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Sport 2018 World Cup Tactical Preview: South Korea

23:40  13 june  2018
23:40  13 june  2018 Source:

Sweden vs South Korea: Match Preview

  Sweden vs South Korea: Match Preview Group F continues on Monday afternoon as Sweden face South Korea in Nizhny Novgorod. Both sides are meeting for the first time at a World Cup and will know that this will be their best chance of earning a crucial three points. A victory for either side could be huge after Mexico’s shock 1-0 win against Germany in Moscow on Sunday afternoon. This year’s tournament is Sweden’s first World Cup since 2006, and their first without talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedes cannot be underestimated, however, as they booked their place in Russia with a two-legged play off victory over Italy last Autumn. South Korea are appearing at their ninth World Cup in a row after finishing second in their Asian qualifying group. The Taeguk Warriors have exited at the group stage in six of their previous eight campaigns, with their run to the semi-finals in 2002 their greatest World Cup achievement. The build-up to the match has seen the Koreans accuse Lars Jacobsen, a member of the Sweden coaching staff, of spying on one of their training sessions at a camp in Austria earlier this month. Sweden and South Korea come into the game in relatively poor form; both sides have just one win in five games this calendar year. Sweden’s two friendlies before this summer’s showpiece event both ended in 0-0 draws against Denmark and Peru respectively, while they have only scored twice in their five games this year.

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South Korea limped through qualifying, and find themselves at a fifth successive World Cup tournament.

Korea have never been able to replicate their brilliance from the 2002 tournament where they reached the semi-finals, and this team has a very uncertain look to it. Manager Shin Tae-yong replaced the experienced German Uli Stielike, and his reign has seen Korea struggle to settle on a system. It does look as if they are going to play 4-4-2 at the World Cup, but he has an obsession with playing a 3-4-1-2 that becomes a 5-4-1 in the defensive phase, so we could see that system in Russia.

The Systems:

We will begin with the 4-4-2, as this seems the more likely choice for Tae-yong. Heung-min Son plays up front in this system, partnered by Red Bull Salzburg’s promising prospect Hwang Hee-chan.

2018 World Cup Tactical Preview: Peru

  2018 World Cup Tactical Preview: Peru Making their first appearance since 1982, Peru enter the World Cup in a group in which they have ambitions to qualify from. Paolo Guerrero is perhaps their most well-known player, and luckily for lovers of good football, his year-long drug ban for ingesting cocaine was overturned, meaning he will lead the line at the World Cup. Peru are a good side who play excellent football under manager Ricardo Gareca, and underestimating them is just plain ignorant. The System: Peru are flexible in that they can play in many ways, but they generally play a 4-2-3-1 system and aim to build up through the middle, using Andre Carrillo and Jefferson Farfan for width when they want to create more space. Peru have the potential to be direct due to the pace in their side, but in reality, they are a team that like to take care of the ball and make a lot of short passes. What Gareca has done so well, though, is to still manage to maintain a good tempo while playing a short passing style, which is something a lot of teams struggle with. Their two sitting midfielders stay close to each other, and nearly all of the transitions go through their number 10, Christian Cueva. Something Gareca has done in recent friendlies is try and change the shape to a 4-2-4. His idea is to put Jefferson Farfan alongside Paolo Guerrero and push Cristian Cueva into the role of a wide playmaker.

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South Korea must improve on an underwhelming qualifying campaign if it is to make any noise at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

a close up of a green screen © Provided by Fresh Press Media

The midfield is anchored by departing Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, and he plays with the tall box-to-box midfielder Jung Woo-young. The left wing spot is Lee Jae-sung’s until he stops performing well, and the right wing spot will either be filled by former Barcelona youth player Lee Seung-woo or Koo Ja-Cheol of Augsburg. Koo isn’t really in favour with this team though, and it is unlikely he gets regular game time, which will surprise a lot of people.

The back four is experienced if unspectacular, with both full-backs being able to play as wide midfielders aswell, meaning Korea do have an attacking threat there if they need one.

Ki is the key man for Korea, as although he has struggled in the Premier League due to a lack of mobility, he is a very good passer, and he is really the only man in the Korea team who helps make quick transitions. In this 4-4-2, Korea aim to get the ball in behind quickly and feed off drilled crosses into the box. Son is a man who likes to drift wide, and Salzburg’s Hee-chan will play as more of a box striker, than a channel-running striker.

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One of the reasons Shin Tae-yong likes the 3-4-1-2 is that it gives you constant high width, and this philosophy definitely seeps into the way Korea play the 4-4-2. The full-backs push very high up the pitch, and they have great energy and stamina. Korea also have a lot of options there, so rotation could be key if their full-backs are to maintain energy throughout the group stages.

Korea are fast and look to unsettle teams, and the 4-4-2 works better for them because they have more flexibility when they want to press. 3-5-2 is more of a formation where you stay in shape and build up slowly; these are not Korea’s strengths.

If they do play the 3-4-1-2, it will look roughly like the image below:

a close up of a green screen © Provided by Fresh Press Media

Son will again be the more fluid forward, with Hee-chan holding his position centrally. Lee Jae-sung plays as a central player that drifts wide, and the system also sees Augsburg’s Koo Ja-Cheol operate as a playmaker alongside Ki and Jung Woo-young. It is likely that in the case they play 3-4-1-2, the two players dropped will be Lee Seung-woo, at the expense of another central defender. Korea’s philosophy is the same in this formation – they work hard and look to hit teams on the break. 3-5-2, though, is really a formation meant for slow build up rather than direct counter-attacking, so Korea struggle to create in this formation. Their best XI in this formation was destroyed by Bosnia and Herzegovina in a recent friendly, which saw the manager demote the system to a Plan B.

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System Strengths:

South Korea do have a lot of technical ability, and unlike a lot of the other counter-attacking sides, they should use the ball relatively well. Son, Ki and Lee Seung-woo are all very capable ball-players who will help South Korea create in transition.

System Weaknesses:

South Korea really struggle for consistent goals, and Heung-min Son simply hasn’t played at a top level for them. He often drifts out of games, but this is largely because of the nature of Korea’s system. They don’t control possession well, and his touches are limited as a result of this.

Korea also lack energy in midfield, with Ki being notably a slow player. This could haunt them against teams such as Sweden and Mexico, who are intense and hard to play through.

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South Korea v Honduras - International Friendly © Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images Sport South Korea v Honduras - International Friendly

2018 World Cup Tactical Preview: Denmark .
Returning to the World Cup after a one-tournament absence, Denmark find themselves in a group that they will expect to advance from. If things go right for Denmark, there is no reason why they cannot push France for the top spot in this group, as their direct approach might unsettle teams. The System: Denmark were known for playing possession football under Morten Olsen, who was in charge of the national team for 15 years. At the end of Olsen’s reign, Denmark’s football became stale and predictable, so they opted for a totally different approach under new management. Their new manager Age Hareide has an uninspiring CV, but he has completely transformed the playing style. Denmark now play fast football using two direct wide players, a target man, and Christian Eriksen as a roaming number 10 in a 4-3-3 system. This 4-3-3 system can drop off into a variety of shapes in the defensive phase, but expect Denmark to try and win the ball aggressively in the middle third. This is the major reason Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has not found himself in the Denmark side. The Southampton midfielder is a good passer of the ball, but he lacks intensity and is more suited to a slow, possession-based style of play. William Kvist anchors the midfield and despite many thinking he’s not good enough for the side, he plays his role really well.


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