Quit whining about the refs, let’s get a striker

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Quit whining about the refs, let’s get a striker

A couple of things on the World Cup ― or, better to say, the behavior of the South Korean fans. Do I think the Swiss got the better deal from the refs in the match against South Korea? Absolutely. But that’s it. The whining stops there. Period. South Korea has benefited many times from referees’ calls, so what comes around goes around.
To bombard FIFA’s Web site and then get blocked off? Well, one has to ask whether the country’s high Internet ratio has anything to do with the fact that South Korea was the only nation in the world to get blocked.
Or is it because we are bad losers?
Now, eyeing the next World Cup, the national squad’s performance will be the same as it was this year if we don’t find a cure. Asia’s flag will be raised with a glimmer of hope, but there will be no wind playing with the flag.
The South Korean team lost because it didn’t have a sure striker. Fifteen shots against the Swiss were useless. Several times, when the ball was in play only a few yards away from the opposing goal, shots hit the goal post and kicks were missed or went wide as if God was bending the path of the ball. If not for this invisible hand, South Korea would still be playing. The country now has a couple of players who compete in the European leagues, the most coveted spot in soccer.
There is some experience in the midfield, but without a legitimate striker the team will stay on its current level. So the search must begin.
Is Park Chu-young the answer? He can be if he learns to be more physical. Right now, he is just a kid who has great potential. But if he fails to put on more muscle, he’ll be just like Ahn Jung-hwan, who is a good player who can’t raise his game because of his lack of physical stamina and inability to win the ball in one-on-one situations.
South Korea has developed a reputation as a hard-playing team that won’t let its opponents rest until the final whistle.
So far, the country keeps relying on a handful of “elite” players in every international tournament. This formula will only yield disappointment.
Fans need to show the same kind of support to the domestic K-League as they have done to the World Cup. Only then can the league grow and a large players’ pool of talent emerge. The more talent a coach has, the more he can strategize. Another long term project is the need to raise individual skill levels, such as ball trapping and dribbling. The stamina and cohesiveness as a team is there, but the lack of those skills is a problem when quick, short passes are needed to dissolve a tough defense.
After finding its striker, the team needs to find someone who can anchor the defense. This defense looked out of place and, above all, without leadership. Without securing that defense in the back, the midfield won’t be able to go on the attack and pressure the opponent up front. And that will weaken one of the strong points of this team.


by Brian Lee

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