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Team Korea’s football match against Japan without overseas players

Team Korea’s football match against Japan without overseas players

Posted March. 25, 2021 07:36,   

Updated March. 25, 2021 07:36


South Korean national football team will have a friendly match with Japan in Nissan Stadium in Yokohama at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday for the first time in a decade since the last one held in Sapporo in 2011. The South Korean team has a simple but clear weapon to win the game.

The South Korean football team will face the upcoming match without major strikers and midfielders who are currently playing in overseas clubs, including Son Heung-min, Hwang Ui-jo, Hwang Hee-chan, Lee Jae-sung, Hwang In-beom, and Ju Se-jong, for injuries and refusals to transfer. The options of attack are limited as a result. Yoon Bit-garam who would pass the ball from midfield had to also drop out of the team due to a calf injury.

For Japan, players in France and Belgium are missed, but those playing in the U.K., Italy, and Germany joined the national team. Japan will take advantage of a home game and put strong pressure on South Korea in attacks with its unique short passes to occupy the ball. “We wanted to face the strongest team in preparation for a warm-up match. The upcoming match with South Korea will be beneficial for the Japanese team’s growth,” said Japanes national team manager Hajime Moriyasu on Wednesday. “To win the game, we need to boldly take the ball from the opposite team from the start.”

The strategy of the Japanese team is to put pressure on the weakened central strikers and midfielders of the South Korean team to paralyze the entire build-up. The team is confident that center backs Maya Yoshida and Takehiro Tomiyasu who are currently playing in Serie A are enough to cover South Korea’s simple attacks of passing the ball from a defender to a front-line striker.

The South Korean team can find opportunities on the sides of the field. Lee Kang-in who is likely to play as a central midfielder and wingers will have to play bigger roles. Lee frequently broke down an opposing team’s side defenders in Valencia CF with accurate control of the ball and precise passes. The overall match with Japan will depend on how often the ball is passed to central strikers from Lee and other wingers, including Na Sang-ho, Lee Dong-jun, and Kim In-sung. Jeong Woo-yeong with quick speed may play as a substitute winger. Japan’s side defenders who will be mainly composed of players in local teams, such as Ken Matsubara, lack experience and intensity compared to the team’s central defenders.

“I am thinking about how to utilize Lee Kang-in and Jeong Woo-yeong. We will play strategically by predicting Japan’s plans,” said the South Korean team’s manager Paulo Bento. “We will also devise plans on how to take advantage of Japan’s weaknesses.”

Jae-Yeong Yoo elegant@donga.com