From Yellow to Lee Ki-je’s sluggish performance. In many ways, it was a game that raised many concerns even if they won.
The Korean men’s national soccer team, led by coach Jürgen Klinsmann, entered the group stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qatar 2023 held at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar at 8:30 pm (Korean time) on the 15th. They faced Bahrain in the first match of League Group E and won 3-1.
Korea is aiming for its first win in 64 years since winning the second Asian Cup in 1960. With this victory, Korea maintained its absolute advantage over Bahrain (12 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss) and got off to a good start by scoring 3 points in the first game of the group stage. Korea and Bahrain are aiming for a ticket to the round of 16 in Group E against Jordan and Malaysia.
In the Asian Cup, 24 countries will participate and be divided into 6 groups. The 12 countries ranked 1st and 2nd in each group advance to the round of 16. Additionally, the top four teams with the best performance among the top three teams in the group will also advance to the round of 16. If Korea takes first place in Group E, their opponent in the round of 16 will be second in Group D.
It is one of Japan, Indonesia, Iraq, and Vietnam in Group D. If they place second in their group, they will face the first place in Group F, which includes Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, and Oman. Originally, the 2023 AFC Asian Cup was scheduled to be held in China in July last year. However, due to the novel coronavirus infection (Corona 19), the venue was changed to Qatar and the event was postponed to early this year. It opened on the 12th and runs until February 10th. 먹튀검증사이트
The first round of a major tournament is always important. This is because it influences the overall atmosphere of the competition. First of all, the victory itself felt good. Although the opponent was one level below them (Korea ranked 23rd in FIFA rankings, Bahrain ranked 86th), they still got off to a good start with a pleasant victory.
In fact, Korea and Son Heung-min are more desperate for a championship trophy than any other Asian team. Korea, suffering from the Asian Cup jinx, succeeded in winning the first tournament in 1956 and the second tournament in 1960. However, over the next 63 years, Korea finished second only four times and had no relationship with the championship.
In many ways, Klinsmann won, but it was a game that had many disappointments. Korea had an overwhelming possession rate of 71%, but Bahrain’s counterattacks continued to expose dangerous scenes. In particular, even in situations where Bahrain could not properly catch the ball, Bahrain continued to create dangerous scenes. In particular, they continued to allow Bahrain to counterattack from the side.
On this day, several problems arose in the defensive line. In the first half alone, three yellow cards were issued from the defense. Park Yong-woo, Lee Ki-je, and Kim Min-jae received three yellow cards in the first half. In particular, Park Yong-woo, the main defensive midfielder, and Kim Min-jae, the core of the central defense, are lethal.
The yellow card scene was also somewhat unfair if you look at it closely. A dangerous situation emerged early in the game. Park Yong-woo, who was competing in midfield in the 10th minute of the first half, raised his foot high toward his opponent. After the ball was lost, Park Yong-woo kicked the opponent’s knee and was given a yellow card. It is very fatal for a starting member to receive a card early in the first match of the Asian Cup.
I can understand up to this point. However, it is difficult to understand the card given to Kim Min-jae in the 13th minute of the first half. In the process of stopping Bahrain’s counterattack, Kim Min-jae was given a warning. Even if you look at it as a normal defense and physical fight, it is a no problem scene. The ‘pillar’ of Korea’s defense, Kim Min-jae’s card is a hit that allows more than one run.
Fullback Lee Ki-je also received a yellow card while blocking an opponent’s attack in the 29th minute of the first half. The referee for this game is Man Ning, who is of Chinese nationality. Zhou Fei and Jiang Cheng, who served as assistant referees, are both Chinese. They gave Korea three yellow cards in the first half alone and two in the second half.
Coach Klinsmann simultaneously replaced Lee Ki-je and Kim Min-jae, who received yellow cards. In addition, Lee Ki-je was also involved in a scene where he conceded a goal in the 8th minute of the second half. In the 6th minute of the second half, Bahrain put the ball into the box with a good linkage play, which was later conceded by frontline striker Al Hashashi. In this process, Lee Ki-je failed to stop Bahrain’s attack and became the starting point for conceding a goal.
Aside from this scene, Lee Ki-je also received a warning in the 28th minute of the first half for excessive defense after being pushed back one-on-one by an opposing defender. In fact, on this day, he only won once out of six ground ball contests. In the end, the substitution of Kim Tae-hwan in the 8th minute of the second half was a reprimand for Coach Klinsmann.
In many ways, Coach Klinsmann had concerns about the defense. If Kim Min-jae or Park Yong-woo receive an additional yellow in the group stage, they will miss one more game. In addition, with Kim Jin-soo not in good condition and Lee Ki-je showing anxiety, Coach Klinsmann prepared for the second game with concerns about the defense.