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#1   Mignon

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 06:50 AM

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The Korea Republic national football team (Korean: ???? ?????) represents the Republic of Korea in international football competitions.
The team, also known as South Korea.

South Korea has participated in eight World Cup final tournaments and became the first and only Asian team to reach the semi-finals, doing so when it co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Japan. South Korea is considered as one of the most successful international football teams in Asia. It has qualified for its eighth World Cup final tournament, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, having been the only unbeaten team during the AFC qualification tournament. It won the first two editions of the AFC Asian Cup.


Nickname(s): Taegeuk Warriors (Korean: ????), Tigers of Asia, Red Devils (Korean: ?? ??)
Association: Korea Football Association
Confederation: AFC (Asia)
Head coach: Cho Kwang-Rae
Captain: Park Ji-Sung
Most caps: Hong Myung-Bo (136)
Top scorer: Cha Bum-Kun (55)
Home stadium: Seoul World Cup Stadium
FIFA code: KOR
FIFA ranking: 29
Highest FIFA ranking: 17 (December 1998)
Lowest FIFA ranking: 56 (February 1996)

AFC Asian Cup
Winners: 1956, 1960
Runner-Ups: 1972, 1980, 1988[/list]Asian Games
Gold medal: 1970, 1978, 1986
Silver medal: 1954, 1958, 1962
Bronze medal: 1990, 2010[/list]Asian Games (under-23)
Bronze medal: 2002[/list]East Asian Football Championship
Winners: 2003, 2008
Runner-Ups: 2010[/list]Dynasty Cup
Winners: 1990
Runner-Ups: 1992, 1995[/list]

The Korea Republic national women's football team (Korean:???? ?? ?? ?????) represents Republic of Korea in international Women's football competitions. The team, also known as South Korea, is recognized as Korea Republic by FIFA.


Nickname(s) : Taegeuk Nangja (Taegeuk Ladies, Korean: ?? ??)
Association : Korea Football Association
Confederation : AFC (Asia)
Head coach : Choi In-Chul
Most caps : Lee Myung-Hwa (81)
Top scorer : Cha Sung-Mi (29)
FIFA code : KOR
FIFA ranking : 16
Highest FIFA ranking : 16 (March 2011)
Lowest FIFA ranking : 26 (August 2004)

Women's East Asian Cup
Winner: 2005
4th place: 2008
3rd place: 2010[/list]Asian Games
Bronze medal: 2010[/list]
South Korea growing up as a remarkable team in the world. Keep your eyes on this team.

Edited by 0, 24 March 2011 - 04:32 PM.

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#2   Mignon

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:56 AM

[John Duerden Column] Opportunity Knocks, And Is Taken, By Korean Youngsters

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There are few things that unite football fans, media and coaches alike than the excitement that seeing young players develop brings. Blooding young players is rarely criticized and is often seen as a positive move. Who doesn’t love to see a teenager being given a chance and showing that he deserves that chance?

South Korea has long been blessed with talented teenagers and there are more on the way. During the qualification campaign for the 2010 World Cup, Lee Chung-yong and Ki Sung-yueng made their debuts for the national team and by the time South Africa rolled around, they had made the starting spots in the eleven their own. Not only that but clubs in the English, Bolton Wanderers, and Scottish, Celtic, Premier League had shelled out millions of dollars to buy their services. With a combined age of 43, the pair already have considerable World Cup, international and European experience and they can only get better.

“Double Dragon’ as they were quickly dubbed by fans and media are almost old news these days as there are new kids on the block. This is partly due to the fact that there is a new coach at the helm. Cho Kwang-rae is known for his penchant for developing young players and giving them a chance and he did just that in his first match as national team coach last week.

In an exhibition against Nigeria, at a sweaty Suwon World Cup Stadium, the headlines belonged to Yoon Bitgaram. Just 20 years old, the player, the former Under-17 team captain who spent time with English Premier league club Blackburn Rovers two years ago, announced his entrance onto the international stage in dramatic style.

After just 17 minutes, Choi Hyo-jin, not quite so young but very impressive, took a throw in from the right. It bounced once just inside the area, Yoon flicked the ball with the outside of his right boot to take him past a Nigerian defender and then smashed a half-volley into the net from just outside the right side of the six-yard box. It wasn’t the same, and wasn’t altogether similar, but it did remind a little of Park Ji-sung’s iconic goal against Portugat just up the road at Incheon during the 2002 World Cup.

There is a long way to go for the midfielder before dreams of World Cup, Champions League and Premier league glory are within reach but Park is not a bad role model to have. “He has lots of big game experience,” said Yoon to the Korean media. “I only spent a short time with him but I learnt so much.”

Yoon took the headlines but there were three other debutants. Cho Young-cheol caused problems for the African backline with his running, while at the back, Kim Young-kwon struggled at times against the tricky Nigerian captain and goalscorer Peter Odemwingie, but there is no disgrace in that. Overall though the 20 year-old can be satisfied with his debut while the same can be said of second-half substitute Hong Jung-ho of Jeju United.

There are others. It is only a matter of time before Yoo Byung-soo gets his chance. Just into his second season as a professional striker, the Incheon United striker has managed 26 goals in 52 games, an impressive goal-scoring ration wherever you go. The powerful frontman was called up by former boss Huh Jung-moo but never actually made the pitch. As he is leading the goalscoring charts this season, his time is close.

The 22 year-old may have to dislodge the 21 year-old Lee Sung-ryeol from his place in the squad. The FC Seoul striker has scored three goals in ten games so far for the Taeguk Warriors and is set to be around for quite some time. More wily and silky than the powerful and more direct Yoo, the pair could make a dangerous partnership over the next decade though European-based star Park Chu-young, a veritable veteran having just turned 25, may have something to say about that.

It is one thing for young players to earn surprise call-ups to the national team and it is great when they play well. It is important that once they attract the attention of the media that they continue to shine for their clubs and that it what is happening at the moment. Yoon Bitgaram scored one and made one last weekend as Gyeongnam defeated champions Jeonbuk Motors to go top of the table. Gyeongnam leapfrogged Jeju United after the islanders lost 4-2 at Chunnam Dragons. 19 year-old Chi Dong-won followed his international call-up, though he didn’t make the pitch, with a goal and a fine performance.

Korea, Asia and, maybe the rest of the world, will be hearing more about these players before too long.

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#3   Mignon

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 05:27 AM

Suk makes the final cut for the national team

Korea Republic national team manager Cho Kwang-Rae announced his 23-man squad ahead of the friendly against Iran next week.

Suwon midfielder Kim Du-Hyeon, who has been left out of the national team picture since the East Asian Championship in January, will return after having recovered from a knee injury. The 28 year-old has been an integral part of Suwon’s recent success in winning seven of its last eight matches.

Bolton Wanderers winger Lee Chung-Yong will also make the trip back home from England and suit up for Cho for the first time. Lee had stayed in Bolton and missed the friendly against Nigeria earlier this month after demanding that he needed more time to settle at the club to start the English Premier League season.

Also joining from Europe is Ajax Amsterdam prospect Suk Hyun-Jun. The 19 year-old striker who has yet to score for Ajax’s senior squad in a competitive match has been in excellent scoring form in pre-season as well as reserves matches and earned his first call-up to the national team. The curiosity among fans, about whether or not the youngster would make the final cut, has been rising after he was included in last week’s provisional squad.

The most surprising selection of all, however, is defender Kim Ju-Young who played under Cho at Gyeongnam FC in the last two seasons. Having ranked among top three in the league for the entirety of this season in goals conceded, Gyeongnam have become one of the best defensive sides with the 22 year-old at the heart of its three-man back-line, a system which Cho is trying to implement on the national team after being appointed this summer.

Kim Jae-Sung, Baek Ji-Hoon, Ji Dong-Won, and Lee Seung-Ryul were dropped from the squad.

# National team squad — friendly vs. Iran (Sept. 7)

GK — Kim Young-Kwang (Ulsan), Jung Sung-Ryong (Seongnam)

DF — Cho Yong-Hyung (Al Rayyan), Kwak Tae-Hwi (Kyoto), Lee Jung-Soo (Al Sadd), Kim Young-Kwon (FC Tokyo), Hong Jung-Ho (Jeju Utd), Kim Ju-Young (Gyeongnam), Lee Young-Pyo (Al Hilal), Choi Hyo-Jin (FC Seoul), Cha Du-Ri (Celtic), Park Joo-Ho (Jubilo Iwata)

MF — Ki Sung-Yong (Celtic), Kim Jung-Woo (Gwangju), Kim Du-Hyeon (Suwon), Yoon Bitgaram (Gyeongnam), Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton), Kim Bo-Kyung (Oita Trinita), Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United), Yeom Ki-Hoon (Suwon), Cho Young-Cheol (Niigata)

FW — Park Chu-Young (AS Monaco), Suk Hyun-Jun (Ajax)X[/list]

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#4   Mignon

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 04:08 PM

Cho to test prospects

Korean football manager Cho Kwang-rae is on a search for new talent by selecting defender Kim Ju-young and forward Seok Hyun-joon in his 23-man national squad, Monday.

The 14 Korean internationals playing overseas whom Cho has called up, including Manchester United’s Park Ji-sung and Bolton Wanderers’ winger Lee Chung-yong, will join the squad for the friendly against Iran on Sept. 7 in Seoul.

Both Seok and Kim Ju-young are set to appear in their first-ever senior international match.

Cho is taking this opportunity to test potential future stars in naming Gyeongnam FC defender Kim Ju-young. Kim played under Cho at Gyeongnam from last year until Cho was appointed to lead the national team on July 21 by the Korea Football Association. Cho took note of Kim’s speed and understanding in defense when he coached the 22-year-old in the K-league. Kim is expected to adapt himself to Cho’s tactics of employing his speed and a short passing game.

The youngster will need to earn his place among his compatriots. Lee Jung-soo and Cho Yong-hyung already proved their value at the World Cup this year. Kwak Tae-hwi is another rival in defense despite missing football’s biggest tournament because of a knee injury.

“It is hard to find anyone with more speed than Kim in central defense,” Cho said.

“Though he still has weaknesses to play at international level, I will test his skills in the Iran match,” the manager added.

Along with Kim, Seok joined the squad since Cho has appreciated him playing in the highly competitive Dutch first division with Ajax. Though this will be the first experience for Kim to play with the national squad, Seok has already shown ability while playing in the U-20 team last year.

Since making his Ajax debut this February, the forward finally found the net in a 3-1 win over Arsenal in a friendly in July. The 19-year-old will play in attack along with Park Chu-young who scored against Nigeria in the World Cup group stage in South Africa.

Among the 14 overseas players, midfielder Lee Chung-yong is anticipated to boost the team. Cho said his plan is to utilize Lee by letting the midfielder advance to support the striker.

“Lee is doing so great as the right winger, so we need to get the most out of him on the field,” the manager said.

“With Lee joining the team, I will make a slight variation to the 3-4-2-1 formation by letting him participate in the attack actively,” Cho explained.

Other notable overseas players in this squad are the five J-League footballers _ defenders Kwak of Kyoto Sanga FC and Park Joo-ho and Kim Young-kwon of Jubilo Iwata, midfielders Kim Bo-kyung of Oita Trinita and Cho Young-cheol of Albirex Niigata. Cho has been keeping an eye on the Korean internationals in the J-League since the friendly against Nigeria in August. It'll be an interesting match, I guess!

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#5   Mignon

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 05:03 PM

Cho Kwang-rae and Hong Myung-bo strike Ki deal

National team head coach Cho Kwang-rae and U-23 head coach Hong Myung-bo have made an agreement regarding Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yong.

The young midfielder will participate in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games with Hong’s U-23 squad in November but will not play with the national team in January for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

Cho Kwang-rae wants to win the Asian Cup for the first time in fifty-one years. To achieve this, Cho wanted to employ Ki Sung-yong in his midfield where his passing and vision would be very useful. Alternatively, Hong Myung-bo also wants to win the gold medal at the Asian Games. Despite Ki’s young age, he’s an experienced player having played in the World Cup and would be helpful in the upcoming youth tournament.

The two national coaches agreed that obtaining military exemption by winning the gold medal in the Asian Games would be beneficial to the national team. The two coaches had to decide which tournament Ki Sung-yong would play in when Celtic allowed him to play in only one of the two tournaments. Ki playing in both tournaments is not realistically possible as his club won’t release him for two whole months during the season.

Hong Myung-bo once yielded Ki Sung-yong in the past. Hong wanted to take Ki to Egypt for the 2009 U-20 World Cup but couldn’t because Ki’s commitments to the national team and the Olympics team. This time with Ki Sung-yong in his squad, Hong can assemble an impressive midfield with Ki Sung-yong, Gu Ja-cheol and wild-card Kim Jung-woo.

Hong plans to announce the provisional Asian Games squad on the 10th and his final squad on the 20th.
It's an unexpected and incomprehensible decision. Many Korean fans guess Ki isn't a type of player that fit in the Cho's squad perfectly. I don't know exactly what competition will be good for him. It's confirmed, anyway. For now, the matter is he can play in the two competitions and Celtic lets him go to play in both. Maybe Celtic will allow, because they don't think he is an important player in their squad. :rolleyes: Anyway, if he helps the national team to win gold medal in the Asian Games, he will receive military exemption. It's really good thing for his career. So, not that bad decision for Ki himself.

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#6   Karing Korean

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 11:11 PM

South Korea v Iran tomorrow! or Today in some places...

but anyways here's the predicted line up.

Jung Sung Ryong
Cha Du Ri - Lee Jung Soo - Cho Yong-Hyung - Lee Young Pyo
Lee Chung Yong - Yoon Bit Garam - Ki Sung Yong - Park Ji Sung ©
Suk Hyun-Jun*
Park Chu Young

*expected to make his first appearance for the national team at the top level.

Predict a 2-2 draw. goals from PCY and LCY

Edited by 0, 06 September 2010 - 11:13 PM.

#7   Mignon

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:31 AM

Today! I predict a 2-1 win for us. :D

Attack - Shot - Fail - Enemy's counter attack - Defender gets the ball - Our player's stupid mistake - Enemy score. It happened again. <_<

Edited by 0, 07 September 2010 - 11:56 AM.

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#8   Karing Korean

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:37 PM

Gotta cut down on those silly mistakes. I love Lee, but he has to do better than that and he's experienced which isn't helping him either. In all fairness I think everyone had a down game.

#9   Mignon

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 02:38 PM

I don't like this sort of mistakes. We gave so easy goal/win to Iran. But it was just a friendly match. This lose isn't that bad result. Our manager know what is our problem from this lost and he will do something. I believe we will get better and better.

Korea defeated by Iran in friendly match

It was a night when little went right for the Korean national soccer team. Korea lost 0-1 to Iran in a friendly at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Tuesday night.
The only goal from Masoud Shojaei in the 33th minute was enough to humiliate manager Cho Kwang-rae’s side.

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Korea made three changes from the side that beat Nigeria 2-1 in their previous match. Right back Hong Jeong-ho started in place of Kwak Tae-hwi, while Lee Chung-yong was recalled to the midfield in place of Cho Young-cheol. Also, goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong started in place of Lee Woon-jae, who retired from the national team last month.
As he promised earlier, the 55-year-old manager deployed a new 3-4-3 formation with Park Chu-young in the middle, while the Bolton Wanderers winger Lee took the right flank as a shadow striker and Manchester United winger Park Ji-sung on the left. But the new formation didn't work.
Taeguk Warriors, though, started the game nicely with a relentless attack that left the visitors stunned. Only two minutes into the first half, Korea had a golden opportunity to take the lead.
Park Chu-yong picked a loose ball from the middle and laid a perfect pass to unmarked Lee Chung-yong, but to Korea’s dismay his close-range shot struck the goalie’s leg and bounced off the target.
In the 14th minute, Iran nearly scored when slack marking by the Korean side allowed Javad Nekounam a free chance but his long-range shot was too weak to test Jung.
Fifteen minutes from the break, Cho’s side had their best chance in the first half, when Choi Hyo-jin broke through the Iran defenders and laid a perfect cross to Park Ji-sung. The captain, however, hesitated with the ball on his right foot and his shot was blocked by the Iran defender.
But, it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 33 minute. Just seconds later after the Koreans missed their golden chance, the visitors responded with a counter attack and Masoud Shojaei with Spanish side Orsasuna tapped the ball into the net past the approaching goalkeeper.
After the break, Cho made two substitutions, bringing on both Kim Do-heon and Kim Jung-woo for Ki Sung-yeung and Yoon Bitgaram.
Suk Hyun-Jun of Ajax also made his national team debut in the second half, replacing Bolton winger Lee 10 minutes from the end of the game. They all failed to make an impact, however.
More than 38,000 spectators turned up at the Seoul World Cup stadium to see the Taeguk Warrior’s action, but witnessed an unconvincing performance from their side.
The 56-year-old manager now has a much bigger test in October, as Korea faces archrival Japan. Based on the evidence from tonight, that will be a tough game.

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#10   Karing Korean

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 06:48 PM

Yes, give Cho a few games and I think he can find the best starting 11. We only have four months to prepare for the Asian Cup though. I think it'll be tough on us.

#11   Mignon

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 03:31 PM

I think so, too. It will be tough.

Iran coach tips hat to Cho, Korea soccer

The manager of Iran’s national soccer team said Korea needs “attacking prowess” and “more organized play” in order to become a leading soccer nation, after his team beat Korea on Tuesday.

“I’m proud of Korean soccer,” said Iranian manger Afshin Ghotbi, a former assistant with Korea, after watching his side defeat Korea 1-0 at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Ghotbi was seen running with his arms raised in the air and jumping with joy when Masod Shojaei of Spanish side Osasuna found the back of the net in the 34th minute, scoring the only goal of the game.

“Korea didn’t play very well today. But they are a good side,” he told reporters afterward.

There was reason for his delight on Tuesday night as his last visit to Seoul was painful -- Park Ji-sung’s late equalizer dashed Iran’s 2010 World Cup dreams.

This time, however, the 46-year-old Iranian-American gave the Koreans something to think about. Korea remained almost silent throughout the night, firing only two shots on target despite having more possession.

The lack of finishing touch doomed Korea’s chances of scoring, Ghotbi pointed out.

“I think, like always, Korea needs more chances (than other teams) to score at the international level. That is always going to be a problem for them. The attackers need to be sharper,” he said.

Ghotbi added that the East Asian side has to be better organized, saying, “They give away too many balls, allowing space for counter-attacking.”

Ghotbi had a two-year tenure as a technical analyst for the Korean national team under Guus Hiddink and continued another four years as an assistant coach for the team until 2007. ?

“Korea has been playing fantastic soccer. I’m proud of Korea,” he said.

Asked to give some advice to the newly appointed Korean manager Cho Kwang-rae, the Iranian manager said it was too early to judge his side, but claimed Korea should stick with what they are good at -- powerful and energetic soccer.

“I know Cho wants to play beautiful soccer, total soccer, with short passes, but my advice is don’t lose the strong side but add what he thinks,” he said.

On Tuesday, Cho made three changes from the side that beat Nigeria 2-1 in its previous match. Right-back Hong Jeong-ho started in place of Kwak Tae-hwi, while Lee Chung-yong was recalled to the midfield in place of Cho Young-cheol. Also, goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong started in place of Lee Woon-jae, who retired from the national team last month.

As he promised earlier, Cho deployed a new 3-4-3 formation with Park Chu-young in the middle, while Bolton Wanderers winger Lee took the right flank as a shadow striker with Manchester United winger Park Ji-sung on the left. But it didn’t work out.

The hard-nosed manager blamed poor field conditions for the loss, citing that the damaged turf prevented them from playing their fluent passing game.

But he admitted that his forwards need to work harder, saying, “The forwards need to study how to play inside the box."

The 55-year-old manager, who took over the Korean national team job in July, said that he is aiming to win the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar in January -- ending Korea’s 40-year trophy drought. ?

However, judging from Tuesday night‘s performance, Korea still has a long way to go. The Asian Cup is scheduled to take place in January. Korea is in Group C with Australia, India and Bahrain. But a more immediate challenge lies ahead when Korea faces archrival Japan on Oct. 12.

Lackluster play by Koreans in loss to Iran

The national football team’s backbone on the midfield looked lackluster and its attack featuring Park Chu-young failed to capitalize on the few chances it had in a 1-0 loss to Iran at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Tuesday night.

In his second match since taking over the reins of the national team, manager Cho Kwang-rae tested a new attack strategy featuring Park Chu-young as the lone forward and midfielders Park Ji-sung and Lee Chung-yong as offensive midfielders supporting the first line of attack.

At the core of Cho’s offense is a speedy midfield that creates chances for its forwards using quick and accurate passing along the attack routes up either wing positions.

With the midfielders failing to live up to their expectations, Korea’s attack as a whole suffered.

“It’s regrettable that we weren’t able to perform well but the poor ground conditions made it difficult to play our game,” said Cho at a post-match press conference. “We will prepare for the Asian Cup with two systems. I think our players are halfway there. We failed to score but our attacks up the right wing worked well.

“We will continue to prepare for the Asian Cup using the attack pattern used in today’s game and that we used against Nigeria [Aug. 11].”

Iran’s manager Afshin Ghotbi - who served as a video analyst and assistant coach on the Korean national team under three different managers - seemed well prepared to counter Cho’s strategies.

“Korea often uses both of their wingers in their attacks,” Ghotbi said. “We attempted to take advantage of that style of play.

“Korea must create more chances and in order to do that, they need to find a capable forward. In addition, some players shifted from their positions without any clear reasons, wasting their energy in the process. When Korea was in attack mode, it left big holes on defense.”

In response, Cho said Korea was in need of capable forwards to round out its attack but is willing to wait to select the right combination of players.

“I’m always open to selecting new players,” Cho said. “I have selected Lee Seung-yeol and several other forwards. I would like for them to work harder and improve their play with their respective clubs. They need to continue to assess their weaknesses and attempt to improve their game.”

With the center midfielders like Yoon Bitgaram and Ki Sung-yueng failing to play up to their capabilities in the first half and with Kim Jung-woo and Kim Do-heon equally disappointing in the second half, the defense looked shaky at times as well.

With Park Ji-sung and Lee Chung-yong shifted to the center area from their usual wing positions, Lee Young-pyo and Choi Hyo-jin were used in their place to jump in on the team’s attack on several overlapping plays.

But when the physical Iranian squad pressed the wing and defense areas, it created holes in the Korean team’s defense.

With one final tune-up match before the Asian Cup tourney remaining against Japan on Oct. 12, Cho seemed satisfied with the progress of his three-back defensive line.

“Our midfield and defense did not play out of position in the first half,” Cho said. “But Kim Do-heon and Kim Jung-woo have not participated in many of my practices. I don’t think they have a clear understanding of my system yet. When the spacing between the two players widened, it created chances for the opposing team.”

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#12   Mignon

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:41 AM

Korea v. Iran: Player ratings

Jung Sung-ryong – 5.5: Decision-making and reaction time continue to be problematic areas for the Seongnam shot-stopper. Although he did well to prevent a second goal after stopping Karim Fard’s strike after the Iranian had jumped on a horrific Kim Jung-woo error, he arguably shouldn’t have come out on the first goal and displayed questionable judgment the few times Iran threatened from set-pieces. Does not inspire confidence.

Hong Jeong-ho – 7 (Man of the Match): Never really troubled by the Iranian attack and dealt with threats from set-pieces superbly. Did very well considering the gaps left behind out wide that Iran countered into. Came so close to opening his account for the national team with a powerful header from a Ki Sung-yong corner kick. Superb in the air and looks to be a decent prospect in defense.

Lee Jung-Soo – 6: Reluctant to revisit the libero role from the Nigeria match. Didn’t push up enough, perhaps wary of Iran’s speed on the counter, and consequently limited the efficacy of the midfield to find outlets for attack. Looked fairly comfortable for long stretches of the game.

Kim Young-kwon – 6.5: Did well with Hong Jeong-ho to cover gaps at the back but looked somewhat unsettled when Iran was in possession, perhaps more indicative of his lack of experience on the international stage than anything else. Look to be a fine prospect for the national team defensive line.

Choi Hyo-Jin – 6.5: After arguably producing the MOTM performance against Nigeria, the combative rightback put in a fairly unbalanced performance. Was caught out far too high up the pitch by the speedy Shojaei and was MIA when defensive cover was required. In offense, produced some good forays into Iranian wide areas and produced an excellent cross on a counter that Park Ji-sung should have done better with.

Ki Sung-Yong – 5: Insipid. Form has waned considerably since his move to Celtic and questions surrounding lack of fitness persist for the young midfielder. Set-piece delivery was generally poor and often dwelt on the ball for far too long; lost possession a number of times. Replaced at half-time. Off-pitch media ruckus surrounding Neil Lennon comments and status within Celtic cannot have helped and the player himself looks distracted and in need of inspiration. Needs to regain confidence and form quickly or should be dropped for a better, in-form alternative against Japan.

Yoon Bitgaram – 5: Disappointing performance after impressing against Nigeria. The young Gyeongnam maestro went invisible for long stretches as he struggled to cope with the physicality of a compact but resolute Iranian midfield. Muscled off the ball quite a few times and was given the hook at the stroke of the half.

Lee Young-Pyo – 5: Like Choi Hyo-jin, pressed far too high up the pitch when defensive cover was necessary leaving gaps at the back. The attack-minded veteran often stayed up to put pressure on the Iranian players on the ball consequently allowing Iran to exploit the width and counter into space. Made a terrible error reminiscent of gifting Park Ji-sung the ball during his Tottenham days — a weak back-pass that allowed Shojaei to score.

Park Ji-Sung – 6.5: Cut a frustrated figure with an invisible central midfield pairing and little protection from the referee. Ghotbi’s strategy of double-teaming and going in hard on Park Ji-sung gradually unsettled the otherwise unflappable captain and the lack of midfield support often found the Manchester United man dropping into the defensive midfield position to receive the ball and play it out wide. Was dismayed both by the reluctance of referee to hand out earlier yellow card to Nosrati and own failure to convert a two decent opportunities carved out by Choi Hyo-jin.

Lee Chung-yong – 6: Looked at odds with having to play in an attacking trident from the get-go. Never really imposed himself on the match and missed one of the best opportunities early in the match. Some brief periods of clever play, including a gem of a cross to Park Ju-young, were interspersed with longer stretches of ineffective hustle. Still seems jaded from the World Cup and perhaps frustrated with the lack of width in the manager’s formation.

Park Ju-Young – 6.5: Could have (and should have) had an assist as early as the 3rd minute if his brilliant throughball had been converted by Lee Chung-yong. Had some incisive passes, one that found it’s way through the Iranian defense to Choi Hyo-jin cutting in from out wide that resulted in a terrific opportunity for Park Ji-sung. Missed his own terrific opportunity, arguably the best chance of the match, after Lee Chung-yong’s terrific pass found the Monaco man beating the offside trap but failing to beat goalkeeper Rehmati from only a few yards out.

Park Joo-ho - N/A: Hardly any time to impress, let alone run.

Cha Du-ri – 5.5: Dealt well with Shojaei and nullified his attacking threat after coming on. Decent attacking runs sabotaged by poor passes into no man’s land. Continues to show troubling habit of allowing players cutting in wide to get goal-side.

Kim Du-hyeon – 5: Missed two half opportunities and didn’t look quite up to stuff, although somewhat understandable given his sabbatical from the team.

Kim Jung-woo – 5: Terrible mistake almost gave Iran a second if not for Jung Sung-ryong’s solid stop. Very little to offer going forward.

Cho Young-cheol – 5: Sprightly and injected some energy into a tepid attack but, for the second game in a row, doesn’t look quite ready for the national team.

Seok Hyeon-Joon – 5.5: Only given ten minutes or so to impress and didn’t really offer much to an effete Korean attack although did win the ball in the air in some dangerous positions and his physicality seemed to trouble the otherwise stalwart Iranian CBs.

Cho Kwang-rae – 5: Obdurate insistence on passing game paid very few dividends and was outfoxed by his Iranian opposite. Some pretty passages of play were few and far in-between and were overshadowed by the glaring invisibility of the midfield and inability of the Korean attack to put away golden chances. A more in-depth tactical analysis of Cho’s formation and player selection will be available shortly. Watch this space.

Match analysis: Korea’s reliance on wings punished by rugged Iran

The difference in this match was quite simple — Korea‘s soft midfield was largely exposed by the physical toughness of Iran.

Soft midfield has been a weakness of Korea’s for years now. The concern started to rise since the retirement of Yoo Sang-Chul in 2003, and evidently, Lee Eul-Yong and Kim Nam-Il at their best were proven to be the last of a dying breed in this country.

Credit the Iran manager Afshin Ghotbi, whose tactical brilliance unsettled his former pupils. His deployment of players and demand for physicality through the center exposed Korea better than any other away side has done in Seoul in recent memory.

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[Graphic 1: Starting formations]

Aside from the midfield shape, Iran’s deployment of three forwards made the biggest difference.

Gholamreza Rezaei, on the far right, was earmarked to hold off Lee Young-Pyo from going forward. Contrary to Rezaei, Masoud Shojaei wasn’t assigned a defensive duty, but his role was to make runs behind the advanced wing-back Choi Hyo-Jin and force Hong Jung-Ho to drift out his central position. This was a key tactical decision made by Ghotbi as it offset the balance of Korea’s three-man back-line.

Iran created a comeptetive environment, unlike Nigeria

In Cho Kwang-Rae‘s managerial debut against Nigeria last month, Kim Young-Gwon and Kwak Tae-Hwi, the two stoppers on lateral ends of the back-three were consistent throughout the match with their passing out of the defense. This provided an outlet for the fantastic ball movement by the Koreans as they went on to win the match rather comfortably.

Aside from Hong J.H. who played a few brilliant build-up passes, this outlet passing against Iran was non-existent despite Cho’s attempt at retaining the same shape and tactical traits from the match against Nigeria. Unlike the Nigeria boss Augustine Eguavoen who approached the match with the intention of testing individuals and willingly let the defense allow open space to Korea, Ghotbi made it clear going into this match that he will seek for a win.

With Ghotbi’s approach clear, Iran pressured high up the pitch, allowing no time or space for Korean defenders to play the ball and build continuity, as well as forcing them to give up possession in dangerous areas.

[Video 1: Korea's initial plan of building plays starting from the back was taken away as Iran pressured high up the pitch. Perhaps Korea missed the absence of Cho Yong-Hyung, a skilled center-back capable of withstanding pressure.]

Korea forced to rely on wings

Korea, being held from playing outlet passes from the back, ultimately lost the midfield battle. Combine the inept outlet passing with unfit Ki Sung-Yong and inexperienced Yoon Bitgaram being pounded in midfield by Iran’s rugged midfield consisting of Andranik Teymourian, Javad Nekounam, and Pejman Nouri, the Koreans were in serious trouble.

This forced Korea to rely heavily on wing-play, but even still, the options were limited as Lee Young-Pyo on the left was being occupied by Rezaei. The onus then fell on the right wing-back Choi H.J. to carry the attacking load.

Admittedly, Korea put on a few nifty passing displays led by Choi H.J. through the right flank, but this insistence on wing-play was proven to be inefficient as it lacked a solid backing from the central area.

[Video 2: Passing sequences through the right were too far from the goal to create scoring chances, and were ineffective as Iran continued to hold down the center brilliantly.]

[Video 3: Korea created far more dangerous chances with attacks through the center, even with limited attempts.]

Soft tendency all around gets punished by Iran

The physical nature of Iran was too much for this soft Korean side, which clearly wasn’t ready for a such well-prepared opponent. Ki was no longer the fit and audacious central midfielder who once put in a dominant performance at Tehran just a year ago, and Iran almost always outnumbered Korea in midfield battles throughout the match, because Cho’s 3-4-2-1 insisted on having a spare man at the back. He initially stated before the match that Lee Jung-Soo, playing at the center of the back-three, will be given license to freely advance to midfield to provide protection, but such movement was nowhere to be seen.

Iran’s goal, which ultimately decided the outcome, summed up the story of this match quite nicely in the sense that Iran’s hustle play punished the soft defending of its opponent. Lee Y.P.’s mistake, while humiliating, was only the face of the problem. As soon as Ki’s free-kick into the box was cleared, not one of three Iranian players who made the run forward was picked up by Korean defenders, notably Choi H.J. who was designated to stay back in case of an Iranian counterattack.

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[Graphic 2-3: Korean defenders fail to pick up Nouri and Shojaei]

On the attacking end, the two attacking midfielders — Park Ji-Sung and Lee Chung-Yong — were playing far too narrowly, unable to provide width and overlapping each other’s positions. Park Ju-Young, struggling to find form, once again showed that he needs an appropriate striking partner to be utilized properly.

Midway through the second half, Cho tried addressing the soft central midfield of his side by slotting Park J.S. deep into midfield, but by then, Iran had already changed its shape and started to look comfortable with defending the one-goal lead.

Not all was lost for Korea, as Yoon once again played a solid match. His wide range of passes supported by excellent vision continued to impress, even in limited times he was given the opportunity to play the ball. However, he was not the defensively sound midfielder Korea desperately needed against this type of opponent. Yoon, too, was the victim of Korea’s lack of true holding midfielder, because he wasn’t given the defensive support he needed to fulfil his role.

Ghotbi’s tactics prevail

All in all, this was an excellent tactical win for Ghotbi and Iran. Tactical wins in friendlies in modern football are rare, but Ghotbi proved that a lot more can be given and earned in a match that could have easily been wasted.

In a sense, the real beneficiary of this match would have to be the Koreans as they were given a rare experience in a friendly to be stripped of power at home. Depending on how this side responds to the aforementioned problems, this coule be a good wake-up call ahead of the Asian Cup.

ganzi.han@footkorean.net - Brilliant job by him!

Coach is undecided on national team picks

Hong Myung-bo, national football team manager for the Asian Games, is having a difficult time coming up with a final roster for the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.

While the baseball and basketball teams were announced earlier this week, Hong is expected to release a preliminary 25- to 26-man roster today, with the trimmed and final 20-man roster ready within a few days. There are many reasons for the delay.

Hong has maintained he will assemble the best team possible with the core members of the U-20 World Cup and three wild card players or players older than 23.

The biggest problem is with overseas-based players. Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng of Celtic FC is at the center of the controversy. If the 21-year-old participates in both the Asian Games in November and Asian Cup in January, he will likely miss more than two months of Scottish Premier League play with Celtic.

Wild card players like AS Monaco’s Park Chu-young, 25, and Al Rayyan Sports Club’s Cho Yong-hyung, 27, face similar difficulties.

Having joined Al Rayyan in the offseason, Cho’s lengthy absence will not be welcomed by the Qatari club. Cho is expected to speak to his manager upon returning to Qatar this week.

Some players face a tough decision because they can earn exemptions from mandatory military service if the Korean team wins gold in November, but because the Asian Games is not a FIFA-sanctioned event, national team managers cannot force professional teams to release players for the event.

On the other hand, senior national team manager Cho Kwang-rae is free to select any players he wants for the FIFA-sanctioned Asian Cup. The tourney is also an important opportunity for players who are eager to cement their place on a squad led by a new manager looking to shake up the roster with several position changes.

Hong is expected to include veteran goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong and midfielder Kim Jung-woo on the preliminary roster before making any final decisions.

Further complicating matters for Hong are J-League-based players who are not receiving much playing lately.

“I’m worried about the players who are not receiving any playing time with their respective teams,” Hong said. “I plan on going to Japan to evaluate such players after the preliminary roster is announced. Depending on their status, the makeup of the wild card players can change.”

Players like Seo Yong-deok of FC Tokyo and Jung Dong-ho of Yokohma played well at the U-20 Egypt World Cup last year but have failed to adapt to the J-League so far.

Hong also stated that his intention for selecting the current Asian Games squad is with the broader goal of developing a young group of players for the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

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#13   Mignon

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 01:08 PM

Hong names 20-man squad for Asian Games

Asian Games squad

GK: Kim Seung-Kyu (Ulsan), Lee Bum-Young (Busan)

DF: Hong Jung-Ho (Jeju), Kim Young-Gwon (FC Tokyo), Kim Ju-Young (Gyeongnam), Jang Seok-Won (Seongnam), Hong Cheol (Seongnam), Shin Kwang-Hoon (Pohang), Oh Jae-Seok (Suwon)

MF: Koo Ja-Cheol (Jeju), Ki Sung-Yong (Celtic), Kim Jung-Woo (Gwangju), Kim Min-Woo (Sagan Tosu), Seo Jung-Jin (Jeonbuk), Kim Bo-Kyung (Oita)

FW: Park Ju-Young (AS Monaco), Cho Young-Cheol (Niigata), Park Hee-Sung (Yonsei University), Ji Dong-Won (Chunnam)

Why I posted articles about our Taeguk ladies in Korean Football Miscellaneous Thread, not here? :rolleyes:

Yeo's four goals lift Korea into semis in U-17 WC

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South Korea advanced to the semifinals in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Thursday, with an enthralling 6-5 come-from-behind win over Nigeria after extra time on the back of forward Yeo Min-ji’s four goals.

The women’s squad edged out their opponents after an indispensable sixth strike in the 98th minute in Marabella, Trinidad and Tobago, as Yeo tied as the top scorer in the tournament with seven goals.

The two quarterfinalists fired back and forth with a string of goals which FIFA described as the “Marabella Goal-Feast.”

South Korea conceded two goals in the first three minutes. Nigeria pressed its opponents as striker Loveth Ayila sent the ball into the net in the 2nd with her right foot from a corner kick. The first-placed team in the preliminary round doubled its lead a minute later with midfielder Winifred Eyebhoria’s acute finish from compatriot Ngozi Okobi’s through pass to the back post.

The Asian team slowly picked up the pace and cancelled out the two-goal deficit thanks to midfielder Lee Geun-min and Yeo in the 15th and 23rd, respectively. Yeo delivered a low cross for Lee to nudge home her first goal of the tournament. Yeo then leveled the game eight minutes later. The 17-year-old picked up a long ball from the left side and was relentless going forward until she slid in her fourth goal of the competition from close range.

The Nigerians started to dominate the match again when midfielder Ngozi Okobi poked home through several South Korean defenders in the 37th for a 3-2 lead.

The second half saw brilliant play by Yeo as the goal-feast between the two teams continued. Lee drew a penalty as she fell on her way to the goal, and Yeo made no mistake in bagging an equalizer in the 70th. The striker lifted her team to the lead for the first time in the match in the 89th when she rounded goalie Amina Abu to record her hat trick. The South Koreans must have thought they had won but Okobi forced the match into extra time finding the net after goalkeeper Kim Min-ah dropped the ball to make it 4-4.

The South Koreans made sure the Nigerians would not see the lead again. Midfielder Kim Ar-eum connected with a long ball from midfield and slammed the ball home four minutes into extra time. Yeo then extended the margin further in the 98th with a header beyond the helpless Abu.

Ayila gave Nigeria hope in the 103rd as she poked home from close range, but it was the South Koreans who were smiling at the end of this hard-fought battle.

Yeo has garnered attention as the tournament has gone on, and now holds the record for the most goals among South Korean football players in a FIFA competition. She also has the record for the highest tally in a single match with her four strikes against Nigeria.

The forward is currently tied with German forward Kyra Malinowski on seven goals followed by Ayila with six, but as both Germany and Nigeria were defeated, Thursday, Yeo has hopes of winning the Golden Boot.

Meanwhile, North Korea joined the South in the semifinals by eliminating Germany 1-0 in the same stadium. The North held onto a 1-0 lead after a goal by forward Kim Kun-jong in the 44th minute. North Korea won the inaugural tournament in 2008.

It is the first time that both Koreas have made the round of four in any FIFA tournament. In the semifinals the North will take on the winner of Ireland versus Japan, while the South will face either Spain or Brazil. The matches will take place on Sept. 21.

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#14   Mignon

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:35 AM

South Korea clinches first-ever final at U-17 World Cup

South Korea advanced to its first-ever FIFA-arranged tournament final, with a 2-1 over Spain in the semifinals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Tuesday.

The team led a come-from-behind victory with forward Yeo Min-ji’s eighth score of the tournament and defender Joo Soo-jin’s winning goal at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago.

The South Koreans came up with defense that held the Spaniards from penetrating into the danger zones and also cut off the delivery on the flanks. The European squad tried to break the deadlock with a long ball that failed to generate a score until the 23rd minute by forward Amanda Sampedro.

The Spanish attacker was quick to connect compatriot Alexia Putellas’s cross from the left flank into the net to take a 1-0 lead.

The celebration did not last very long. Midfielder Kim Na-ri cut off a pass from the Spanish on the midfield and penetrated into the left penalty zone where she delivered the ball for Yeo to head into the net in the 25th. The 17-year-old striker had been tied with German forward Kyra Malinowski in the top-scorer rankings with seven, and now became the leader in the competition.

The Asian youngsters were not satisfied and went further. Yeo made a through pass to Joo from the midfield and the defender made a no mistake to round the defenders and the send the ball beyond helpless goalkeeper in the 39th.

Spain sought for an upset in the second half, including an attempt by defender Nagore Calderon from the midfield in the 66th that goalie Kim Min-ah cleared out.

The South Koreans were in full control of the game and made sure to confirm the spot for the unprecedented stage in the FIFA-arranged event. The highest place South Korea reached was the third by the U-20 women’s team in August.

While the team is eager to win the tournament title, Yeo raises her hope to have the honor of becoming South Korea’s first Golden Boot winner awarded to the top-scorer. She also has potential for winning the Golden Ball as she is regarded one of the most outstanding players in this World Cup.

Meanwhile, North Korea lost to Japan 2-1 in the semis held at the same stadium. Striker Kim Kum-jong nudged home 1-0 lead in the 59th. Kim did not miss the chance Japanese goalie spilled the ball in an attempt to clear the free kick by the North Korean side.

The North Koreans let the opponent level the game in the 69th as Midfielder Hikari Takagi nodded home by connecting compatriot Haruka Hamda’s cross.

Japan took the lead just a minute later with forward Kumi Yokoyama’s low and hard shot past the box that eventually lifted the team to face South Korea in the final on Sept. 25 in Port of Spain.


Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat job!

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#15   Mignon

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 07:33 AM

I found some pictures of our ladies.

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