Korea overcome Swiss

Korea overcome Swiss

By Victor Yun

Who was the genius at NBC that decided to put this game on tape delay?

Park Chu-young scored the opener for Korea

For those of you in America and missed the game, Korea and Switzerland played a very entertaining and physical match on Sunday, with Korea breaking their scoreless drought in quick fashion with goals from Park Chu-Young and Kim Bo-Kyung, to put themselves in firmly atop Group B with Mexico.

Switzerland, meanwhile, are not out of playoff contention, but now find themselves with a mountain to climb as they finish their group stage against Mexico. Missed it? Let’s recap:

So Aggressive: Wait, aren’t the Swiss pacifists? This match, which had 37 fouls, was physical from the start, and turned chippy at times, particularly when Ki Sung-Yeung got in the face of Michel Morganella and his mohawk after he fouled Kim Bo-Kyung. Ki’s turning out to be Korea’s physical team enforcer, which is pretty ironic since he’s also one of the favorites among the Korean fangirls. Pretty awesome.

Also, did anyone see Innocent Emeghara trying to roll Bo-Kyung off the pitch when he was clearly down and hurt on that play? Yes, his first name is really Innocent. One of the dirtiest players on the pitch is named Innocent. It’s almost too good to be true. But that’s just terrible. There’s no place in this sport for bush league things like that. He eventually earned himself a yellow card late in the game, one of six for the Swiss this game.

Gooooalll(ssss): After another first half of controlling possesion (61% time of possesion vs 39% for Switzerland) and midfield play but no score, Korea found themselves in a precarious position in the second half. And then the heavens opened. All three goals in the game occurred between the 57th and 64th minute.

Korea opened the scoring when they worked the ball up through midfield when Nam Tae-Hee ran down the right flank, crossed to the middle of the box to Park Chu-Young, who was able to slip behind his defender and score on a beautiful diving header. It’s a continual story of redemption for Park, and nothing helps more to win back the good graces of the Korean people than scoring goals.

Switzerland answered almost immediately, when Pajtim Kasami ran down to the box and fired a low shot on the left side that Jung Sung-Ryong had to save. But just when Korea breathed a sigh of relief from that save, Emeghara equalised on a virtually identical goal as Park’s header to level it at 1-1. Two moments of defensive lapses by the Korean defense, and the second one cost them.

No matter. Four minutes later Korea grabbed the lead for good when Koo Ja-Cheol’s cross was deflected but found Kim Bo-Kyung, who volleyed a laser off the air past Diego Benaglio to make it 2-1. A beautiful goal for Bo-Kyung, who’s set to move to Cardiff City this upcoming season. Great stuff.

Did Anyone Say Defense? One surprising aspect that’s emerged from this team is the play of the fullbacks, particularly Kim Chang-Soo and Yun Suk-Young. They’ve been successful in marking the opposition’s counter attacks and have shown they’re fully capable of overlapping the wingers when getting forward down the flanks. That, and the never-ending pressure put on by the entire team all game for 90 minutes. Seriously, how do these guys not tire? I bet Hong Myung-Bo makes them run all day long during practice. So not jealous.

Man Of The Match: To captain, Koo Ja-Cheol. He was literally everywhere this game, applying defensive pressure non-stop, and moving the offense with his passing and movement. He also hit the cross bar for the second straight game, which would have provided an insurance goal and added to Korea’s goal differential. The goals will eventually come. Great game for the captain.

Notes: Park Chu-Young got a yellow card in the 71th minute when Morganella thought it’d be a good time to fall down and fake a foul. Watch the replay, it’s pretty high comedy. Unless, of course, you’re Park Chu-Young. Korea and KFA should appeal that yellow card. Park wasn’t even close to touching Morganella.

No changes to the starting lineup to this game from the Mexico game. Hong utilized his substitutes earlier this time, putting in Baek Sung-Dong for Nam Tae-Hee and Ji Dong-Won for Park Chu-Young in the 61st and 73rd minute, respectively.

Korea is now tied for first in Group B, trailing Mexico on goal difference by one. They’re not out of the woods yet, though. Gabon will come out firing, as they trail the group with only one point total and are minus two in goal difference. Korea can still be eliminated from group play with certain permutations. As they say, one game at a time.

Korea’s final group play match is on August 1st @ 9am PST, 12pm EST, August 2nd @ 1AM Korea Time, and 2AM Australia Time. Recaps, as always, will be here as soon as the game ends.

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