Klinsmann’s defense doesn’t seem to have any reason to worry because it has a ‘monster’.
The national team won a 4-0 friendly against Tunisia at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sept. 13.
Tunisia, an African powerhouse and a formidable opponent ranked 29th in the FIFA rankings, was unable to penetrate the Korean backline anchored by Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich). The offense looked weak, with few decent scoring chances over the 90 minutes.
In fact, Tunisia’s offensive lineup isn’t all that favorable. Right now, they have enough firepower to defeat Egypt 3-1 in September with Mohamed Salah starting. In that match, Manchester United’s highly touted youngster Hannibal Mebry started, and there were other quality players in the best 11, including Elias Achoury of Danish side Copenhagen.
It was going to be a tough game, but South Korea’s back line, led by Kim Min-jae, was strong. Kim boasts a large radius of action, covering more than just the left center of the field, and whenever he faced an opposing striker, he used his overwhelming man-to-man marking ability to prevent them from breaking through. The defense was unwavering throughout the 90 minutes. As usual, he was also responsible for creating chances with his precise and creative forward passes to the strikers. He was one of the best players of the match.메이저놀이터
Kim Min-jae’s presence was a breath of fresh air for the entire backline. Jung Seung-hyun (Ulsan Hyundai), who exposed his insecurities in September, kept pace with Kim and was a steady right-center defender. He made fewer mistakes and stuck to the basics to keep the Tunisian attackers at bay. Head coach Jürgen Klinsmann made a change from September, with Kim Min-jae moving to left center and Jung Seung-hyun replacing Kim Young-kwon (Ulsan Hyundai) at right center. The Kim-Min-Jae-Kim combination had been playing together for so long in the national team that the change was a concern. Jeong Seung-hyun has overcome his worries and is emerging as Kim’s new partner.
Lee Ki-je (Suwon Samsung), on the left, doesn’t have the speed or range, but he contributes throughout the attack with his steady defense and accurate kicks. On the right, Seol Young-woo (Ulsan Hyundai) also did a good job of providing energy.
In fact, it’s often said that the national team’s biggest weakness is its defense. The attacking line is led by Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), with the likes of Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) and Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), while the midfield also features quality Europeans such as Hwang In-beom (Tsubena Zbezda) and Lee Jae-sung (Mainz 05). However, the only European in the defense is Kim Min-jae. That’s a lot of weight to carry.
Despite the concerns, the national team managed to keep Tunisia scoreless. It was their third consecutive clean sheet in three A matches, following wins over Wales and Saudi Arabia in September.
In November, South Korea will begin World Cup qualifying. The following January, the team has the Asian Cup to look forward to. Stabilizing the defense during this time can have a positive impact on the entire team. Keeping a clean sheet against Vietnam on the 17th would give them the confidence to build a strong defense that hasn’t conceded a goal in four games.