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Hong: ‘Russia is team of passes, not of power’

Posted April. 15, 2014 05:25,   


“Russia is different from what we knew.”

National football team coach Hong Myung-bo is paying attention to change of Russia, the first team that the Korean team will face off at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. At a press meeting on Monday, Hong said, “I watched a Russia-Armenia match early last month. Unlike general perception, Russia is a team that often makes precision passes.” He thus indicates that when it comes to Russian football, people often recall Northern European or Eastern European style that banks on power and height, but the Russian team of today is not the case.

Due to such characteristics of the Russian team, Hong wishes to hold an exhibition game with a team that focuses on precision passes. The Korea Football Association has cancelled Korea’s planned final exhibition match against Ukraine, which it has been seeking to set up, and instead is coordinating to hold an exhibition match with Ghana in the U.S. on June 9, just prior to arriving in Brazil.

On this situation, Hong said, “I thought Ukraine would be similar to Russia, but in light of current situation, I think that an exhibition match versus Ghana, a team that displays good passing play, will be more helpful to us, than a game against Ukraine.” In addition, Hong is striving to analyze Russia’s capability. Hong said, “Ton du Chatinier, assistant coach from the Netherlands, almost perfectly analyzed Russia’s capability. He used the analysis system used in the Netherlands, and drafted an analysis report on Russian players’ moves by passing of time and other data, which amounts to dozens of pages,” in expressing sense of satisfaction.

Meanwhile, Hong said he will advance to around May 9 the scheduled announcement of the national team’s roster of 23 finalists, which he originally planned to release after holding an exhibition match against Tunisia on May 28. By confirming players’ positions early on, he will seek to increase the level of players’ concentration in training and psychological stability.

Hong said, “I have yet to confirm only two among the 23 players.” He is agonizing over selecting one more midfielder and defender each. Basically, he plans to select players who have capacity as multi-player, and deploy them to different positions according to needs. However, he expressed his intention not to make surprise choices, saying that whoever is picked, he will be among the players that have been discussed as candidates for the national team roster.

Park Chu-young (FC Watford of Britain), who recently suffered injury, will likely make the roster as long as there is no unexpected change. Hong said, “Park is recovering faster than expected. Recently, he has been going to hospital and rehabilitation center. This week, we will go to field and check whether he can join training.” Hong also said, “Time is too short for Park to go to England and come back (before the national team is assembled here). It is better for him to continue training in Korea.”

On the fierce race for the starting goalie post, in which Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan) and Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon) compete, Hong said, “I will wait and see several more matches before making decision.”