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KNT Winter Camp Recap

A look back at South Korea's recent adventures in the Turkish sun while the rest of us have been in jackets. A quick recap and players that impressed in the matches against Moldova, Jamaica, and Latvia.
(image via news.sbs.co.kr)

South Korea started out with a win against Moldova as they run out 1-0 in the first of three scheduled friendlies that took take place at their training camp in Antalya, Turkey. The games are non-FIFA regulated games because they’re not in an allotted FIFA friendly slot, and are happening while most leagues around the world are currently taking place.

Therefore South Korea were without their European based players, with the squad being made up of mostly K-League players, the majority of which helped South Korea retain the East Asian Championship in Tokyo recently. They arranged friendlies with Moldova, Jamaica and Latvia as they intensify preparations for Russia 2018. This seems to have been Shin Tae-Yong’s intention giving him the chance to take another look at Asian based players as he contemplates his options for the World Cup.

In the first of these matches against Moldova, Korea managed to dictate the flow of the game as they dominated from start to finish. What could be worrying for Shin Tae-Yong was the number of chances spurned by the Koreans, as it’s unlikely they will get that many chances in the finals.

One man who could help in this aspect could be Kim Shin-Wook as he offers an option not seen before in many sides from Asia, in that he stands at 6 foot 6 inches tall. Shin-Wook got the winner in the game against Moldova with a header something which became a theme of the week in Turkey. Looking at his play you can see his height and hold up play could be a major threat in the finals.

Next up on 30th January at the training camp were Jamaica, a team ranked only 7 places below them. This game proved a much tougher challenge as the game ended 2-2. Jamaica were also without key players although they did have a few more established players looking to impress scouts before the transfer window closed. Amongst them was the New York Red Bull's defender Kemar Lawrence.

The game proved to be an eventful and entertaining game, with South Korea going behind early. The goal came from Dane Kelly who plays his football in the American lower leagues with Reno 1868. Although not playing football at a high level this was a lovely goal from the Jamaican as he turned his man in the box before putting the ball into the net on the half volley.

The goal from Jamaica in the 4th minute of the first half proved to be the best of the action. The second half was more exciting however as South Korea went ahead with two goals in 7 minutes of each other. South Korea's first came from a cross into the box from Choi Chul-Soon which was met with the head of Kim Shin-Wook from 6 yards out. The second goal came from Kim Shin-Wook head also this time with the cross in from the edge of the area from Jung Woo-Young. Kim Shin-Wook will be happy to get the two goals as he looks to cement his position on the plane to Russia this summer.
The 29-year-old looking to prove he is one of the countries best players based at home.

However, the two goals from the Jeonbuk Motors striker was not enough for the win as Jamaica fought back and got the equaliser. The Jamaica goal was worthy of any game, coming from Maalique Nathanael with a lovely strike from 25-yards. While South Korea pressed for the winner it did not come, so they moved on to their final game of the training camp against Latvia with a win and a draw from the first two games.

The game against Latvia was played out in the Turkish sun at the lovely Mardan Stadium in southern Turkey. South Korea started the game in control of the match with Lee Jae-Sung coming the closest to scoring early on with a shot inside the box that was deflected over.

With South Korea having control of the match they should have had a penalty on the half-hour mark when Latvian defender Koļesovs made a complete mess of trying to tackle Kim Jin-Su, the referee did not see it the same way however and waved play on.

The Koreans did not have to wait much longer for a chance has a Lee Seung-Ki corner found Kim Shin-Wook who headed home from close range. The Korean once again scoring to make it 4 goals in the three games during these friendlies in Turkey.

South Korea continued to dominate the game but could not add to their first-half goal. The game also singled the end of this pre-world -cup training camp. The South Korean players will now go back to their club side feeling pretty happy with how the three games went. Kim Shin-Wook will be predictably happy and could be a surprise to look out for in the summer in Russia.

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