S. Korea's 3-man defence experiment backfires

SEOUL • South Korea were left with plenty to ponder ahead of this month's World Cup Finals after Edin Visca scored a hat-trick to give Bosnia and Herzegovina a 3-1 victory in a friendly match in Jeonju yesterday.

Crucially, coach Shin Tae Yong's experiment with an unconventional three-man defence backfired badly, and he will need to find a quick solution in the next two friendlies before heading to Russia.

South Korea started the match with a 3-5-2 formation instead of the 4-4-2 line-up that beat Honduras 4-2 on Monday. But instead of forming his defence with all centre-backs, Shin opted to field midfielder Ki Sung Yueng at the heart of his backline with two less experienced defenders in Oh Ban Suk and Yun Young Sun.

It was Oh's second match for South Korea, while Yun was playing for his nation for only the fifth time.

Shin will cut three players from his squad before they head to Austria to make their final preparations for the Finals, where they face Sweden, Mexico and world champions Germany in Group F.

He told The Korea Herald that he will discuss the final roster cut with his coaching team and will announce the result today.

"It will depend on which formations or tactics that we will use at the World Cup," the 49-year-old, who took charge in June last year, said. "I have my thoughts on who should be cut from the list, but I have to listen to other coaches' opinions."

The Koreans had been hoping for a win in their final match on home soil before heading to Austria - where they will play Bolivia and Senegal - but lacked accuracy in attack and looked fragile with their three-man defence. Lee Jae Sung's goal was merely a consolation.

Australia, meanwhile, cruised to a 4-0 win against the Czech Republic yesterday, giving the Socceroos a much-needed confidence boost ahead of the World Cup.

Australia, heading to their fourth straight World Cup, won the match thanks to a brace from Mathew Leckie, a goal from Andrew Nabbout and an own goal from Jakub Jugas.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'S. Korea's 3-man defence experiment backfires'. Print Edition | Subscribe