[Recent News][6]

K League 1
K League 2
Classic
FC Seoul
Jeonbuk
Challenge
Daejeon
AFC
ACL
Jeonnam
Ulsan
Busan
Korean National Football Team
Jeju
Incheon
Daegu
Seoul E-Land
Suwon
FA Cup
Podcast
Transfers
Interview
K-League Classic
Gyeongnam
Gangwon
K League Challenge
Fans
KNT Men
Ansan
Pohang Steelers
Gwangju
Asan
Featured
Suwon Bluewings
Gaming
Bucheon 1995
Seongnam FC
Anyang
Preview
Daejeon Citizen
Suwon FC
Bucheon
Football Manager
Abroad
Sangju
KNT
Citizen
K League Classic
FM2018
Pohang
Awards
Busan IPark
Korean national team
World Cup
Elimination Game
News
FIFA
Gimcheon
KFA
Asian Cup
EAFF
From The Stands
FM2017
Events
KNT Women
Russia 2018
East Asia Cup
Chungnam
FIFA16
K League All Star Game
K3
Power Rankings
K4
playoffs
Recap
CONIFA
Club World Cup
Away Days
Busan Transport
Chungju
Goyang
Inter Korea
North Korea
Qatar 2022
Asian Games
Chiangrai United
Cho Hyun-woo
Goyang Citizen
K5
Mokpo City
National League
Pocheon
Russia 2020
SoRare
TNTFC
Ulsan Citizen
Yangpyeong FC
scouting

South Korea Falls Flat Against Japan in Final EAFF Encounter

Japan defeated South Korea 3-0 in the final match of the EAFF-E1 Championship for their second triumph in the competition, the first time they have done so since 2013.  It was a dominant performance from the Samurai Blue, who were simply too much for the Taeguk Warriors, who had very little to offer on the night.  KLU's Branko Belan looks back at the match. 
(Photo Credit: Korea JoongAng Daily)


A Poor First Half

South Korea played a very weak first forty-five minutes, as they created little of consequence in the final third.  The tempo of their play was too slow, they ceded possession too easily, and their positioning on the pitch made their attempts to push up the pitch too predictable, as they were often times too close to one another and didn't use the spaces in passing areas well enough.  Japan, on the other hand, looked dangerous moving forward and caused some discomfort to the Korean back line on a number of occasions, coming close midway through the half with an effort from inside the area that clipped the post and stayed out.

Jo Hyeon-woo did not have a particularly strong first half himself, as his clearances upfield rarely found their target, but he was on hand to make a key save in the 33rd minute after a corner swung in from his right clipped the frame of the goal and fell into the path of an approaching attacker, but the Ulsan Hyundai 'keeper got down well to smother the effort and stem the danger.  For all their endeavors forward, and despite having strong support and home-field advantage, the Samurai Blue still could not find a way through the defending champions and the sides went to the break without goals.

KLU Patreon

Second Half Defensive Collapse

Instead of showing frustration after being unable to take the lead before the break, Japan responded by picking up where they left off after the interval.  Paulo Bento did not make any immediate halftime adjustments and it cost him as the hosts took the lead just four minutes into the second period, when Joel Chima Fujita crossed in from the right flank for Yuki Soma to head home.

When Song Min-kyu came on for Eom Won-sang in the 56th minute, South Korea's fortunes did not change.  Sho Sasaki put the match seemingly beyond reach when he headed home from a corner in the 63rd minute, and it was from that point on that it was certain there would be very little chance of Bento's men getting back into the match.  Japan continued to be a threat, using the ball well in attacking spaces, and they would add a third with just under twenty minutes to play when Takuma Nishimura's chipped pass found Ryuta Koike, who played the ball across goal for Machino Shuto to tap into the net.

For Japan, it was their first EAFF E1 Championship title since 2013, snapping the three tournament winning streak for Korea in the process.  Now, both team will look ahead to September when they go through their final tuneups for the World Cup in Qatar.  Both teams have difficult draws ahead.  South Korea is in Group H with Portugal, Ghana, and Uruguay.  Japan, meanwhile, is in Group E with Spain, Costa Rica, and Germany.

Bento Under Pressure

Paulo Bento now has some questions to answer in the coming months before the World Cup with regards to the talent level and depth of his squad.  Identical 3-0 wins against China and Hong Kong did little to measure the worth of the squad chosen for this competition, and that was proven in the loss to Japan.  What can be seen is that the quality of players in the J League is higher than the quality of players in the K League based on what was seen on Wednesday night.

There are several reasons for this, including more investment in football in Japan, better facilities, and a more competent football federation.  Fans and fan chapters are a fixture in Japanese football.  The same is not the case in Korea, where marketing the game has failed to attract fans in bigger numbers on a consistent basis for more than several years.  Football infrastructure in Japan far outdistances its Korean counterpart by a considerable margin, and there is really no comparison between the two federations - the KFA is mired in difficulties at the moment, stemming from the departure of Kim Pan-gon to take on the head coaching position with the Malaysian national team, just one of a long list of concerning issues needing to be dealt with, with incompetent officials and a scattered bureaucracy, and overall limited structure and a lack of will to improve the situation among the greatest shortcomings.

Then, the question of Bento must also be addressed.  His team selection has been criticized for quite some time now, as he continues to rely on the same players from one international window to the next, and it hasn't brought consistent results.  Several players did have their international debuts this time around, but will they be in the national team picture in the future?  One would have to think not.  The manager also will have to get together with his staff and have a hard review of his tactical setup and tweak a few things to improve the overall possession game and the passing language on the pitch.

Korea is still in need of a sure-fire number one striker.  Could it be Cho Gue-sung going forward?  He had his moments in Japan but was nowhere to be found against the hosts, in part because the service into him was almost non-existent.  He needs a better supporting cast to be effective, and that should be an area of focus as the team now sets its sights on preparations for Qatar. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search

Featured