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Ki: ‘I will play as if last event on Monday

Posted June. 21, 2014 01:48,   


“I will play the 2nd group match against Algeria as if it is the last event I play.”

Ki Sung-yueng, defensive midfielder of the Korean national soccer team, expressed his strong determination ahead of the second group match against Algeria (4 a.m. Monday, Korea time) of the World Cup finals in Brazil. When this reporter met with him at Foz do Iguaçu Flamengo arena, Korea’s base camp in Brazil, Ki said, “If I try to avoid receiving a yellow card, I could end up committing error, and I don’t care much (about accumulation of warnings). Since we cannot afford to lose the second match, we have no choice but to stage do-or-die battle to win.” Ki received a yellow card at the first group match against Russia on Wednesday. If he receives a yellow card once again, he gets disqualified to play in the match against Belgium, the third of the group matches.

Team Korea, which almost beat Russia ‘the polar bear’ to tie the match, should take down Algeria, ‘fox of the desert,’ without fail. Korea scored the first goal in the match against Russia, but ended up allowing a tying goal, thus failing to secure three wining points. Given that Belgium Korea is set to face off in the third group match is the toughest team to deal with in Group H, Korea should win Algeria at any cost to make it to the round of 16 strongest teams.

Algeria, which boasts speed and individual skills, is a team that stages formidable offensives primarily through counterattacks and penetration on the side, but is relatively weak in defense. Notably, if the team gets chased after, its defense line generally moves forward, frequently leaving loopholes in hind spaces among other weaknesses. Team Korea is expected to take advantage of this hind space behind defense line of the Algerian team, which has no leeway after losing its first match against Belgium. Ton du Chatinier, Korea’s assistant coach in charge of analyzing the rival team’s capacities, said, “When Belgium scored the tying goal, Algeria’s defense started to move forward. It is important to launch heavy attacks at hind space behind the defense, which is formed in such a situation.”

Korea has displayed poor scoring capacity in set piece plays thus far, but it would be worth having expectation for set piece tactic at the match against Algeria. Algeria’s defense has shown deteriorating sense of focus when facing set piece plays. Algeria allowed four, or more than half of the seven goals it allowed during the African regional qualifiers for the World Cup in Brazil, in situations involving set piece plays.

Set piece offensives using the height of Kim Shin-wook (196 cm), a tall striker who was sitting in the bench in the first group match, may generate effect in the game against Algeria. Algeria’s all four fullbacks of the main defense line are about 180 centimeters tall, and none of them exceeds 190 cm. Kim Shin-wook said, “I wish to score a goal like Belgium’s Fellaini who scored with a header (in its game against Algeria). I will thoroughly analyze the scene.” Marouane Fellaini (194 cm) is Belgium’s tall midfielder who boasts strong command of flying balls.

Meanwhile, the national team conducted a training session for 90 minutes starting from 4 p.m. on Friday (local time), timed with the schedule of the match against Algeria on Monday. The team had started training from 5 p.m. the previous day. Kim Young-kwon, a center fullback, said, “I thought that the first match against Russia was a crisis because few players in our team had experience with a World Cup event, but we regained confidence because we successfully overcame the crisis.” Lee Chung-ryong, whose physical condition is poor due accumulating fatigue, did not participate in the training on the day. A source at the national team said, “Ha Dae-sung cannot play in the match against Algeria due to ankle injury.” On Saturday, the team moves to Porto Alegre, where the match against Algeria will take place.