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Readiness for the Ultimate Victory against Paraguay

Posted August. 20, 2004 22:01,   


"If we go to the stake and play our best, the outcome should be good."

Commenting on the 2004 Athens Olympics men`s soccer quarterfinal match between Korea and Paraguay to be held in Thessaloniki City, Greece at 3 a.m. (Korean time) on August 22, Korean head coach Kim Ho-gon delivered his determination saying, "We`ll exert ourselves to the limit to win as this is a single round match."

The Korean Olympic soccer team fulfilled its dreams as it made it to the quarterfinals for the second time since the 1948 London Olympics, taking 56 years to do so.

Winning Tactics—

Coach Kim swapped the team’s formation from lining up the top three strikers in the front on most lines to positioning two strikers in front instead. The intention is to strengthen the midfield line in order to cut off the opponents’ attack from the mid-zone and to seize a chance to counter-attack.

Coach Kim commented, "In the three-man attack system, right winger Choi Tae-wook shifts up front only to open the gap with the midfielders as the striking line forms a line. So, to pressure the center zone, it`s more efficient to adopt the two-man attack formation.”

According to this, Coach Kim is planning to position Lee Chun-soo (Real Sociedad) as a playmaker and have Choi Sung-guk (Ulsan) or wildcard Chung Kyung-ho (Ulsan) replace Choi Tae-wook (Incheon) to team up with Jo Jae-jin (Shimizu) to form the top-two system.

Kim Dong-jin (Seoul), who currently has one goal and two assists, Kim Jung-woo (Ulsan), who held the spotlight for the game-deciding goal against Mexico, Kim Doo-hyun (Suwon), and Park Kyu-sun (Chunbuk) will constitute the midfield zone. For the defense, Yoo Sang-chul (Yokohama) as the core, Kim Chi-gon (Seoul), and Jo Byung-kuk(Suwon) will start for the team.

Paraguay’s Weak Points—

Paraguay has players, such as the 2002 South American Player of the Year Jose Cardozo, packed with fascinating goal-scoring abilities and individual skills, and midfielders Enciso, Julio Cesar, Figueredo, and Diego with great penetrating abilities and passing skills. But the players possess weaknesses in that they err from performing their best in strong-pressured defense situations due to their inability to cope with body checks.

The soccer experts analyzed that the Paraguay defense holds numerous blind spots. Korean Olympic team video analyst Ha Jae-hoon commented, "The defensive line of Paraguay has weak points in lacking speed and allowing open spaces easily. Our strikers will be fast enough to break through the defensive line."

The Atmosphere of the Battle—

Before the battle, Coach Kim is mending the team’s atmosphere. Coach Kim said, "I noticed there was friction between the starters and the bench, so I`ve arranged a meeting to unite the team."

Yoo Sang-chul pledged to win as he commented, "I`ve told my junior players to play with the attitude that this chance could be their last."

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com