Three quick thoughts: South Korea-Greece
Three quick thoughts after South Korea cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Greece in Group B:
1. Height isn't everything. Before the game, a lot of emphasis had been placed on the physical advantage Greece had over South Korea, with the expectation that the bigger, taller Greeks would dominate in the air and on set pieces. However, South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo had dismissed it as a factor. "If height were the main factor, we would have to have all basketball players,'' said Huh to media before the game. "We are fully prepared. There is a risk, but we have our strong points.'' As it turns out, Huh was proven correct. The Greeks had 11 corners and various set-piece deliveries into the box, but all were dealt comfortably by the positionally-sound Koreans. Undeterred, Greece coach Otto Rehhagel was seemingly determined to stick with his long-ball aerial strategy, replacing the plodding Angelos Christeas at forward with the equally plodding Pantelis Kapetanos (both 6-foot-3), yet neither had an impact.
2. South Korea impressed. All throughout the game, the Korean counterattack shredded the Greek midfield and defense with its fluid and incisive passing -- coupled with the speed and intelligent movement of mobile attackers such as Park Ji-sung, Lee Chung-yong and Park Chu-young. Anchored by the impressive distribution of central midfielder Ki Sung-yeung, the Koreans look like they'll be more than a handful for their Group B rivals and a good bet to advance. If there's a potential weakness, it could be in central defense where it looks like the injured Kwak Tae-hwi is missed.
3. More World Cup misery for Greece. In its first-ever World Cup appearance in 1994, to say Greece was terrible would be an understatement. It lost all three games, conceding 10 goals and failing to score in the process. 2010 looks like déjà vu so far -- the Greeks were technically poor throughout, lacked any imagination in the final third (they had only 1 shot on goal in the first 67 minutes) and their traditionally stout defense failed them with central defender Loukas Vyntra in particular having a shocker. With only eight percent of teams in the last three World Cups that lost their opening group game progressing to the next round, the odds are already stacked against Rehhagel's men. However, more damning is the lack of quality Greece displayed on the field. Rehhagel simply must give more playing time to Greek starlet Sotiris Ninis.
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