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National soccer team under coach Hong displays strong determination

National soccer team under coach Hong displays strong determination

Posted July. 22, 2013 07:02,   


The so-called “Korean style soccer” stressed by Coach Hong Myung-bo was characterized by strong pressure on the rival team’s offense, and swift switching of offense and defense.

Korea tied Australia 0-0 at the opening match of the 2013 East Asian Cup held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Saturday. But the “Hong Myung-bo” squad displayed its unique color without reservation. After Hong debuted as the national adult team coach at the match, he said, “The team played nicely considering a short preparatory period. Although the team failed to translate many opportunities into goals, we showed a good play in the course of playing.”

Although Team Korea failed to score a goal, it created a number of opportunities through strong pressure and swift switching of offense and defense. The team seemed to showcase the true nature of “Korean style soccer,” which Hong vowed to introduce when he inaugurated as the team’s coach. “We are not Spain or Germany. I would like to take on the challenge of the World Cup soccer finals by creating Korean style tactics in which our players are best and most competitive,” Hong said.

When the Australian team took the ball at the game, Korea used a tactic in which all of its players including strikers and midfielders instantly shifted to the pressing soccer mode to curb the rival team’s advance. Even when the rival team penetrated Korea’s pressing soccer, other members of the Korean team moved to respective positions appropriate for defense, and started pressing the rival team anew through localized defense. Australian players got into disarray due to strong pressure by Korea, and thus were hardly able to cross the centerline.

After intercepting the ball, the Korean team swiftly launched offense. Banking on their strong mobility, its players, including striker Kim Dong-seop (Seongnam), and offensive midfielders Ko Yo-han (Seoul), Lee Seung-ki (Jeongbuk), and Yoon Il-lok (Seoul), advanced to close Australia’s goal. “The team could not show a fully organized play, because it assembled only two days ago, but its strong pressure followed by fast tempo offense deserves high marks,” said Han Joon-hee, a soccer commentator at KBS.

Playing the match, the Korean team also did not reveal loopholes in its defense, a chronic problem of Korean soccer. The team displayed stable defense through perfect teamwork between Kim Jin-soo (Niigata), Kim Young-kwon (Guangzhou), Hong Jeong-ho (Jeju) and Kim Chang-soo (Kashiwa). They are so-called “Hong Myung-bo kids” who served as members of the U-20 national team and the national team for the London Olympics. “The team was perfect when it comes to defense,” Hong said.

The most regrettable element shown in the match was the team’s lack of capacity to score goal. It had 25 shots, which translates into four times as many as Australia (six), but failed to score any. Striker Kim Dong-seop who started, and Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan) who joined as Kim’s replacement in the second half, failed to display a threatening play. “I started Kim Dong-seop because he was in best condition. He failed to score despite having opportunities, but he played great,” Hong said.

Fans cheered at something else at the match: players’ commitment to win shown in their eyes. “Unlike in the past, players showed strong commitment to win, which was noteworthy. This alone may adequately represent ‘Hong Myung-bo effect,`” Han said.

Hong said, “We will display constantly evolving plays.” Attention is focusing on how much better the “Taegeuk Warriors” will play at the second match of the championship versus China, which will take place at Hwaseong General Sports Town at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.