Korea v. Nigeria: Player ratings

Korea v. Nigeria: Player ratings

Aug 11, 2010

Starting Lineup
Lee Woon-Jae – 6.5
A winning swansong for the second-most capped player in Korea’s history. Was at little fault for the goal and did well to rally a new-look backline with his experience. Huge gloves to fill.

Kwak Tae-Hwi – 6.5
A warm welcome back for the Kyoto centreback whose sheer athleticism in the air gave fits to the Nigerian defense on set-pieces but looked a bit slow at times, understandably. Should have probably converted an excellent set-piece by Ki Sung-Yong but nonetheless a solid performance.

Lee Jung-Soo – 7
Slotted comfortably in an almost libero role that saw him maraud forward to provide defensive cover for midfield. Dealt with the Nigeria threat well and inspired confidence in his solid marking.

Kim Young-Gwun – 6.5
A good debut for the 20-year old FC Tokyo defender whose height and physicality lent themselves well to the team dynamic. Was caught out for pace by Odemwingie a couple of times but did well all things considered. Ball distribution was decent as well.

Choi Hyo-Jin – 9, MOTM
The FC Seoul rightback looked as if he had just come back from the World Cup campaign with his colleagues and some might have felt, on the basis of today’s performance, that perhaps he would have been a better choice than Oh Beom-Seok. An endless series of intelligent and incisive forays down the right hand side proved unsettling for Nigeria’s defense who were often caught out cold by Choi’s pace and smart dribbling. The 26-year old also displayed a fantastic range of passing, spotting out runs by Park Ji-Sung and Park Ju-Young on occasion, while assisting on the first goal and superbly netting a well-deserved one for the second.

Ki Sung-Yong – 7
His range of passing was on full display during this game as he looked to dictate the pace comfortably from a withdrawn position in midfield although he had free license to bomb forward and looked content to do so. His set-pieces also proved dangerous and nearly assisted for Kwak Tae-Hwi’s near-miss header. Went so close to netting a goal for himself as his 22-yard rocket was deflected off a Nigerian defender and crashed against the post with the goalkeeper nowhere to be seen.

Yoon Bitgaram – 8
A very impressive and mature performance from the former U-17 World Cup star and current Gyeongnam midfield lynchpin. The 20-year old took full advantage of his opportunity to shine and did so with aplomb, dictating Korea’s attack superbly with Ki Sung-Yong and creating opportunities for the forward line. Looked unafraid to take on defenders in possession and displayed intelligent off-the-ball positioning. Took his goal very well. One to watch closely in the near future.

Lee Young-Pyo – 8
Another consistent display from the veteran wingback who used his attacking license to full effect, often providing deep overlapping runs on the left-hand side of the pitch. Never looked unsettled by the speedy Nigerian wingers and used his experience to organize the younger players when he took over as captain after half-time.

Park Ji-Sung – 8
A good showing from the captain, who, at the ripe old age of 29, is one of most seasoned veterans on the team. Looked threatening every time he was in possession and excelled in the striker-support role, linking the midfield with the forward line with clever passes. His assist for Choi Hyo-Jin on the second goal oozed class and was, shortly thereafter, taken off at half-time.

Cho Young-Cheol – 6
A decent first-half and a somewhat disjointed second for the Niigata striker who displayed good running and chemistry with Park Ji-Sung and Park Ju-Young but looked a little sloppy after the wave of half-time substitutions. His eagerness to get forward and speed dragged the Nigerian backline in the initial 30 minutes or so but his effect quickly waned. Caught offside on multiple occassions.

Park Ju-Young – 7
As always, the Monaco hitman created havoc in the opposing defense with his smart, Roadrunneresque forays behind the backline. Dropped deep to aid the midfield when needed and was always available as an offensive outlet, winning long balls in the air and looking to play in wide players with some clever throughballs. Should have scored after the half after being picked out brilliantly by Lee Young-Pyo but hit his left-footed shot right at the keeper with no defenders pressuring. Took a studded kick to the head and was withdrawn shortly thereafter.

Jung Sung-Ryong – 7. Came on for retiree Lee and did well to stop some long-distance efforts and deflect wide a one-on-one opportunity with Uche.

Hong Jung-Ho – 6. Performed well and comfortable in possession.

Cho Yong-Hyung – 6. Had little time to impress after coming on after Lee Jung-Soo took a knock but did well to find players’ runs with his passing abilities.

Baek Ji-Hoon – 6. Looked eager to score. Maybe a little too eager. Didn’t always look so eager to track back but going forward was solid.

Lee Seung-Ryul – 6. Good incisive running and link-up play with the midfield.

Kim Bo-Kyung – 6.5. Looked to get forward with every opportunity despite coming on with less than 20 minutes remaining in the game. Hit a good left-footed shot that troubled the goalkeeper.

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  1. black squid /

    Yoon Bitgaram made a formidable entry in the Korean National Team three years after the 2007 FIFA U-17 world cup where he was hyped as a football mastermind and the next korean “Zidan”. A very nice goal and solid display in the midfield throughout the game… His association with Ki Sung Yong was very relevant, and could prove a new foundation for the asian cup… Let us flush away all those Yeom Ki Hun, Kim Jung Woo, Oh Beom Seok that dragged down the national team during the sout african world cup.

    I also would like to see Park Hee Do, Yoo Byung Soo and Lee Yong Rae…

  2. I don’t think there’s a need to disparage YKH, KJW, or OBS (ok, maybe OBS). KJW had an impossibly difficult role as a CDM and YKH played selflessly to allow our WC squad to shift from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-1-1 with his movement. Granted they all had bad momments, but I think YKH and KJW will still serve our country well for the next few years off the bench or as cover for injuries.

    I like the ratings overall. Our younger generation have confidence mixed with just enough arrogance. And I really wish we got to see what Ji Dong Won could do. I was also really happy with how Yoon dovetails so well with Ki. Now we have a dual axis of playmakers rather than one. It can develop into a Xavi/Iniesta or Carrick/Scholes tandem in the future.

    The only point of disagreement was with the review of Lee Woon Jae. I think he was largely at fault for the Nigerian goal. He was great leading the defence and directing traffic in the back. But his height/weight limited him from coming off the line to punch or grab that free kick. That’s why despite LWJ’s experience, I though JSR was the better choice during the WC. His height helps us defend set pieces better.

    I’m almost positive we were implementing zonal marking to defend that set piece (I may be wrong). But if so, it was in the GK’s zone, hence LWJ’s mistake. Anyway, I’m sad to see LWJ retire. His leadership is going to be sorely missed. But it’s long overdue. Let’s hope the next generation of giants we have rolling in (particularly JSR and the U-23 GKs) grow into that role as the leader of the backline. And I hope LWJ returns as a coach to help guide our defenders.

  3. Woong-Soo /

    Thanks for the comments guys. Yoo Byung-Soo deserves a call-up, IMO. He looks set to smash his total goals from last season and is really a pure striker more than anything — something the nat’l team could use.

    With regards to my rating of LWJ, I feel like the defensive system was man-marking as it looked like Lee Jung-Soo and Ki Sung-Yong got mixed up in their assignments. Nevertheless, Odemwingie’s header was a free one by some considerable distance and I think the lapse in defense was simply unforgivable whereas LWJ could do little to make amends for it other than flap at it.

  4. Btw, is Yoo Byung Soo on the Hong Myung Bo’s Asian Olympic team? They might be waiting for him to prove himself in the fall before promoting him.

    Also, I got slightly worried watching Park JS on the bench with his right knee wrapped in ice. Is he ok? I hope it was just precautionary.

  5. Woong-Soo /

    @ Joe: Not that I know of. Yoo Byung-Soo hasn’t been on any national team roster since the infancy of World Cup preparation. I’m not sure what he has to prove at this point. He has 12 goals at the middle stage of the season and his physicality and power are something that adds another dimension to Incheon’s forward line.

    Park Ji-Sung should be fine. Took a slight knock on his bad knee but nothing serious.

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