Before the tournament, there was a question mark behind Kim Eun-jong-ho. The roster didn’t look very solid, and there was no superstar to lead the team. The myth of his brothers’ runner-up finish at the previous tournament four years earlier was also weighing heavily. The overall outlook was bleak.
The question marks gradually turned into exclamation points. The team responded with a 2-1 win over France in their first group game as favorites. The next opponent, Honduras, surprisingly struggled, but the team battled back to draw 2-2, and then drew 0-0 with Gambia in the final game to set up the tournament.
From the tournament, the ‘Sharp Magic’ was on full display. Coach Kim Eun-joong lived up to his nickname, dismantling opponents with “sharpness. In the round of 16 match against Ecuador, the team took a straightforward approach. Knowing that their opponents would be aggressive, they scored back-to-back goals midway through the first half with pure attack. As Ecuador began to chase, we scored on a set piece early in the second half. They held on for a 3-2 victory.
In the quarterfinals against Nigeria, Kim Eun-jung’s game plan was spot on, as he realized that his team was outclassed in speed and fitness and dropped his formation. The 4-5-1 system thickened the midfield and defense and forced the Nigerian attackers to the flanks, reducing their crossing accuracy. He converted a corner kick in the first half of extra time for a 1-0 victory.
It’s a testament to a well-prepared team that they can change their style completely in a tournament game. The elasticity of their formation allows them to change their tactics to suit their opponents. Along with the team tactics, Kim Eun-joong-ho also does a great job with partial tactics such as set offense. The reason why they are able to win even if their individual skills are somewhat inferior is because they are a team based on “Sharp Magic”. 안전놀이터
Their next opponent, Italy, is a team with a different style than their previous opponents. Don’t just think of the traditional Italian soccer colors, which are represented by the ‘combat defense’. The Azzurri have a lot of offensive firepower, with 11 goals in the tournament, the most of any of the four finalists. However, they rely heavily on Cesare Cassaday, who leads the team with six goals, and their flank defense is a weakness. Clearly, the odds are in Kim Eun-Joong’s favor. Let’s hope that Kim’s winning strategy on the new page of his ‘Sharp Notebook’ works this time.