In October’s A-Match, Jürgen Klinsmann’s skeleton was in place. It’s just a shame that he hasn’t been able to experiment with potential resources to add more flesh.
Klinsmann was able to build on the momentum from the two October trials. 메이저사이트The team won 4-0 against Tunisia in Seoul on the 13th and 6-0 against Vietnam in Suwon on the 17th. It was encouraging to see that the team not only scored multiple goals in both games, but also kept a clean sheet.
Klinsmann opted for stability over change in these two games. Compared to the Tunisia and Vietnam games, there were no changes except for Son Heung-min, who returned from injury, and goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo. Compared to the September A match against Saudi Arabia, there were only minor changes, with Hong Hyun-seok and Lee Kang-in replacing the injured Hwang In-beom and Son Heung-min.
As the team continued to play with the same starting lineup, the organization was tighter than before. As Lee Kang-in and Lee Jae-sung said, “We switched positions after discussing with each other during the game,” indicating that their understanding of each other had improved considerably. Tactically, the team also experimented with extreme attacking soccer against weaker teams, switching from a 4-2-3-1 against Tunisia to a 4-1-3-2 against Vietnam with a similar starting lineup.
The skeleton was certainly in place by the October A match. At a media conference on October 9, Klinsmann said, “Now it’s about how to build a team with continuity and continuity. We have about eight players who are the foundation. I don’t think it will change much.” The friendly gave us a chance to see which players, including Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in, and Kim Min-jae, were chosen as the backbone.
However, it was a disappointing trial as it didn’t provide enough information on the current performance of the non-bone players. It’s hard to say that Tunisia and Vietnam are superior to Korea. Tunisia is ranked 29th by FIFA, similar to Korea (26th), while Vietnam is ranked 95th. In terms of strength, Tunisia and Vietnam are not as strong as Korea, which has about half of its players in the European League. Plus, the two games were played in South Korea, giving them home field advantage.
The Vietnam game in particular should have been a good test for the non-starters, with plenty of rotation across all positions for the World Cup Second Round and Asian Cup. The Tunisia game was tied at 0-0 in the first half, so it was justified to use late substitutions, but the Vietnam game was 2-0 up in the first half and the performance was overwhelming, so early substitutions should have been made not only in defense but also in midfield and attack.
The decision to change the defense in the second half of the Vietnam game was a puzzling one. Klinsmann used the same lineup of Seol Young-woo, Jung Seung-hyun, Kim Min-jae, and Lee Ki-je in the first half against Vietnam, and then switched to Kim Tae-hwan, Kim Min-jae, Kim Young-kwon, and Kim Jin-soo at the start of the second half. The former was a common defensive combination under Klinsmann and the latter under his predecessor, Paulo Bento. In other words, it’s not something we need to see again.
We don’t know if Kim Min-jae and Kim Joo-sung are a good combination, or how Kim Tae-hwan or Kim Jin-soo would fit into Klinsmann’s defense, especially given that Seol Young-woo was exhausted from the September push and Lee Ki-jae wasn’t as good as he had been in the past, and the fullback experiment could have been tested by changing the starting lineup.
The decision to stick with Park Yong-woo as a defensive midfielder is also questionable. He could have added Jung Woo-young to the squad just in case, or tried out Lee Soon-min as a stopgap in practice. Klinsmann said after the Tunisia game that he was “very disappointed with Son’s absence,” so we can assume that Son is in Klinsmann’s plans, but it’s hard to see him returning at this point.
There was no need to play Vietnam vets Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in, and Hwang Hee-chan full-time. Regardless of their individual injuries, we had a big lead, so it was a good time to check out players like Moon Sun-min and Oh Hyun-kyu who could start against weaker teams. Rather than using four substitutions in defense, it would have been better to see if the offensive tactics could be successfully executed without the aforementioned key attackers.
Klinsmann emphasized continuity and continuity in his media conference, and he did indeed succeed in planting players in each position who are the backbone of the national team. But true continuity and continuity depends on the ability of the system to function without key players, and that’s why the A-Match was a good way to test the candidates in action. It wasn’t about breaking continuity by flipping the team, it was about having a pool of players that can maintain continuity when changes occur.