Aggressive game essential against Mali tomorrowIn their 1-0 win against Mexico on Sunday, their second match of Olympic competition, Korea’s soccer team employed an aggressive playing style that gave them the upper hand throughout the game.
Expect the Koreans to apply pressure in the midfield and play a similarly aggressive game tomorrow against Mali in its last game of the preliminary rounds. With one win and a draw to its credit so far, Korea will advance to the next round if it beats Mali or if the game ends in a draw.
Nevertheless, team skipper Kim Ho-gon has said that it would be too dangerous to play for a draw given the unpredictability of Mali’s squad, which managed to beat Greece 2-0 in earlier play in what many experts considered a surprise upset. That victory brought Mali’s record up to one win and a draw in the Group A preliminaries.
Mali, which beat Cameroon, the 2000 Sydney Games gold medalist, during the African qualifying round, has now put in four points from two games after a scoreless draw with Mexico in earlier competition.
A draw against Korea would put Mali on top of Group A and Korea in second, because Mali has scored more goals.
In Olympic soccer, 16 teams are divided into four groups in round-robin play, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the quarterfinals.
Mali employs a 4-4-2 formation in which its midfielders, each of whom possesses solid individual skills, attempt to break through the middle of the opposing team. They are also fast on the break, using right wing Jimmy Kebe’s breakneck speed, which could pose some danger to Korea’s defense.
Midfielder Momo Sissoko, who plays for Valencia of Spain’s Primera League, is the game maker for Mali, dictating the speed of the game and supplying the ball to the forwards. Breaking up his passing lanes will be essential if Korea is to take control of the game.
by Brian Lee