Korea vs Mexico - Takeaways from the match

Created on Jan. 30, 2014 7:42 PM EST

Takeaways from Korea vs Mexico

Mexico’s 4-0 thrashing over South Korea pretty much confirms that the Liga MX is better than the K-League. Despite the absence of Europe-based players on both squads, both team’s domestic league players had a lot to prove coming into this match.
The Liga MX players, who will make up half of the starting 11 at the World Cup, were out to prove that they are capable to play alongside their Europe-based teammates and that they are stronger than their World Cup Qualifier record suggests. The K-League players are battling to fill out the final two spots in the starting 11 and that they are capable of playing in Head Coach Hong Myung Bo’s system.

Most of the players in the Mexican squad got the job done, proving that they are strong enough to put away a weak team like the K-League All-Sta…I mean South Korea quite handily. South Korea only proved that if the likes of Koo-Ja Cheol, Ki Sung Yong, or Son Heung Min got hurt, they’ll find themselves finishing last in their group come World Cup time.

Here are the takeaways from the friendly.

For Korea Republic

-  Head Coach Hong Myung Bo demands his players to play with Blue-collar energy, but with finesse in their touches, passing, and combination play. While the Taeguk Warriors showed a lot of hustle, their energy took them nowhere. The lack of discipline from the backline caused the midfielders to end up playing the ball in their half and feeding it to their flanks. Korea lacked creativity in the offensive end due to this problem, but it wasn’t like the crop of midfielders had the capability to even create anything that could break down the Mexican defense.

-  Korea’s bright spot on the offensive end came from Lee Keun Ho, who gave the Mexican backline some trouble with his runs, but that’s likely more attributed to the fact that Rafa Marquez, Francisco Rodriguez, and Diego Reyes are a bad combination at the back than Lee’s ability.

- Speaking of Korean offense, FW Kim Shin Wook was nowhere to be found that match. All 6 feet and 5 inches of him. If his excellent performance against Costa Rica was an indicator that he should be in the starting 11 playing up top alongside Son Heung Min, this match just proved how he can easily be shrugged off when the midfield isn’t working. Against Costa Rica, Kim Shin Wook showed off his offensive capabilities when the midfield was able to feed him an outlet pass, demonstrating a superb passing game with his head, and opening space for others once he’s in the box. Against Mexico, he was rendered useless.

-  Lets make one thing clear for Korea. Any holdover from the 2006 World Cup squad or 2007 Asian Cup squad should never be allowed to play on the national team again. Yes that’s specifically towards Yeom Ki Hun and Lee Ho.

For Mexico
-  FW Alan Pulido picked up right where he left off in the 2012 Summer Olympics and scored a hat trick in his senior international debut. While FW Oribe Peralta and the Korean defense deserve credit for orchestrating Mexico’s victory, Pulido earned the Man of the Match for such clinical finishes. To be honest, he looked like a stud. Lets just hope he consistently finds the net and not become like Luther Blissett (Who?), a former English International who scored a hat trick in his debut and never found the net for England again.

-  Chicharito has not been getting enough playing time at Manchester United. He also put on a sloppy display the last time he donned a Mexico jersey, so expect Head Coach Miguel Herrera to put tabs on Pulido's progress. 

- Peralta is on a roll by the way. He has scored 11 goals in his last eight games for the national team. Lets hope that form continues when the World Cup rolls around.

- Rafa Marquez is old. If you’ve moved out of a top European club to play for an MLS team, the reason why you had to leave is because you are old. If you’re old, you lack pace. If you lack pace, you can’t do things that quick, athletic people can do like hold the backline or win back possession. I know he is the most experienced player in the entire squad, but if his best years happen two World Cups ago, it’s probably best to start looking into other options at center back.

- Miguel Ponce did a solid job at left back, but I’m sure Andres Guardado will be starting once the World Cup starts. Still, he’s a great insurance to have in case Guardado gets hurt or moves to the winger position. 

Korea Republic will play against USA this Saturday, Feb 2 at 5 PM EST 

Mexico's next match will be against Nigeria in USA on March 4 at 7 PM EST 

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