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Experts Analyze Korea vs. Switzerland

Posted May. 18, 2006 03:00,   


Play style based on teamwork and endurance-

The last game to be played in Group G in the 2006 Germany World Cup, the Korea-Switzerland match, looks to be a tough one for both teams. Both sides base their play styles on teamwork and stamina. KBS sports commentator Han Jun-hee and Incheon United manager Jang Woe-ryong have consistently emphasized the threat posed by the Swiss. In what aspects is Switzerland better than Korea—if any? The match between the two similar squads will likely amount to a hard-fought battle, agree the two experts.

Fight especially intense in midfield-

Korea has the strongest midfield in its World Cup history with Park Ji-sung, Kim Nam-il, and Lee Eul-ryong in place. It is thought to be undaunted by the names like Tranquillo Barnetta and Johann Vogel, who occupy the Swiss midfield. The prospect of a midfield confrontation between Park and Barnetta draws much attention. Park will likely function as a playmaker for the Korean squad; getting walled off by the Swiss defense seems unavoidable. Park is capable of freely performing in various positions. Jang says Park needs to switch his location constantly and confuse opposing players. Han projects that Advocaat will likely give Park Ji-sung the freedom to move about. Switzerland midfielder Barnetta is similar to Park in many ways. Barnetta is a formidable attacker as a wing-forward. He is an all-around talent who excels in dribbling, kicking, and crossing. Korea’s defense needs to slow him down.

Quick penetration in the center-

Both sides will try to attack the center using quick penetrating passes. The shared weakness of the two teams is the slow reaction of their defenses.

Korea needs to quickly rush into the space left open by Swiss defense when it concentrates on marking Park. This role could be assigned to speedy and crafty attackers such as Park Ju-young and Lee Chun-su. Park Ji-sung must aid them with penetrating passes. “Shaking the opposing defense with only your forward attackers has its limits. Park Ji-sung and the second liners need to support the front,” says Jang.

The Swiss offense, fronted by Alexander Frei, will try to cut through Korea`s defense with quick passes. To prevent this, the defenders must attach themselves to opposing forwards early and stay aggressive. This buys time to put more pressure on the opponent. The close resemblance of the two will likely result in a contest of willpower and endurance.

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com