Go to contents

Korea vs. Togo: Expect Explosiveness

Posted May. 16, 2006 03:00,   


Sparks are expected in the first round 2006 World Cup match between Group G-seeded Korea and Togo.

In a match against Saudi Arabia in Sittard, Netherlands, Togo showed a much-improved appearance. Togo, coached by Otto Pfister, reinforced its pressure makers in its midfield thanks to a more stabilized defense, and used a quick-counter offense to start the game. Lee Young-moo, head of Korean Football League committee, Park Moon-sung, SBS commentator, and Kim Hak-bum, Seongnam Ilwha coach, analyzed the game.

A stabilized defense-

The 196cm Nibombe and the 183cm Changai’s center defense were firm. They intercepted most passes and cut off the offense of Saudi Arabia. By closing in on the distance between the midfielder and defense, the opponent had less room to move. The midfielders instantly joined the defense to make six defenders, and turn up the pressure on the opponents.

Quick counterattack ability-

After stealing the ball, Togo launched a swift counterattack. Shooters Senaya Jr. and Coubadja used their quick feet and their individual skills to constantly threaten the Saudi Arabian goal. Right defensive back Toure’s overlapping defense, and Olufade and Coubadja’s pass routes was often used as well. However, Togo’s goals were not decisive enough. When Adebayor (190cm), who scored 11 goals in regional preliminary matches, joins the team, Togo’s attack is expected to get stronger.

Flank attacks will be decisive-

Coach Kim Hak-bum and Park Moon-sung both agreed, “Togo will not be an easy opponent. But Korea has a chance.” Kim said, “Togo often uses surprise on the flank. The flank will be important in the match with Korea. Cooperative defense will have to be used to deal with Adebayor, but in a flank attack, a one-on-one defense situation often arises.”

Korea’s right defensive reinforcement will be key-

Chances are that Toure will be in charge of Togo’s right flank. In that case, he will face left defensive Lee Young-pyo. Togo’s left defender Richmond also often takes an overlapping role. In this case, Korea’s right defensive Cho Won-hee or Song Jong-guk will step up against him. Cho Won-hee is skilled at reinforcing the offense, but is a bit weak at one-on-one defense. On the other hand, Song Jong-guk is skilled at one-on-one defense, but the fact that he is not fully recovered is an uneasy element.

Korea’s counterattack ability-

There is a big chance Korea’s counterattack ability will exploit Togo’s use of overlapping defenders in the empty spaces where their defenders have moved forward. Therefore, Korea must dig into these empty spaces. Wingbacks like Park Chu-young and Lee Chun-soo will be tasked for the job. Togo’s center has a strong control of the air, but low spontaneity. Using swift groundballs to penetrate the center could be a good tactic. Also, side defense Lee Young-Pyo and Cho Won-hee’s skills at reinforcing the offense could be used to change the pace of the game.

Yoon-Jong Yoo Won-Hong Lee gustav@donga.com bluesky@donga.com