Recaps and game analysis to follow one or two hours after each match.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Game 3: South Korea vs Greece

It's a shame there was a low attendance for this game, as South Korea vs Greece was easily the most exciting of the first four matches.  As Greece won the 2004 Euro Cup, and had a pretty good European qualifying campaign, many thought them to have an easy time in today's match. However, like I have said since the beginning, this was not to be the case.

South Korea easily dominated the match, from one end of the pitch to the other. The proceedings opened up almost immediately, when in the seventh minute Lee Jung-Soo scored off of a set piece, completely catching the Greek defenders flat-footed. Once this goal occurred, I knew South Korea would win. Greece, although gifted with a strong force, and a great attacker in the form of Gekas, are not great at coming from behind. The typical Greek style is to score first, then sit on the lead, which they are very good at doing, as they have an amazing defense, but for some reason, the defenders were not on their best today.

The second goal came from Park Ji-Sung in the fifty-second minute, after a brilliant through ball sent him flying into the box. Holding off one defender, the Manchester United player confidently slotted the ball past the sprawling goalkeeper. Game Over.

Things to Improve on:
Where was Greece? Not in the game, apparently. For being touted as one of the best defense lines in the tournament, they sure disappointed everyone. I have always been a firm believer that the Greeks are overhyped, winning the 2004 tournament on a string of lucky goals which allowed them to play out a dirty and unspectacular game.  But against the speedy Koreans, they just didn't have a chance. By the end of the second half you could see how frustrated Gekas was becoming, having never received a good through-ball from the midfield which topped the list as the biggest under-performers.

For South Korea, their defense pleasantly surprised me. The couple of times Greece was able to mount an attack, the Koreans easily parried it away. What they most need to work on is getting their shots on target. They had plenty of clear goal scoring opportunities that simply didn't trouble the European keeper. If they hope to take on a solid Argentinian force, and a strong Nigerian team, then they will need to finish these chances.

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