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Team Korea stands ready to give its all to win Germany

Posted June. 27, 2018 07:46,   

Updated June. 27, 2018 07:46


“Like a drowning man will clutch at a straw, we’ll do our best to prepare for the match.”

South Korea’s national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong said that his team would give its all in desperation to collect a win over Germany at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Last in Group F with two losses, South Korea will take on Germany for the final match at Kazan Arena on Wednesday at 11 p.m. Being the No. 1 team in the FIFA rankings (which put South Korea at 57th), Germany was beaten by Mexico to the surprise of many, but earned a dramatic win over Sweden. Yet, the defending champions are in no place to be certain about advancing to the round of 16. Germany’s head coach Joachim Low also noted that he was focusing only on winning the match with South Korea.

Among the Taegeuk Warriors, Hwang Hee-chan and Son Heung-min are likely to lead the attack, both of whom show great speed and skills for counter-attacks.

Germany’s defender Jerome Boateng was red-carded at the match with Sweden, and will be out for the upcoming match. South Korea is expected to take advantage of it. During the previous two games, the top speed of Hwang and Son sprinting was 33.3 km/h and 31.97 km/h, respectively.

Having played for Hamburger SV and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Son is well aware of German defenders’ play style, and has regained his pace by scoring a breath-taking mid-range shoot at the match against Mexico. Ahead of the duel against Germany, Son said that he would play with a do-or-die attitude. Meanwhile, Hwang has proved his skills to advance fast through the sides, but also made a mistake by getting to the end line and choosing to pass a ball to the back post. “I feel regret and get upset when I think of the mistake I made during the match with Mexico,” Hwang said. “I really want to score a goal at the match with Germany.”

The biggest challenge currently faced by Team Korea is that the team’s captain and midfielder Ki Sung-yueng will be out for the match due to the left calf injury he suffered during the latest match. Team Germany has a number of world-class midfielders such as Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil. In particular, Kroos was clearly the engine behind the team’s attack during the previous matches, showing the pass completion rate as high as 94 percent on average.

Due to Ki’s injury, the duo of Jung Woo-young and Koo Ja-cheol are expected to fill in for Ki Sung-yueng and Ju Se-jong at the upcoming match. Koo can serve as a link between strikers and defenders as he has abundant experiences both as an attacking and defensive midfielder during his career in Germany for eight years. Jung, meanwhile, has great talents in defense and is capable of firing a long pass through the opposing team’s defenders.

Yun-Cheol Jeong trigger@donga.com