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Hwang Sun-hong wins Korea-Japan match, improves performance

Hwang Sun-hong, who is aiming to advance to the Olympic finals for the 10th time in a row, is making a successful comeback with two consecutive wins. With the team successfully advancing to the quarterfinals, the final ranking for the group stage will be determined through the “Korea-Japan match.” Of course, winning against Japan is important to rank No. 1 in the group stage, but what is more urgent is improving the content of the game.

The South Korean U-23 national soccer team, led by head coach Hwang Sun-hong, will face Japan in the third Group B match of the 2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup at Jasim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar, at 10 p.m. on the 22nd (Korea time). Currently, South Korea and Japan have won two games side by side in Group B, making it to the quarterfinals regardless of the results of the third round. Both teams have recorded six points, and the winner takes first place because the difference in gains and losses is tied at +3.

With the two teams vying for the top spot in Group B, the coaches of the two teams expressed their aspiration for the final match. “We need to conduct comprehensive inspections on various issues, so we need to examine them and find a good way to do so,” Hwang said, while Oiwa Ko of the Japanese U-23 team said, “The analysis has been done well. We will do our best to win.”

Japan has a well-organized system with four-year teams of players of the same age aimed at advancing to the Olympic finals. Although the overseas players called up this time are non-mainstream resources in their team, and there are not many players who are noticeably threatening, but vigilance is not to be avoided. Hwang Sun-hong had a record of 0-3 defeat by Japan, which formed a team of players under the age of 21 led by Oiwa in the quarterfinals of the U-23 Asian Cup two years ago.

Another highlight to watch in this match is the penalty shootout. According to AFC regulations, if two teams with a score point, winner, goal difference, and multiple points are tied at the final group match, the penalty shootout will determine the ranking. Coincidentally, both Korea and Japan are tied at the current level, so if the two teams draw in this match, the final ranking will be determined by the penalty shootout.

Hwang Sun-hong, who has both bad news and good news, “Attendance of the main center back + waiting for the normal guest to play.”

Ahead of the match between Korea and Japan, Hwang encountered both bad and good news. The bad news was that he lost his starting center back duo at the same time, and the good news was that Jung Sang-bin (Minnesota), who joined Qatar relatively late but made his debut at this year’s event through substitution against China, was in good condition.

Ahead of the match against Japan, Korea will inevitably have to change its defense lineup. In the last match against China, Seo was substituted due to a hamstring injury, and this tournament will be terminated. On top of that, Byun Joon-soo (FC Gwangju) is also unable to play in the match against Japan due to accumulated number of warnings. Due to the departure of the center backs in the two main competitions, coach Hwang Seon-hong will likely have a hard time forming the starting lineup. Of course, Cho Hyun-taek (Kim Cheon) and Lee Kang-hee (Gyeongnam FC) from other positions can play as center backs, but Lee Jae-won (Cheonan) is the only professional center back in the squad.

Amid such negative developments, Jung brought his team to life. In the match against China, he was substituted in the 15th minute of the second half to prove his presence. He displayed good chemistry with right back Hwang Jae-won (Daegu), and continued to create chances by moving back and forth between the center and the side, giving great strength to Korea’s offense. After the match, Jung said, “I will do my best to win the match by fully devoting my 100 percent to the match against Japan,” expressing his commitment to victory. Let’s take note of his performance in the match against Japan.

Hwang Sun-hong, who succeeded in taking care of the “result,” should also take care of the “contents of the game.”

Hwang successfully secured the result by winning two consecutive matches in Group B, which used to be called the “Group of Death.” He also garnered good results by finishing the match without allowing a single goal in the matches against the UAE and China, which were considered difficult opponents. However, Hwang left much to be desired in the content of the match. This is a task that must be solved in order to advance to the finals of the Paris Olympics and to continue a good trend in the Paris Olympics.

Korea’s offense is too focused on the sides. In the past two games, the average percentage of the strikers’ use of the sides has reached 78 percent. On the other hand, only 22 percent used the center. Rather, China used the center with 28.6 percent in the second game, higher than Korea’s with 22.6 percent. In fact, China has created good opportunities to attack by taking advantage of the empty space in the center several times.

Of course, using the left and right sides frequently in an offensive situation is not a bad choice. It is an appropriate strategy to utilize left and right fullbacks who are capable of participating in attacks. The problem is that because they mainly attack the sides during the offensive process, they are not able to make the best use of the midfield. Korea has not created many chances to throw balls into the box through the midfield in case of an attack. And the players on the sides have little organic movement, so the players on the center have no choice but to cross, pass, or back pass. There should also be a process of utilizing the sides but creating attacking opportunities through the midfield.

The monotonous pattern of attack also needs to change. Korea is adopting an excessive use of cross-oriented attack patterns. Korea attempted a whopping 43 crosses in the first leg, and the accuracy rate was only 15 percent among the 20 crosses in the second leg. In this ‘infinite cross’ strategy, the opposing teams deployed a large number of defensive numbers in the box to prepare for an aerial challenge. The opposing teams did not feel much threatened by Korea’s simple offensive tactics.

It is necessary to diversify offensive routes by utilizing the strengths of players. It is possible to sufficiently threaten the opponent team’s defense through various attack patterns such as cutback or 2-to-1 pass, breaking away from the cross-centered attack method. Korea has players with fast speed and excellent penetration ability such as Jung Sang-bin and Hong Si-hoo (Incheon), and a large number of players who are good at passes such as Kang Sang-yoon (Suwon FC), Kim Min-woo (Dusseldorf), and Baek Sang-hoon (Seoul). Various and detailed attack patterns that can be created by appropriately utilizing the players’ individual capabilities are urgently needed to improve attack capability.

BY: 스포츠토토

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