Are you intoxicated with the self-congratulatory mood of the World Cup Round of 16? Is it because of a momentary loss of concentration? The Korean men’s national soccer team knelt down after conceding two runs from a set piece in a return match against South American powerhouse Uruguay after four months.
Korea (ranked 25th by the International먹튀검증Football Federation) lost 1-2 in an evaluation match against Uruguay (ranked 16th) held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 28th. Korea scored the first goal with a header following a corner kick in the 10th minute of the first half, then scored an equalizer early in the second half, but again conceded the winning goal with a set piece. After a 0-0 draw in the first round of the Qatar World Cup group stage, the replay that followed four months later ended with Uruguay’s revenge match, which failed to advance to the round of 16 after being pushed by Korea. Even in the past opponents, Korea has not escaped the absolute inferiority with 1 win, 2 draws and 7 losses.
I was anxious from the scene where I allowed the first goal. Following a corner kick by Uruguay Federico Valverde (Real Madrid), tall (1m96) defender Sebastian Coates (Sporting CP)’s header scored a goal. The Korean players were confused, but no one competed for the header, and Coates comfortably headed the ball.
Throughout the first half, Korea played ‘puffy football’ under pressure from Uruguay. Korea’s pass was too flat to escape the pressure, and long kicks that hit forward were frequently blocked. After Uruguay went down to their camp, the Korean attack was dull. Horizontal passes with no special meaning were the main ones, and only occasional personal breakthroughs by Son Heung-min (Tottenham) and Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), and several shots, only elicited exclamations.
In the 6th minute of the second half, Korea scored an equalizer. Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos) scored a ground ball pass sent by defender Lee Gi-je (Suwon) in front of the goal during the chaos before the goal. Lee Ki-je’s momentary grasp of empty space and Hwang In-beom’s calm in-front shooting stood out. Afterwards, Korea made a splash with lively and vigorous play for a while, but again conceded a goal from a set piece. Again, the start was Valverde. As Valverde’s free kick went over the wall and into the corner of the goal, goalkeeper Cho Hyeon-woo (Ulsan) threw himself. At that moment, two Uruguayan players rushed to the goal at the same time, and Matias Vesino (Lazio) pushed the goal punched by Cho Hyun-woo into the empty goal. The Korean players looked at the goal without properly marking the two Uruguay players. Like the first goal, losing focus and being complacent led to a goal.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann substituted Oh Hyeon-gyu (Celtic) for the sluggish Hwang Ui-jo (Seoul). Oh Hyun-kyu received Lee Kang-in’s cross in the 39th minute of the second half and shook the net with an exquisite turning shot, but was in an offside position with a difference of one perilla leaf and became a no-go. It was regrettable that the goal was nullified right after the header of defender Kim Young-kwon (Ulsan) was declared a goalkeeper charge after VAR.
Klinsmanho scored two goals against Colombia last week, but drew 2-2, and lost against Uruguay that day by conceding two goals. It has been confirmed once again that Korean soccer is difficult to win against the world’s strongest players by conceding two goals. These two evaluation matches were held to celebrate the World Cup round of 16, but we learned a lesson that it is difficult to win on the international stage with a weak defense anyway. Coach Klinsman, who advocated hot attacking football, saying, “I prefer a 4-3 win rather than a 1-0 win,” found that stabilizing the defense was the first task he had to solve.