Updated June. 28, 2014 06:25
There was no miracle.
The Korean national soccer team that aimed to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in a World Cup held overseas, even failed to advance to the round of 16 best teams, and has been prematurely prequalified at this years event in Brazil. Korea lost 0-1 to Belgium, which had one of its members ruled off to have 10 players on the ground, at the final third match of Group H at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo on Friday.
With one draw and two losses (one point) in the group league, Korea failed to advance to the second round of the best 16, ranking last among the four countries in Group H. It is the first time in 16 years after the 1998 World Cup in France (one win and two losses) that Korea has no single win in a World Cup finals event.
Korea lacked everything, including experience, personal skills and performance, and time for preparation for the event. The average age of the teams players is 25.9 years, the youngest ever for the Korean World Cup teams. Of the 23 players in the final roster for the World Cup, only five including goalie Chung Sung-ryong had prior experience in a World Cup. Even when Korea was chaotically struggling after allowing three goals in the first half in the second Group H match against Algeria, there was no highly experienced player leading the team in the field. The Korean team was far inferior to the rival teams not only in teamwork but also in individual performance and skills. Korean players lacked the capacity to outmaneuver a rival teams players through one-on-one encounters, and failed to display superiority in speed and physical stamina, which had been considered strength of Korean soccer.
Han Kook-young said, The biggest difference was individual players performance and the ability to score goals. Ki Sung-yueng also said, We lacked the capability to break through rival players. Players must improve their individual skills at their own (professional) teams. Another factor for the failure is the fact that Coach Hong Myung-bo had just one year to train his team members, after taking over the teams leadership from Coach Choi Kang-hee in June last year, when the final round of the Asian qualifying matches for the World Cup ended. Coach Hong, who lacked time to prepare for this years event, formed his team with young players he had coached for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China and the Summer Olympics in London, in a bid to elevate the completeness of the teams tactics in a short period of time. This decision eventually resulted in lack of experience among the teams players. Koo Ja-cheol said, If players had a longer time to play together from the (regional) qualifying matches, we surely would have been able to forge stronger teamwork.
Meanwhile, as Korea lost to Belgium on the day, the four teams of the Asian quarter that played in this years World Cup finals, namely Japan and Iran (1 draw and two losses each), and Australia (3 losses), all have failed to secure single win, and prematurely finished the event.