Monday, January 17, 2011

Korea Republic need to find the 'missing link'

In his first article for Asian Football Feast, Seungmin Lee looks at the missing link for Korea Republic - a proven goal scorer.

Park Chu-young was ruled out of the Asian Cup

It was just before the Asian Cup started when Korea’s star striker Park Chu-young got injured. All the Korean national press was worrying about who can replace him.

While beating Bahrain 2-1 and drawing with Australia 1-all are positive results for Korea Republic, there was something that was missing.

Given their dominance in those games, the scorelines should have been better. All of their three goals have come from just one player - Jeju United midfielder Koo Ja-cheol.

Cho Gwang-rae, the gaffer, is well known for his Arsenal-ish pass and move style football.

One of the tactic’s mechanisms is while forwards are distracting defenders and creating spaces behind the defensive line, midfielders are penetrating into the spaces and putting the ball into the net. Arsene Wenger had decent strikers who could put the ball in the net - Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo Da Silva were the players who had played the role.

For Korea, Cho couldn’t find any player better than Park Chu-young.

Currently, Ji Dong-won holds that place and has put in good performances so far, but without scoring goals. As was mentioned above, Korea Republic under Cho Gwang-rae, does not play the style of Football that provides great opportunities for strikers to score.

But, at the same time, it doesn’t mean that Ji hasn’t had his chances. There were some chances and he blew up when he had to shoot fast.

Yoo Byoung-soo, the top scorer of K-League, has proved he is not that prolific when playing in Cho’s strategy. He came on late against Australia, but was not that threatening while Koo scored again.

It was a disappointing performance for any 22-goal-a-season player, even though it was the first action he had seen so far in the tournament.

Together with this, they haven’t scored any goal from set-pieces. At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Korea Republic progressed to the last 16 thanks to goals from set-pieces, but this time around they haven’t scored any.

There are still players in the side who contributed Korea’s WC Campaign, like Ki Sung-yueng and Lee Jeong-soo, why aren’t they able to get on the scoresheet like before?

Against India, a huge win is expected but nobody knows how many goals Korea Republic can score. India scored two goals against Bahrain, proving they are capable of minimizing the goal difference.

If Australia wins against Bahrain, Korea will need to score plenty of goals to qualify top of Group C and play the second placed team of Group D, avoiding one of the toughest opponent in this competition - Iran.

Scoring goals, the ‘missing link’ for Korea Republic, is decisive in the quest to bring the trophy back to the Korean peninsula.


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