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Midfielders’ Diagonal Sudden Attack Threatens

Posted January. 22, 2002 09:26,   


Defensive Power -

It is possibly false that the U.S team has mighty defensive power, after analyzing the two games. Although Korea lost many chances due to the lack of decisive shooting, the U.S. defense line constantly incurred its own crisis. Defensive midfielder Chris Armas’ covering is the first problem, and the final defense line is analyzed to have problems in positioning and man-to-man marking. Armas only hurriedly joined the defense line rather than forcibly pressing upon the enemy, and as shown in Song Jong-Kuk’s tying- goal, he allowed large shooting space for enemy strikers. That is why there were many long-distance shots from Korea on the day’s match.

Another problem arises in the process of changing from zone defense to man-to-man defense when Korean strikers ran in from the midfield. If it were an excellent striker like Hwang Sun-Hong as in the case of Choi Yong-Soo’s penalty shot or Park Ji-Sung’s failure in the decisive shooting chance, several goals would have been scored.

Offensive Power –

During the World Cup qualifying matches (pic.1), U.S.A.’s major tactic was to use Claudio Reyna’s through-pass to penetrate the center, Cobi Jones` breakthrough, and Ernie Stewart. Especially, Stewart created confusion by stirring the enemy’s defense line, and scored 5 goals.

In the Seogwipo match (pic.2), U.S.A. placed Landon Donovan as the offensive midfielder, but suffered from Korea’s heavy pressure. Jeff Cunningham was let in for the second half to open the blockage. Considering the U.S. team’s strategy of arranging the midfield in a diamond shape in a 4-4-2 formation, it is evident that Korea’s major task was to block the midfield.

U.S.A. focused on `crossings` from the sides of the midfield in the match on the 20th (pic.3). It invaded the back space of the Korean defense line by `crossings` which resulted in 2 goals, and throwing out Choi Jin-Chul out of the game. In other words, Korea’s defense positioning was bad. Another reason for the `crossings` was that Korea instantaneously lost balance in the formation to chase after the ball.

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com