Go to contents

Korea Wraps Up Camp With Mexico Win

Posted February. 17, 2006 03:11,   


The Korean national soccer team beat Mexico, 1-0 in an evaluation match at the Los Angeles Coliseum yesterday. The only goal of the game was scored by Lee Dong-guk 15 minutes into the first half on a mistake by Mexico’s goalie.

Yesterday’s match successfully wrapped up the national team’s 41-day overseas training camp. Korea comes away with five wins, one draw, and three losses.

By winning its last evaluation match, Korea showed it has improved its teamwork-based strategy. Its four-back defense, although not perfect, effectively neutralized Mexico’s vaunted offense.

Team Korea will play Syria on February 22 in an Asian Cup preliminary match. After that, a friendly match with Angola on March 1 will mark the team’s move to another phase of its training where the current squad will train with teammates who are currently playing in overseas soccer leagues.

Korea’s improved teamwork shone against Mexico. Korea had 18 shots on goal versus Mexico’s nine. This disparity was made possible by intense Korean midfield pressure. The 27 fouls called on Korea, which fielded its entire team forward at times, shows just how intense the midfield battle was.

Commentator Seo Hyeong-uk observed, “The most effective pressure came from the front when the two defensive midfielders Kim Nam-il and Yi Ho stood side-by-side and disrupted most of the opposition’s attacks.” Backing up the defensive pressure in midfield, Jo Won-hee and Choi Jin-cheol on the team’s four-back defense line successfully cut off penetration attempts by Mexico’s main striker, Fonseca.

On the offensive side, Lee Dong-guk’s aggressiveness, and Jeong Gyeong-ho and Lee Chun-su’s vigorous penetration attacks were noteworthy. Aggressive fights for the ball and frequent side attacks were just what Pim Verbeek ordered before the game, after analyzing from prior matches that Mexico did not handle rough, physical contact well, and tended to leave their sides open.

The only regret for Korea was not being able to score additional goals. Verbeek pointed out that shots on goal remain as the team’s last homework problem.

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com