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Koreans Abroad: Weekend Preview & Midweek Recap

(image via talksport.com)

By @KoreaFootAbroad

I'll have thoughts on Korea U17 vs Guinea at the end but really impressed by their performance and are assured of making the knockout stages as first or second for their group.  As such they can look to take it easy in their final group match.

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Friday4:00 PMKoreaU17 Group StageEnglandFox Sports 1
Friday2:30 PMKim Jin SuHoffenheimHamburgFox Sports 2
Saturday9:30 AMRyu Seung WooBayer LeverkusenStuttgartFox Sports Plus
Saturday10:00 AMLee Chung YongCrystal Palace@Leicester CityUSA
Saturday10:00 AMYun Suk YoungQPRMK DonsNone
Saturday10:00 AMKi Sung YuengSwansea@Aston VillaNBC Extra Time
Sunday10:05 AMSon Heung MinTottenham@AFC BournemouthNBC Extra Time
Sunday10:30 AMHong Jeong HoAugsburg@DortmundFox Sports 2
Sunday10:30 AMJi Dong WonAugsburg@DortmundFox Sports 2
Sunday10:30 AMKoo Ja CheolAugsburg@DortmundFox Sports 2
Sunday10:30 AMPark Joo HoDortmundAugsburgFox Sports 2
Sunday12:00 PMSuk Hyun JunVitoria Setubal@MoreirenseNone

Kim Jin Su came on and did badly last week but maybe less bad than the fullback he replaced and Toljan looked better on the right as well.  With Gisdol under immense pressure to get points, it's unclear what mix he'll go with to fix things.  So I'd put at 50/50 to start or bench.

Ryu Seung Woo hasn't seen the squad for many weeks now and I'm tempted to save time and not list him at all.

Lee Chung Yong was declared fit last week but left out but perhaps Pardew wanted them to get more training in before called up to squad as reports say he's available for selection this weekend.  That said, far from certain that he'll even make the squad this weekend and even more remote that he plays.

Yun Suk Young's absence was specifically discussed by Ramsey this week and was said to be fit but 2nd choice to Konchesky.  Still surprising that Yun can't even make the squad midweek on short rest so I doubt he'll be in there Saturday.

Ki Sung Yueng made an instant impact when he came on as a sub, providing both a lot more possession and also some offensive imagination with some nice passes that were squandered particularly by Gomis.  The question that immediately arose was why he wasn't starting, and why he didn't come on sooner as Swansea looked really poor for most of the match.

Son Heung Min was left out of midweek squad so we'll see if he's nearing a return as Pochettino says that he's "close" but refuses to put a specific timeframe.

Hong Jeong Ho didn't make the midweek squad but did travel in preparation for Dortmund on Sunday.  Maybe he's being saved as he gets fit again.  Depending on midweek performance from JICB/Klavan, perhaps he gets a start if healthy.

Ji Dong Won also didn't make the squad... Weinzierl mentioned a knee injury that Ji recovered from so perhaps like Hong Jeong Ho, similarly rested/saved, though him not making the squad wouldn't be unexpected either.

Koo Ja Cheol started midweek.  I'm writing this about 30 minutes before kickoff so I'll try to update later.  UPDATE - I thought Koo kind of drifted in and out but as has been the trend, its been about too few fingers for too many holes in the dam.  Positioned deeper to start, he could help the buildup but only until he handed the ball off.  Up front in the second half often as a second striker, he was at times isolated until he rushed back deeper.  He looked a bit flat himself at times as well so we'll see what shape he's in for Dortmund.

Park Joo Ho started Thursday, with Tuchel looking to save Schmelzer for Bundesliga.  He played pretty poorly to be honest, looking quite slow in the first half.  He was better in the second half but was subbed out at 68 minutes or so and was still so far from what he was like at Mainz.  I expect him on the bench on Sunday.

Suk Hyun Jun should start.

Korea U17 -- They were far sloppier than vs Brazil.  Lee Seung Woo was positioned further as a forward in a slight tweak of formation and his weakness stood out the most (vs expectations) with really poor touches and passes.  Kim Jin Ya continued his good performances, providing constant danger before tiring.  In offense in general, however, the beautiful triangles that were so strong vs Brazil were nowhere to be seen vs Guinea.  I did like how strongly they pushed up in countering, reminiscent of the '12 Olympic squad, attacking with pace and confidence but were let down by sloppy pass after sloppy pass.

On defense, the line looked completely disorganized, with Guinea attackers left onside and uncovered.  Yet whenever a Guinea attacker broke through, the defenders recovered calmly and were extremely solid in 1-on-1 situations and it reflects well that Guinea struggled to make the best out of dangerous situations.  But all that effort was almost thrown away in the final minutes when a penalty should have been called for a tackle that totally missed the ball.

Fortunately for Korea, it was not noticed by the referee and the resulting counter lead to our goal with a powerful shot by Oh Se Hun who had just come on for Lee Seung Woo.

There were good pieces from Korea and maybe some struggles in the whole were to be expected given emotional recovery from Brazil win and Guinea who were at times excellent themselves.  With the win, Korea can now rest some of their stars and hopefully take a rested and healthy squad into the knockout stages and put those pieces back together into a strong whole.

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