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Will Spain Friendly Prepare Korea for Argentina?

Posted June. 03, 2010 14:06,   


Korea soccer coach Huh Jung-moo says, “Allowing 10 goals is okay. Playing the world’s best team will be a great experience in itself.”

His team will play its final exhibition game before the World Cup Thursday against global powerhouse Spain, which combines the strengths of both South American and European soccer. The European champion has players who are collectively valued at more than 600 billion won (489 million U.S. dollars).

Korea is ranked 47th in the FIFA world rankings and Spain is No. 2.

Huh had planned to play Park Chu-young (AS Monaco) as the lone striker and captain Park Ji-sung (Manchester United) as an attacking midfielder under a 4-2-3-1 formation. Park Ji-sung is questionable for the game due to thigh pain, however, so the coach has no choice but to change his tactics. Kim Jae-sung (Pohang Steelers) will likely fill in for the United star.

○ Virtual Argentina?

Spain is often called the “Brazil of Europe” because of its team’s precision passes in midfield and speedy attacks. So Thursday’s game will be a litmus test for Korea to prepare for its second Group B match against Argentina June 17.

Spain’s best weapons are in its midfield, namely Xavier Hernandez and Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Valencia) and Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid).

SBS soccer commentator Park Moon-sung said, “These players have a strong ability to take over the ball, magic-like ball possession skills, and fast passing to control the match. In this regard, the team is similar to Argentina.”

○ Midfield seen as key

Korea will employ a reinforced midfield while focusing on defense against Spain. Coach Huh said, “If we allow Spain to dominate the midfield, we`ll be overwhelmed. So above all, I’ll try to reinforce our midfield play and have our team apply solid pressure so that we won’t lag behind in midfield.

KBS commentator Lee Yong-soo said, “The match against Spain will be an important test for Korea’s fullbacks and midfielders,” adding, “Attention is on how Korea will display cooperative defense and systematic play to effectively block Spain from securing space in the game since the Spaniards possess far superior individual skills.”

Another task for Korea is to find a partner for Park Chu-young on offense. The effect of Korea’s tactic to stage instant counterattacks through one-shot passes by the defense is also expected to draw scrutiny.