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K League Coach World Cup Analysis: Sweden 1-0 Korea

World Cup Analysis: Sweden Vs Korea
Korea began their 2018 World Cup Russia campaign with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Sweden. A penalty from veteran defender and captain Andreas Granqvist on 65 minutes was enough to see the Swedes go joint top of Group F with Mexico. K League United's in-house coach gives his analysis on what went wrong for Shin Tae-yong's men.
(Image via Getty)

Game Information

Team: Korean National Team
Opposition: Sweden
Date: June 18th 2018
Competition: World Cup Round 1
Number of report: 5

Match Overview

A disappointing opening round defeat to Sweden was summed up by the fact that Korea failed to produce a single shot on target during the game. Sweden were able to control the contest both with and without the ball, showing a greater level of understanding, cohesion, and preparation than their Korean counterparts were able to. Even with starting centre back Victor Lindelöf falling ill overnight and missing the game, Korea were not able to trouble the Swedish backline.

Line Up



Defensive Structure

Korea decided to play with a deep defensive line, as they did in the first half against Poland earlier in the year. Korea were very concerned about the aerial threat of the Swedish strikers so would pull Ki Seung-yeung deep in order to screen the back four and to challenge for any knock-downs. This left Kim Shin-wook alone to press the Swedish back line. With the Jeonbuk man not the most mobile of strikers, working alone like this reaped very few rewards.


Offensive Shape


When Korea were in possession they attempted to morph into a 4-3-3 shape, with width coming from the full-backs, and the two wide attackers getting close to Kim Shin-wook. With crosses aimed at Kim Shin-wook these two attackers had to try and live off knockdowns or poor clearances.




Transitional Moments

With Korea sitting so deep it was hard for them to catch Sweden out of shape when the ball turned over. Wide attackers would move centrally to support the striker, but with the full backs so deep there was a delay in offering any width. Sweden would use this delay to drop back into their defensive block that Korea could not break down.




Playing Out From The Back

As has been a theme during the warm-up friendlies Korea really struggled during the build-up phase of play. The team often set itself in a shape where players occupied the same passing lanes as a teammate, almost marking each other out of the game and restricted the options for the man on the ball. With the inclusion of Kim Shin-wook up front it also led to players often simply playing long, high balls to him that the Swedish defense were well prepared for.


It was from this exact moment that Korea played a long, straight ball forward which Sweden intercepted and resulted in the penalty that was eventually converted by Andreas Granqvist.

Conclusions

  • The deep defensive line made it hard for Korea to get forward and exploit transitions.
  • When in possession Korea were poor during the build-up phase. Poor play getting out from the back meant few effective attacks were built.
  • The inclusion of Kim Shin-wook results in Korean defenders often bypassing midfield and looking for the big target man, resulting in multiple turnovers.
  • Korea were focused on delivering balls from wide full-backs, however, as seen during qualifying and recent friendlies, delivery was very poor.
  • It seems as though Korea have failed to master and feel comfortable in any particular system. Constant changes of shape, system, and approach over the last few months has left the team looking disjointed and lacking in the ability to find a way through the opposition.

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