team will show the unparalleled power in the evaluation game with the USA team on 9th. Besides, the competition for taking the starting striker position will also be heated among Lee Dong-Gook, Hwang Sun-Hong, Seol Ki-Hyun, and Kim Do-Hoon.

Yang Jong-Koo yjongk@donga.com