Tag Archives: South Korea

Team of the Week


Remember, this is only based on first group round matches (even though you’re reading this after sides have played a 2nd match)

Ozil dominated all over the pitch...

Ozil dominated all over the pitch...

Goalkeeper

At the back we’ll employ the Nigerian Enyeama who shaded Howard of the US and South African Khune. Enyeama was the only thing preventing 1-0 from an extra zero; 10-0. It felt like one of those days where Martin Tyler pulls out the “he looks determined to not be beaten”, a phrase that gets its fair share of air time. Just as a preview: This bloke has booked his spot for next week with an astonishing display. Running out of superlatives.

Defenders

After one of the lowest scoring starts to a world cup we’ll play the defensive minded 5-4-1. It’s a shame that this wasn’t even the most defensive formation we saw, but nevertheless credit must be given to several stand outs who looked harder to break down than a pistachio. If we could play 3 right backs we probably would. Maicon and Phillip Lahm would have been certain starters in any given week if it wasn’t for Mauricio Isla bursting onto the scene for Chile. Isla showed a consistent attacking bent and a prominent threat down the flanks. Looks the complete package.

Stephane Grichting, Winston Reid and Oguchi Onyewu make up our flat back three. Other candidates include Frenchman Toullalan and Jung-Soo Lee who featured in a fluent South Korean display. It’s ironic that Reid books his place as a goal scorer. Grichting was simply colossal at the back and we very nearly played the entire Swiss defence. Onyewu stepped up for the US in a crucial game for them that could give them an outside chance to finish top of the group.

Bursting down the left, PTS fancies Gabriel Heinze who is once again picked predominantly for his aerial goal threat. Heinze’s goal was a superb header. He showed promise throughout the game as well.

Nadir Belhadj and Phillip Lahm are the most significant omissions (defending omissions) from our starting 11.

Midfielders

PTS has gone with Danielle de Rossi as the quarterback for the side. While the Italians didn’t get the result they hoped, they looked comfortable on the ball. De Rossi was central to all of their efforts. Alexis Sanchez will start on the right of midfield after leading his Chilean buddies to a famous opening win. He showed why Real Madrid are chasing his autograph. Creative genius at its best. He gets the nod as vice captain too, after showing his bag of tricks against Honduras. On the left of midfield it has to be Giovanni dos Santos who was an obvious standout way back on the opening night. The Mexcian showed incredible touch and while played centrally for his country, will threaten from the left for passthesugar. Our attack minded central midfielder is Mesut Ozil (Captain) who announced his arrival on the biggest stage in style. Tipped by passthesugar to “get yourself labelled as the hottest property by a commentator”, everyone at FFTD will be on the lookout for that phrase tonight when Ze Germans play Serbia. Had the ball on a string over the 90 minutes and could have scored a hat trick himself. Ozil captains the side, as he was the best performer of the first round.

Park Ji Sung, Lukas Podolski, Tshabalala and Fernandez are all unlucky to miss out. Abou Diaby was also a standout in a poor French outfit. While Slovakia didn’t live up the hype fuelled by passthesugar himself, Vladimir Weiss in the centre of the park still showed more quality than many of his compatriots.

Forwards

With no strikers impressing, we’ll squeeze an extra midfielder into the squad. Lionel Messi showed his Barcelona form is a transferrable commodity and that he will be the player of the tournament come July 12. While this selection is controversial, we’ll tell our players to keep the ball at their feet after the Jualani looked more eager to skid away than a horse at the start of the Melbourne Cup. Messi will look for the trio of Sanchez, Santos and Ozil to run into the space behind the defence.

Asamoah Gyan was the only player to even vaguely push for a place and could be considered unlucky. The Socceroos strker, Not Available, was also unlucky to miss out. Maybe the Asian Rooney Jong showed he’s not totally talk, but he wasn’t particularly impressive.

Substitutes

We’re limiting ourselves to picking players that actually came on as substitutes. The standout was probably Eljero Elia who gave Holland some much needed width and flair when he was introduced late into the game. We won’t be making too many subs, so remarkably, he’ll be the lone player on the bench. The Mexican sub that set up the goal is hard done by…

The Gaffer

Several coaches showed they’re still important in football, but the Swiss mastermind, Ottmar Hitzfield, will be in charge of the locker room. A bit more defensive please – and don’t have a heart attack either!

The fans

It has to go to the South Africans, who were unwavering in their Vuvuzela blowing skills. They celebrated madly before the tournament and after Tshabalala’s goal. They made the 1st week memorable in the homeland.

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Group Matches (P)review


Round-up Groups A-D

So the 2010 World Cup is well under way, and with a paltry average of 1.56 goals a game after the first round of group games compared to 2.43 at this stage in 2006, I think it’s fair to say that this has not been quite what global audiences hoped or expected. A closer look, however, would suggest that perhaps this lack of goals is not so surprising; the defensively minded 4-2-3-1 formation du jour has certainly made itself known at the competition. Let’s hope for some more goals second time round!

So, a quick round up and summary of what can we expect from the rest of the group matches:

Group A

Ok, well South Africa have already lost 3-0 to a far more attack minded Uruguay outfit than we experienced against France back in the second match of the tournament, quite understandably. Whilst the scoreline is slightly flattering in favour of the South Americans, they certainly deserved the win, and South Africa’s discipline was poor. South Africa didn’t show the energy and creativity they did against Mexico, and talismanic midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala was wasteful. Diego Forlan proved his worth to Uruguay, scoring the first two goals and playing a part in the third and they now look well-placed to go through the group.

Coming up tonight is France v Mexico, a must-win game for both teams. France will surely drop the awful Govou for Florent Malouda, in the form of his career, and perhaps Franck Ribery will pass the ball to a player? It’s anyone’s guess! It would be nice to see ‘Handball-Henry’ for more than 20 minutes but seems unlikely given Raymond Domenech’s tendency to be a stubborn imbecile. Mexico will look to speedy youngster Giovanni dos Santos again to provide the flair for the team, as well as the basis for everything good they create – another example of a player who hasn’t had much club game time in recent years experiencing a resurgence in his fortunes at the World Cup. And perhaps ManU new boy Javi Hernandez will get a decent run?

Prediction: France 2-2 Mexico

Group B

Argentina escaped the brick wall of Nigeria with a less than convincing 1-0 win, but we were still lucky enough to witness some of the gold that makes Lionel Messi the best player in the world. Some strange decisions by mad-man Maradona, but that’s not really a surprise at all, is it? He came out and said that the only three players guaranteed starting positions were Messi, Mascherano, and Gutierrez – a fairly startling claim considering the wealth of talent in the squad. Then we witnessed the latter playing at right back, quite different from his left-wing berth at Newcastle – another instance of players too good to be left out, perhaps.  A tough game tonight against South Korea will likely prove a greater challenge than Nigeria. The Super Eagles looked strong at the back but were undone by Heinze’s rocket-header into the top-corner early on. They didn’t look so good up front, but with attacking players like Obafemi Martins, John Utaka, and Kanu supporting the Yak, they will always pose a threat, especially in the air.  Vincent Enyeama put in a great display between the sticks to keep them in the match, and they’ll fancy their chances of picking up 3 points tonight against Greece.

South Korea showed that they’ve got what it takes with a solid 2-0 win over a poor and frankly negative Greece. South Korea meet Argentina tonight in what will hopefully prove to be the most exciting game the group, and could well decide first place. Park Ji-Sung looked good, and their stylish play is in stark contrast to most teams in the tournament thus far. They will have to hold back a bit against Messi’s men, but should put up a good fight. Dark horse for the quarters?

Greece have a reputation for being a strong and organised defensive side, but here they were undone by some slick passing, much more of which is to come when they face Argentina. Up front they looked lacking in ideas. Points for them in the rest of the group will be hard to come by. They have a chance to sneak a draw tonight against Nigeria, but my guess says they will finish as group B whipping boys.

Predictions: Argentina 2-1 South Korea

Greece 0-1 Nigeria

Maradona quotes this week:

“I am not afraid of anyone or anything – unless they are wearing a mask…”

On Pele: “He should go back to the museum and stay there.”

On Michel Platini: “He’s French and we all know how French people are. If they say ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’ that’s something.”

More insightful than I could ever hope to be. Wonderful stuff, let’s hope they keep coming!

Group C

England opened their campaign with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the USA – a decent result for them, despite what most people seem to think. St. Stevie’s early goal – a real skipper’s goal – was cancelled out by Rob Green’s decision to let Clint Dempsey’s pass trickle over the line. What? Surely that wasn’t an accident? Whatever. England should still win the group, and they’d better hope they do, otherwise they can expect to face a rampant Germany in the second round, who on first showing will tear them a collective new asshole.  Despite what most critics seem to think I still reckon Heskey was rubbish and should make way for Crouch, or alternatively, Gerrard move forward and Barry take over in the centre. Cole should replace the lacklustre Milner on the left.

The US, on the other hand, looked lively and much hungrier than England, but still failed to trouble the England defenders too much. Altidore was probably the pick of the bunch, strolling past the creaking bones of Jamie Carragher. Some increased invention from his team-mates in their next match against Slovenia could see a fair few goals scored, and if they’re lucky they might edge England out at the top of the group.

The Slovenia v Algeria match was one of the poorest matches yet. No one on the field could come to grips with the diabolical Jabulani ball, with passes being floated almost out of the stadium. The highlight (lowlight?) of the match came when Algerian keeper Faouzi Chouachi threw West Brom alumni Robert Koren’s tame strike into the side of the net. Both teams looked defensive, with chances on goal coming at a premium. Nadir Belhadj looked lively for Algeria, getting forward regularly from his left-back role, but failed to inspire a goal. Interesting statistic: Abdelkader Ghezzal picked up two yellows in just 14 minutes and 19 seconds, making him the fastest substitute to pick up two yellow cards in World Cup history. There’s really not much else to be said about this game. Both teams will struggle again on Friday night and one would expect England and USA to push on from Group C.

Predictions: England 2-0 Algeria

USA 1-0 Slovenia

Group D

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Nein!

No cheering from the Aussies after their 4-0 demolition at the hands of a clinical German outfit that could have scored even more goals. Lucas Podolski played a big part just as the webmaster predicted, and his fine finish in the 8th minute started the rout. Mesut Ozil also had a strong showing, playing in the roaming role behind Klose. Ballack’s absence was hardly noticed with Bastian Schweinsteiger effortlessly slotting into a deeper role. That said, Pim Verbeek’s tactics were extremely negative, choosing not to field a recognized striker in a compact but ill-disciplined and ill-prepared 4-2-1-2-1 formation. Lucas Neill and Craig Moore looked out of their depth and far too slow at the back. Tim Cahill clearly forgot to eat the Weetbix he so heartily endorses. The only positive comments can come from the performance of Brett Emerton, Wilkshire to a lesser extent, and Brett Holman who injected some much needed energy at half-time. Verbeek’s questionable tactics have come under much criticism, and the Aussies will need to bounce back with gusto against Ghana on Saturday night if they are to have any chance of going through.

Ghana and Serbia produced the first victory for an African nation at the tournament, and it was quite an entertaining game to boot. Serbia looked surprisingly frail at the back, and human giant Nikola Zigic was wasteful up front. They failed to produce sustained pressure on the Ghanaian goal and suffered for it. Ghana were slightly better, pressuring the Serbian defence whenever they were in possession. Asamoah Gyan netted a penalty to take the lead after Serbia had gone down to 10 men, and this win gives them a good chance of going through to the next round. Serbia will struggle with the speed and efficiency of the German attack, and a loss will probably knock them out of the running for second round qualification. Ghana face Australia who will be desperate for a victory, and perhaps in this case, desperation will prevail over superiority.

Predictions: Australia 1-0 Ghana

Germany 3-1 Serbia

Acknowledgements: Thanks to editor and minor contributor, Fishface Shakur.

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World Cup Preview – Group B – South Korea


I’ve been waiting all week to write this preview – absolutely can’t wait! Not! This preview really has been a struggle.

THE BASICS

• Nickname: Taeguk Warriors
• Colors: Red and white
• FIFA Ranking: 47
• How They Got Here: Went undefeated in the semi-finals and finals of Asian qualifying.
• World Cup Pedigree: 8 World Cups (including every one since ’86); finished fourth in 2002 (when they were co-hosts).

THE PLOT

The glory days of ’02 seem to have passed by with little noise. The squad looks decidedly weak in key areas. They lack the quality European footballers that most other sides have a smattering of at the very least. The South Koreans have a reputation as hard working, supremely fit and industrious, but they’ll be undone by a tad of physicality. They also have plenty of pace at their disposal and will fancy their chances against the Greeks and try to snatch draws against the other two fancied sides. The nation is completely football mad and a sweeping wave of euphoria could help them. They’ll be desperate to supersede whatever their Northern partners achieve.

THE DIRECTOR

Huh Jung-Moo

I’m not gonna lie here – I don’t have a clue about this bloke. But not to worry, I’ve done a little research. Apparently he used to play for PSV in the Netherlands, becoming one of the first major exports from the far East. They’ll probably be dreaming of wonder boss Guss Hiddink making a dramatic return to the helm – and maybe this will be their best chance.

LEADING MAN

Park Ji-Sung

Park has become a mainstay at Man United and is regularly used in the big games by Sir Alex. He’s a likeable fellow – typically Asian – polite, small, crafty and always one to keep his emotions in check. The fact that he plays for the Reds and comes from the part of the world that offers the biggest consumer market on the planet, makes his shirt one of the most widely sold of any player. He is unspectacular and incredibly efficient, which fits the mould of the archetypal South Korean. (I apologize in advance for the horrible music. The video is quality though.)

SUPPORTING CAST

Park Chu-Young (forward, AS Monaco) is renowned as a free-kick specialist and this will be one of their main sources of goals. He’s known to hit them with his right or left.  He isn’t just in the side for dead balls, either, he’s one of the fastest players at the tournament. A true speedy gonzalo. Lee Young-Pyo (left back, Al-Hilal [Saudi Arabia]) has had stints at Tottenham and (Korean favourite) PSV and his move to the Arabs must be for a final big payout. He’s a true veteran and is renowned for – you guessed it- his pace. He could trouble the Argentinians on the counter or with wide sweeping runs. Or maybe not… Lee Woon-Jae (goalkeeper, Suwon Bluewings) It’s worth mentioning this guy – he’s participating at an incredible 5th World Cup. He must be bored of it by now…

GET YOURSELF LABELLED AS “THE HOTTEST PROPERTY”

Surrounding Park Ji-Sung in the midfield will be a duo of very talented British-based midfielders, Ki Sung-Yueng and Lee Chung-Yong. These guys look to have the goods, particularly Chung-Yong who seems a talented poacher. He was signed out of absolutely nowhere by Bolton and Megson, and featured in yours truly’s fantasy team for periods of the EPL.  Sung-Yueng has been dubbed “The Korean Gerrard” and plays for Celtic. Unfortunately, the Korean Gerrard is not really of a similar ilk. In Korea, these two players are dubbed the “double dragon” and the pressure on their shoulders at this tournament and into the future is nothing short of immense.

THE LIKELY VILLAIN

Young-Pyo

Unsure who to pick, the only real dirt I could find on the squad centred around this guy. In 2006, he allegedly requested the authorities to drop all Buddhist players in favour of Christians. Sounds like North Korea to be honest.

FORMATION

The team will play a tight 4-3-3 that isn’t as attacking as it sounds. they focus on possession football looking to constantly pass and move and pass and move. It won’t be like Barcelona possession football, but it does the job.

THE STRIP

IT’S SORTA LIKE…

“I Am Legend”

Park Ji-Sung, like Will Smith, is the only big-name player in this production. If you’d like to make a joke about Argentina and zombies, the floor is all yours.

TRAILER

USELESS TRIVIA

The South Korean national anthem, “Aegukka (Patriotic Song),” was sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne” until 1937 when it received it’s own original score.

THE FAIRYTALE SCRIPT

There are a few options here: A match up with North Korea would simply be too much to handle for many Koreans and fortunately for them, the chances of this happening are negligible at best. The most popular player in Europe/Latin America/Western World in Lionel Messi will hopefully swap shirts with the pride and joy of the East in Park Ji-Sung when the teams face off on June 17. Rest assure, there will be more than a few flashbulbs exploding. This will be a true fairytale moment.

FINAL VERDICT

The Koreans will fancy there chances to get out of the group. They have been granted a dream group. They won’t have to worry about too much physicality (all these teams seem to have been lumped into group D) and will favour their fitness against the likes of Nigeria, Greece and Argentina. You just never know with this type of team. If their passing is really “on” then they could control the ball for long periods against better sides. They’ll trouble others with their exceptional pace out wide and could be a surprise package in 2010. However, after their run in 2002, maybe it’s someone else’s turn to make a good run – maybe Australia?

Decent quality midfield + unprecedented home support + plenty of speed + relatively easy group – untested against quality opposition – lacks a real game breaker = Will probably finish with one win, one draw and one loss – it’ll come down to goal difference in this group and maybe the Africans (at home) will get the nod.


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