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Korea, Greece Battle to 1-1 Tie

Posted January. 23, 2006 03:24,   


Korea and Greece battled to a 1-1 tie in a World Cup training match in Saudi Arabia yesterday.

Korean national team manager Dick Advocaat was happy after the game, because he may have found a few promising aspects. “Our young players are getting better and better,” Advocaat said. “Our four-back defensive alignment also worked well against the opposing team’s attackers.”

MBC TV’s commentator Kim Ju-seong said, “The team’s four-back defense and young talent passed the test.”

Korea’s four-back defense, consisting of Kim Dong-jin, Kim Jin-gyu, Choi Jin-cheol, and Jo Won-hee (who was replaced by Jang Hak-yeong 35 minutes into the first half) was successful. The team faced a few risky situations earlier in the game when its zone defense and man-to-man defense faltered, but as the team got more organized later in the game, the team’s defense found its rhythm with midfielders and started to put pressure on opposing attackers.

When side-backs Kim Dong-jin and Jang Hak-yeong found some stability on defense, they energized the team’s attacks by advancing deep into the opponent’s side. “As time passed, we started to feel more organized, and became more comfortable with the four-back alignment,” said center backs Choi Jin-cheol and Kim Jin-gyu.

Kim Ju-seong looked back on the match and said, “Some young players, including Baek Ji-hun, Lee Ho, and Kim Du-hyeon made several mistakes under Greek pressure. But they did not falter, and Park Ju-young’s goal helped to bring some stability to the game. Coming out of that situation with their nerves intact was a boon for these young players. It must have given them a big confidence boost.”

After putting five players 22 years of age or younger into the game, Advocaat said he was impressed with how fast his young players are maturing. He also maintained that this match was merely a test, hinting that there will be many more tests to come.

“It’s important to discover as many young players as possible,” said Kim. “But the defense needs to find its best defenders as soon as possible for the sake of the squad’s teamwork.”

Korea will play against Finland on January 25. Finland’s last match against Saudi Arabia ended in a 1-1 draw.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com