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Offensive Line, `Survival Rate` Is 60 Per Cent

Posted April. 29, 2002 09:19,   


`That which has been joined shall one day be parted.`

After playing the evaluation match with China on the 27th, the Korean national soccer team’s manager Guus Hiddink hinted that it is `time to conclude relations` with certain players, who have been with the team for over a year.

“I will confirm the final entry and announce it as soon as possible, and it may be as early as the first week of May,” explained Hiddink. Therefore, the enlisting in the Seoguipo field training, which will begin on the 2nd next month, has high possibility to be the actual final entry. Although a reserve entry is to be included in a portion of the Seoguipo list, substitution will be rare unless some starting members fall into injury or unexpected accidents.

Who will be the 23 `Korean warriors` in the 2002 World Cup finals? Considering the national team’s usual formation of 3-4-3 and 3-4-1-2, 6 players in defense, 8 in midfield, 6 in offense, and 3 in goalkeeping are expected.

The fiercest competition for positions will occur in the offensive line. The rest of other positions are limited in player resources, therefore, the current start-ups are expected to join the final entry. But the offensive line is inevitable of some `cruelty`.

∇Offense = There are two possible cases of placement, 3-top and 2-top. The 3-top, which utilizes both wings around the forefront striker, has been the standard, using Lee Chun-Su – Sul Gi-Hyun – Choi Tae-Wook. For Sul’s position, Hwang Sun-Hong and Choi Yong-Su can always stand by, and for Choi’s place, Cha Doo-Ri, for Lee’s place, Ahn Jung-Hwan are also there. In case of 2-top, Yoon Jung-Hwan is a strong candidate for the position of playmaker and rear striker. Besides, Choi Sung-Kuk, who displayed an excellent performance in the national youth team, is likely to join the Seoguipo training.

Therefore, cut-down to 9 players is already inevitable. Hiddink’s final decision between post-player Choi Yong-Su and weak-stamina Yoon Jung-Hwan is waited upon. It is regretful to see the new generation stars risen right after the 1998 France World Cup, including Lee Dong-Kuk and Koh Jong-Su, and veteran Kim Do-Hun pushed back.

∇Midfield = While Lee Eul-Yong on left, Song Jong-Kuk on right, and Lee Young-Pyo with Kim Nam-Il on defensive midfield are secured, Park Ji-Sung, Choi Sung-Yong, and Hyun Young-Min are fighting their ways for start-up. As `all-round player` Yoon Sang-Chul can be assigned anywhere in offense, defense, and midfield, certain players are to have mixed feelings according to his placement.

∇Defense = Although Hong Myung-Bo in middle, Kim Tae-Young on left, and Choi Jin-Chul on right are sustaining an advantage by repeating the recent record of no loss point, Lee Min-Sung and Shim Jae-Won’s challenge is not easy too. As Kim Byung-Ji and Lee Woon-Jae are certain of the goalkeeper position, Kim Yong-Dae and Choi Eun-Sung are competing for the other placement. The center of attention is whether it would be Kim or Lee to wear the starting gloves.

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com