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Koreans Abroad Weekend Preview and Schedule

Since there's a lot of anger about KNT these days, I've put together some thoughts at the end.

Anyway, usual disclaimer about unknown fitness levels post international break.


DayTime (KST)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Saturday3:30 AMPark Joo HoDortmundHertha BerlinFox Sports 1
Saturday10:30 PMJi Dong WonAugsburgSchalkeFox Soccer Plus
Saturday10:30 PMKoo Ja CheolAugsburgSchalkeFox Soccer Plus
Saturday10:30 PMKim Jin SuHoffenheimFreiburgFox Soccer 2 Go
Saturday11:00 PMKi Sung YuengSwansea@ArsenalCNBC
Saturday11:00 PMSon Heung MinTottenham@West BromNBC Extra Time
Sunday1:30 AMLee Chung YongCrystal PalaceWest HamNBC

Park Joo Ho -- Actually has an outside chance to warm the bench with many injuries to Dortmund's squad.  But that's about the only change I could see.

Ji Dong Won -- He may be tired from so many minutes but Augsburg need him with so many injuries.  He should start against his former manager and hopefully he can build on goals for both club and country.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Like Ji, will need to be fresh but he only came on as a sub in second match so he should be a bit fresh.  Unfortunately, he's also out of form but one of these days, he'll have to find his form again, right?

Kim Jin Su -- Maybe he got a chance to impress Nagelsmann over international break but I doubt it.

Ki Sung Yueng -- To who will Bradley look to rebuild Swansea?  Given international travel and the importance of Britton as a leader, I suspect Ki may be left on the bench for now.

Son Heung Min -- He's had a lot of minutes lately... does he finally get a bit of rest or does Pochettino continue to ride Son's blazing hot form?  The fact that he was slightly injured makes me think that he may need a rest.  But Son may be overeager to continue playing regardless of health and Kane still not ready to start means that Pochettino might want him to do so as well.

Lee Chung Yong -- I suspect a continued bench role for him.

KNT Thoughts -- I have to say that I'm completely shocked by 
Stielike's comments post match about the problems facing the KNT.  Complaining about a supposed lack of striker when the ball rarely got into the Iranian third is ridiculous.  Talking about physical play seems silly when so many of those that played handle PL and Bundesliga physicality with aplomb.

Football under Stielike has been too slow and too safe which plays right into the tactics of a team like Iran.  Every pass sideways allowed Iranian players more time to get back and defend.  Every moment stalled on the ball waiting for the perfect pass allowed Iranian defenders to close in and exert their physicality.  Every backpass took possession away from our stars and into the weakest part of our XI, the back four, and boy did they show it gifting opportunity after opportunity to Iran.

Leicester winning with a vanilla 4-4-2 showed that winning sometimes is less about complex formations and more about approach and tempo.  Looking at Son's success this season, we can see how getting dispossessed more can actually be ok as long as it means that you're attacking with confidence and speed.  Yet we keep playing slower and slower under Stielike.

I don't expect NT managers to create complex passing routines in the few days of training leading up to WCQ matches.  WCQ are also too high stakes to be experimenting with starting XI too much.  I don't expect our defenders to magically turn into formidable walls just by putting on a KNT shirt.  But Stielike is responsible for the lethargic pace of football which resulted in far too few chances for our attacking players to express their capabilities.

It seems every fan of just about every team, whether at club or national level, whines about what they could do with a striker.  To hear it from our manager on a day when we failed so badly everywhere else, well that's just disappointing.

By @KoreaFootAbroad

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