Now, I will tell you this for nothing – I know very little about this team, bar the odd few who play in Europe. A little research does the world of good though. Korea are an ultra-drilled team, often defensive. They have some great talent, such as Son (Leverkusen) and Park Chu-Young (Arsenal). With Russia, Algeria and Belgium in their group – they will be hard pushed to qualify, but should Russia slip, they have hope, as they should defeat Algeria. Here is their Squad:
GK’s: Jung Sung-ryeong, Kim Seung-gyu, Lee Bum-Young
DF’s: Kim Jin-soo, Yun Suk-young, Kim Young-kwon, Hwang Seok-ho, Hong Jeong-hu, Kwak Tae-hwi, Lee Yong, Kim Chang-soo
MF’s: Ki Seung-yueng, Ha Dae-sung, Han Kook-young, Park Jung-woo, Son Heung-min, Kim Bo-kyung, Lee Chung-yong, Ji Dong-won
FW’s: Koo Ja-cheol, Lee Keun-ho, Park Chu-young, Kim Shin-wook
Coach: Hong Myung-bo
Despite being a hot favourite to qualify, they struggled a little. They came 1st in the 3rd Round of Qualifying (after all the smaller nations had been whittled down), winning 4 of 6 games. In the 4th round, they finished 2nd, but only qualified automatically on goal difference – Uzbekistan were just one goal behind them!
Ones to Watch:
Son Hueng-min – the Leverkusen man is a top talent, making the move there last summer for nearly £10m. He can play as a striker or on either wing, but we expect to see him on the wing, rather than up front. Possibly the next Kagawa, if he keeps up the progress he is making!
Park Chu-Young – This man was tearing it up in the French League, before his move to Arsenal, which has not worked out very well. He has found himself either in the reserves or loaned out, not great for his career. Still a good goalscorer when presented with the chances, and one to keep an eye on in Brazil.
Ki Seung-Yeung – At Celtic, he looked a star. At Swansea, he did well, but now at Sunderland on loan he is looking rather average, but given how the whole team is playing its hardly a statement on his talents. He sits in front of the back 4, and likes to play it about a bit. For us, if Korea are to do well, he will need to perform.
(4-2-3-1): Jung Sung-ryeong, Lee Yong, Hong Jeong-hu, Kim Young-kwon, Yun Suk-young, Ki Seung-yueng, Han Kook-young, Lee Chung-yong, Koo Ja-cheol, Son Hueng-min, Park Chu-young.
There was a lot of copying and pasting there…
A good lineup, with some attacking talent there. It is more a team than a group of individuals – there are no stand-out star players, just a side that work hard together. They reached the Quarters or Semi’s in 2002 or 2006 if I remember correctly, but I can’t see it happening again to be fair.
Winner – 250/1
Group Winner – 8/1
To Qualify – 13/8
Finish Bottom – 9/4
Stage of Elimination: Groups – 4/11
Under 3.5 Points – Evens
For me the last two are particularly good odds – I can really see them going out early, but on goal difference. Algeria have a good team, as do Russia – everyone is expecting Belgium to romp this group, and I am with them. The rest could have as little as 3/4 points apiece. At best I can see Korea beating Algeria and losing to Russia and Belgium, but even then I fancy Algeria to take a point from them too. Our Top Tip is South Korea Under 3.5 Group Points at Evens!