For national team, experiments go on

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For national team, experiments go on

When the national team played Japan on Wednesday night, Korea went to the same formation that it employed in a draw with Colombia on March 29.
In search of a goal Wednesday, that Korea lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation is understandable, since the formation is designed to create a supply line to the lone striker up front.
Nevertheless, without a solid backfield, this formation is too dangerous. Opponents who break through the midfield can benefit from fast breaks on the wings -- as Japan did.
The Korean backfield was caught off guard on such plays, while it made the mistake of moving too much toward the midfield,
In Spain’s Primera Liga, Real Madrid uses the same formation, but the fundamental difference is that a rock-solid defense is the backbone of the formation.
However, Real Madrid has players of the caliber of Zinadine Zidane at every position, making it possible for the Spanish club to cover a lot of ground.
Another problem that was exposed Wednesday was the vulnerability in pressuring the midfield. Korean players had to get off the ball fast on short passes that often missed.
Korea also seemed to show the pressure of playing a major rival in a match at home.
Lee Cheon Su’s shot on goal that hit the post was one of many blown chances that seemed to stem from nerves.
Some might blame Humberto Coelho’s strategy of using all five substitutions that were allowed for this match, affecting overall teamwork. Nevertheless, fans should remember that Coelho is still experimenting with his players.
The short training period of two days revealed itself Wednesday: Some defenders simply didn’t seem to know where their teammates were. Kim Tae-young, who anchored the defense, appeared an exception. The rest of the defensive crew, Choi Sung-yong and Cho Byong-kuk repeatedly had trouble adjusting to fast breaks, giving Japan opportunities.
As for individual players, Lee Dong-kuk of Sangmu should not have played the match. He showed a few glimpses of his potential, firing some threatening shots on goal. However, it was obvious that he was not in shape. He seldom put up a fight for the ball and almost never ran after it.
Passing plays leading from the midfield to the single striker position (played by Lee Dong-kuk, and then Ahn Jung-hwan) proved to be problematic as well.
This shortcoming took on a life of its own after Yoo Sang-chul had to leave the match in the second half.
Kim Sang-sik, who came into the match for Yoo, failed to distribute the ball with much authority.
The absence of Song Jong-kuk and Lee Young-pyo was felt, for Lee Chun-soo and Choi Tae-wook, who took over at the wings, relied too many times on simple crosses to break through. If the latter two play at their midfield positions, more stability will likely be available.
Again, despite plenty of chances, Korea failed to put the ball into the net. With Coelho still experimenting and looking to end the team’s scoring drought, anyone who steps up and scores will surely get the nod.


by Brian Lee
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