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New Faces Fail to Produce New Soccer

Posted February. 01, 2008 08:06,   

한국어

“I feel I missed so much. What did I get? Well, not much.”

National soccer coach Huh Jung-moo expressed disappointment in his debut Wednesday, after Korea lost 1-0 to Chile in an exhibition game at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Before the match, expectations and worry surrounded his team because of the inclusion of many new players. The lack of experience clearly showed, and the Taegeuk Warriors fell short of expectations.

The Korean attack got weaker. Huh started Yeom Ki-hun (Hyundai Ulsan Horang-i) and Jeong Jo-gook (FC Seoul) as the two top strikers. Lee Gwan-woo (Samsung Suwon), who is considered the best technician in the K-League, rounded out the attack. The combination failed to work, however, as Korea’s midfielders could not support their strikers.

KBS commentator Han Joon-hee said, “If there is no outstanding striker, the alternative is to create as many scoring chances as possible using tactics like the 2-1 pass, but even that didn’t work out.”

The lack of scoring punch could plague the team in a third-round qualifier for the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Turkmenistan Wednesday. Jeong is out of action after suffering a back injury in the Chile game.

Huh is considering using at center forward Seol Ki-hyeon (Fulham), who will return to the national team Monday.

In the loss Wednesday, Huh used three backs in the first half and four in the second. The three backs leaned too much toward defense and weakened the attack, and the four-back formation showed problems in teamwork.

Myongji University professor Shin Moon-sun said, “What I can call a small success is that a few new players showed their potential.”

Cho Yong-hyeong (Seongnam Ilhwa) played defender in the first half and midfielder in the second. Defensive midfielders Hwang Ji-soo and Park Won-jae, both of whom play for the K-League’s Pohang Steelers, were lauded for their active play.

Goalie Kim Byung-ji (FC Seoul), who returned to the national squad after an absence of five years and two months, is also out with a back injury suffered against Chile. Kim Yong-dae (Gwangju Sangmu) will replace him.



kimsk@donga.com