COACH – Hong Myung-Bo
finals 2002
QUALIFICATION – 2nd in AFC Final Group Stage A
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 500/1 (Ladbrokes)
June 17th – Russia (2300 BST, Cuiaba, BBC)
June 22nd – Algeria (2000 BST, Porto Alegre, ITV)
June 26th – Belgium (2100 BST, Sao Paulo, ITV)


Button Belgium Button Russia Button Algeria


South Korea made their eighth successive World Cup finals but only just. Finishing one goal above Uzbekistan isn’t something South Korea were proud of.

Choi Kang-Hee’s policy of favouring his domestic players didn’t really pay off. Add to that his plan of long ball and a direct style that Korean footballers weren’t accustomed to and it’s hardly a surprise he resigned and was replaced by Hong.

Hong Myung-Bo is familiar with some of the players having coached the U20s in 2009 and the bronze medal-winning Olympic team of 2012. 

Hong’s plan is use his speedy players to enable the counter attack, his wingers can get in behind opposition defences and cause havoc. 

Korean weakness however is the defence. An Achilles’ heel was defending set pieces and at times the Koreans can be all over the place defensively with Jung Sung-Ryong hardly an assuring figure in goalkeeper.

Kwak Tae-Hi and Kim Young-Gwon should pair up at the heart of defence with Kim Chang-Soo and Park Joo-Ho as decent but not outstanding full backs.

Ki Sung-Yeung is the man the defence look to for an outlet and can play a deep role in the midfield or a more advanced one further up the field.

Ki will try to feed Ha Dae-Sung or Lee Chung-Yong with the aim of using Bayer striker Son Heung-Min to score.

The Koreans have a breakneck style which, if it comes off, will be a joy to watch. They’re quick, enjoy pressing and have high fitness levels. 


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09 WORLD CUP SON HEUNG MINSon migrated to Europe in his teens having been spotted by Hamburgfter a few impressive years there he became Bayer Leverkusen’s record signing last summer.

Son Heung-Min can play on both wings and as the second striker. I expect him to assume the main striking role for his country though.

A twofooted player with explosive pace, skill and that ability to be in the right place at the right time
he 21yearold could be the difference between Korean success and Korean failure in Brazil.



The powers that be in Korean football ended the Choi Kang-Hee experiment and Hong Myung-Bo has gone back to the system that made South Korea dangerous to begin with. Pace, power and precision is the aim of the game and he has the tools in place to make it happen.

They’re a youthful bunch with Kwak Tae-Hi the only over 30 in the squad but they’re good enough to give the other nations in Group H problems. Full backs won’t relish coming up against the pacy Korean forwards.

The big fear is set pieces and defending them. As a defender himself in his playing days, Hong has to find a way to effectively defend them – the sort of defending shown in qualifying won’t hold up against better opposition.

This Korean side is tough to judge. They’re capable of topping the group and also capable of going home pointless. If their gameplan comes off they’ll win a few friends with their exciting style.


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Between them and Russia for a spot in the last 16. Any better would shock me.


world cup Brasil emblem 01

Lee Dan-Gook (D-Good)
Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83

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