Korea vs Greece: Takeaways from the match
Mar 05, 2014 3:40 PM EST
South Korea emerged the victor on Wednesday, putting away Greece 2-0 thanks to goals from Park Chu Young and Son Heung Min. The game was closer than the scoreline suggested as Greece missed several quality chances to level the score, but South Korea managed to escape the onslaught of shots. Despite several problems still lingering in the squad, this match eased questions about South Korea’s ability to find the net. Greece on the other hand is looking at an early exit in the World Cup with the way they played. Here are the takeaways from the match.
Welcome Back Park Chu Young
After getting loaned out to Watford, Park Chu Young finally saw first team opportunity not just with an English club, but also with the South Korea National Football team. Despite not playing with the team for than a year, Park did not look like he was out of sync with his teammates and scored off a beautiful long ball from Son Heung Min with just one touch. Almost out of the conversation six months ago, Park has earned himself a spot in the starting 11. His talent and ability to make an impact was noticeable. It’s a matter of time for him to get in 100% shape during his time at Watford and help Korea find the back of the net come World Cup time.
It’s really shocking for someone standing at 6’5” to vanish as if he was not on the pitch. Anyone at the match noticed there was a freakishly tall striker playing up top for South Korea? I didn’t. It’s safe to say that Kim Shin Wook will be brought in as a reserve. At this point I’m convinced Park Chu Young has earned the starting 11 spot simply because he is a lot more talented than Kim.
It’s refreshing to see Bayer Leverkeusen’s Son Heung Min play at the left side instead of Lee Keun Ho. That goal he scored from a tight angle at the left of the box just validated his spot on the starting 11. Unlike Lee, Son can move sharply with the ball, has a quick step, has solid accuracy with his shot, and is creative with his passes. In other words Son just knows how to play football. Lee doesn’t.
Despite arguments that Son should play up top as a center forward, I believe his pass to Park and his goal showed that he is effective from the left.
Hold in your Breaths
South Korea will be one of the most exciting teams to watch in the World Cup. Despite putting on a show on the offensive end, their defense was not short of dramatic events. Nearly every player had to cram into the box whenever Greece had the ball to whatever they can to stop the goal. Unreliable keeper Jung Sung Ryung made questionable decisions in his positioning and he looked like he gave up on the play in the 23rd minute when Kostas Katsouranis hit the post from the right side of the six yard box. South Korea fans almost got a heart attack in the 31st minute when the Greeks played ping-pong with the goal post. Who knows how much the defense will improve by the time the World Cup starts, but this team would get destroyed by the likes of Belgium and Russia.
Stop Being Complacent
The Taeguk Warriors have a tendency to just get complacent whenever they nab an early lead. It was a bad habit that was prevalent in their qualifying stages. Whenever teams answered back with a goal, things always went downhill from there. The Hangooks just looked sloppy after a marvelous first 15 minutes. Thankfully the midfield got their act together in the second half and put the game away.
Why Isn’t He Playing?
Mainz 05 Park Joo Ho was not given a cap in tonight’s match. Although it’s not for certain whether he is a better player than Kim Jin Su, it doesn’t hurt to give him a chance to play and see whether he’s talented enough to play in the starting 11 and improve the back line.
Greece is not Bad…
The Greeks did a solid job in holding onto the ball and matched the pesky Korean midfield in possessions at 50%. Greece looked composed in front of the overly aggressive Koreans and moved the ball down effectively. Never doubt the calming presence of Kostas Katsouranis.
Goal Postos, The Greek God of Defense
The Greeks outshot the Koreans 13 to 7 but never found the back of the net. Don’t credit the Korean defense whatsoever for this, the Greeks simply could not finish. Katsouranis, Georgios Samaras, and Giorgos Karagounis combined for six shots, which found the post or a blocker. As the weakest team in their group, the Greeks need to capitalize on their chances to make it out alive.
One of the alarming problems with Greece is their lack of pace. When Korea found their rhythm in the attack, Greece looked like they were unable to keep up with their opponents. Their slow reaction allowed Park Chu Young to slip past them to receive the pass that led to the goal. They also had problems with marking Son and Lee Chung Yong. This is not a promising sign when they go against Japan and Ivory Coast. They might as well hand over the match to Columbia as well.
FIFA Rankings make sense
It’s logical that the 61st ranked South Korea could defeat the ranked 12th Greece at ease right? These rankings are perfectly justifiable.