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S. Korea, Japan Need to Raise Scoring Punch

Posted July. 01, 2010 12:49,   


Japanese soccer midfielder Daisuke Matsui unleashed a powerful spinning shot 30 meters away from Paraguay’s goal in the 20th minute of their second-round World Cup game Tuesday. The ball hit the crossbar.

In the 34th minute, Japan got the ball to Keisuke Honda after advancing through a one-on-one pass from the half line. The midfielder kicked a powerful mid-range shot but it was wide left of the goalpost.

In Korea’s knockout game versus Uruguay Saturday, striker Park Chu-young shot a free kick from left of the penalty area in the fourth minute. The ball cleverly flew over the defensive wall and headed toward the left goalpost, with Uruguayan goalie Fernando Muslera unable to block it. The shot hit the goalpost and went out of bounds, however.

With just four minutes left in the game, striker Lee Dong-gook kicked the ball between Muslera’s legs in a one-on-one after beating the offside trap. The ball went through the goalie’s legs slowly and was cleared by Uruguay.

After South Korea and Japan each lost in the round of 16, foreign media said both teams performed well but their lack of scoring punch cost them. South Korea lost to Uruguay Saturday, 2-1, while Japan fell to Paraguay in a penalty shootout, 5-3, after a scoreless tie Tuesday.

In its three Group B games, the Taegeuk Warriors scored five goals and gave up six while Japan netted four and had two against. Though scoring a fair number of in their respective groups, both teams failed to show the same offensive spunk in the second round.

Uruguay was the sole team in the World Cup this year to allow no goals in its three group games. It held 1998 champion France to a scoreless draw despite losing a player because of a red card.

Paraguay was also strong in defense, allowing just one goal to Italy and shutting out the scoring-minded Slovakia.

South Korea and Japan demonstrated their scoring capacity only against teams with a strong offense. They failed to create scoring chances against squads that focused on defense followed by counterattack.

Both Park and Honda, who performed well in the group matches, failed to score against the watertight defenses of Uruguay and Paraguay.

Simon Burnton, a reporter for the U.K. daily Guardian who watched all of the group matches of South Korea and Japan, said, “Neither team had one-shot, one-kill strikers. If they aim to advance to the quarterfinals and rank higher at the next World Cup, they need strikers who can seal wins when given the opportunity.”