Klinsmann successfully achieved his first win in 6 games and 7 months.
Korea, led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany, 59), won 1-0 in an international match against fellow Asian country Saudi Arabia held at St. James Park in Newcastle, England, at 1:30 a.m. on the 13th (Korean time).
As a result, Coach Klinsmann recorded his first win against Saudi Arabia after being sluggish with 3 draws and 2 losses in 5 A matches since taking office in February. Korea, ranked 28th in the FIFA rankings, drew 2-2 with Colombia and lost 1-2 to Uruguay in the A match last March. In June, they lost 0-1 to Peru and drew 1-1 with El Salvador. On the 8th, in the match against Wales, ranked 35th in FIFA, which is lower than Korea, the team ended up with a 0-0 draw, being outshot by 4 to 11. Klinsmann was the first coach without a win in five games since the full-time manager system was introduced in 1992.
Saudi Arabia is a weak team ranked 54th in the FIFA rankings, and is mired in 6 consecutive losses due to the loss to Korea. This is a team that is evaluated as being objectively inferior in power compared to Korea. Still, Korea’s victory this time seems meaningful. Coach Klinsmann had been pushed to the brink due to various controversies, including poor performance and frequent outings, but he quickly extinguished the fire by catching Saudi Arabia. The relative record between Korea and Saudi Arabia was 5 wins, 7 draws, and 6 losses.
On this day, Coach Klinsmann brought out the 4-4-2 formation. ‘Captain’ Son Heung-min (Tottenham) and Cho Gyu-seong (Midtjylland) stepped up as the top two, followed by Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), Hwang In-beom (Zvezda), Park Yong-woo (Al Ain), and Lee Jae-seong (Mainz). The back four was Lee Ki-je (Suwon Samsung), Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), Jeong Seung-hyun, and Seol Young-woo (Ulsan Hyundai), and the goalkeeper was Kim Seung-gyu (Al-Shabab). Compared to the last Wales game, only one position changed. Hwang Hee-chan got a chance to be selected in place of Hong Hyun-seok (KAA Gent), who joined the Asian Games national team.
In the 9th minute of the first half, Korea created a good chance by using a set piece that caught the opponent off guard. In a free kick opportunity from the right side, Son Heung-min passed a ground ball rather than a cross. Lee Ki-je, who was away from the opposing defense, fired a sharp left-footed shot, but missed the goal. Korea overcame the crisis of conceding a goal in the 18th minute of the first half. Saudi Alhamdan’s shot hit the defense and went over the goal.
안전놀이터Korea’s crisis continued. In the 26th minute of the first half, Korea lost the ball in its own half. They then allowed the opponent a 1-on-1 chance, but goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu narrowed the angle well and made a super save.
Rather, Korea, which had overcome successive crises, scored the first goal in the 32nd minute of the first half. It was a lucky goal. The opposing defense was able to clear Jae-seong Lee’s pass, soaring high, it connected to Gyu-seong Cho, who was in the penalty box. The Saudi goalkeeper jumped out to block it. Then, Cho Gyu-seong shot a header toward the left goal and succeeded in scoring. Cho Gyu-seong succeeded in scoring in eight games after scoring multiple goals against Ghana in the second round of the group stage at the Qatar World Cup last year.
Korea took the lead in the 35th minute of the first half, when Son Heung-min took advantage of an opponent’s defensive mistake and had a decisive goal opportunity. At this time, a rough tackle came from the opponent. Son Heung-min fell hard. It was inside the penalty box, and the opponent’s tackle touched Son Heung-min’s ankle, not the ball. It was a penalty kick situation, but the referee declared no foul.
Korea, which was ahead 1-0 in the second half, tried to keep the momentum going with Kim Min-jae’s impeccable defense and active defense. In the 10th minute of the second half, Hwang Hee-chan attempted a shot after making a bold breakthrough, but was disappointed by the goalkeeper’s save.
There was also a crisis. In the 17th minute of the second half, the opponent shook the net. Fortunately, offside was declared first and it was not recognized as a goal. Afterwards, Korea brought in Moon Seon-min (Jeonbuk Hyundai) and Hwang Ui-jo (Norwich City) to change the attack. In the 27th minute of the second half, Kim Min-jae blocked the opponent’s attack with calm play and solid physicality.
Saudi Arabia’s attack was fierce until the end. There were also disturbing scenes. In the 42nd minute of the second half, Korean center back Jeong Seung-hyun cleared the ball into the net next to the Korean goal. However, Korea maintained concentration until the end and maintained a one-goal lead. Monster defender Kim Min-jae played a fighting defense by following the opponent’s attack until the end and blocking it. In the end, Korea won 1-0. On this day, Korea was ahead 19 to 7 in total shooting. However, ball possession was pushed down to 47%.