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Beat Chinese to the Punch to Go over Great Wall

Posted March. 02, 2004 23:11,   


“To regain our confidence and beat them to the punch is the most important thing.”

The manager of JeonNam Dragons, Lee Jang-soo (48-years-old) who has taken control of professional teams in China for six years, presented a must-win solution for the Korean Olympic team, lead by Kim Ho-gon against China. Leaving for China after managing Ilhwa team in 1998, Lee has lead Chongqing Lipan and Quingdao Hainiu to become the best teams in the Chinese league. His advice is valuable since Chinese soccer is not well known.

Dominate Opponents--

It is crucial to dominate them completely. Chinese tend to be weak in big matches, especially in road games. A victory will likely happen if Koreans prevail over Chinese in a spirited battle from the beginning since Chinese has suffered from the “fearing Korean disease.” Aware of this, Korean players have to push forward actively. Koreans were down after the defeat to Japan. On the other hand, the Chinese seem confident compared to before. Koreans should keep in mind that Chinese has trained together from the beginning of this year.

Be Cautious of Players from Dalian Shide--

Dalian Shide is a highly reputed team which won seven championships in the Kap group (first league) of the Chinese Professional Soccer. Five players of the Olympic team belong to Dalian, and all of them are starting players so that solid teamwork play is a threat to opponents. A 1m 92cm tall goalie, An Qi, covers a wide range defensively. A right wingback, Wang Sheng, and a defensive midfielder, Hu Zhaojun, are excellent in attacking as well as one-on-one defense. Both of them are capable of controlling a game, including breaking the opponent’s flow. Left wing Yan Song is famous for his accurate cross centering after passing two or three players within a narrow area. Right defender Zhang Yaokun also belongs to Dalian.

Moreover, center defender Du Wei (Shenhua), left midfielder Sherang (Ryao Ning) and right wingforward Gaoming (Qingdao) are noteworthy players. Especially Du Wei, a 1m 87cm tall centerback, sometimes knocks in a high percentage header into the net during set plays.

Prepare for their Irregular Attack--

The Chinese team modifies its system to a three-top formation, namely operating wings of two sides with one-top striker together, once they snatch the ball and attack. To outnumber the Chinese players, the Korean defense should be changed into a four-back formation from the current three-back. Defense lines should be made solid, for example adding a midfielder to the three-back or posting an additional defensive midfielder.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com