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Ji-Sung Park Tames Socceroos


Australia’s remarkable run of results has come crashing to a halt at the Seoul World Cup Stadium as Korea downed the Socceroos 3-1  tonight in an International Friendly. With both teams safely through to the World Cup Finals as top of their Asian qualifying groups, this was a chance for both managers to test some new players, and Aussie coach Pim Verbeek rang in the changes in what was a homecoming for him, as he coached South Korea before taking the Australian job.

Australia’s new look back four were rattled by two early goals, both defensive mistakes, as first a stray Jason Culina pass was intercepted on the half way line, followed by a quick Korean breakaway as Park Chu Young put the first past Mark Schwarzer, and shortly afterwards, a free kick to the back post saw a goalmouth scramble and an uncontested backheel  flick by Lee Jung Soo give Korea a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

At this stage Australia were under all sorts of pressure and could have conceded several more goals before pulling one back off a set piece, as a Bresciano free kick was headed home by Leeds United defender Pat Kisnorbo to bring the Socceroos back into the game. From that moment forth, Australia regained their composure and were able to eventually enjoy periods of dominance over Korea, with Josh Kennedy coming close with a number of headers, using his height to first narrowly miss, and eventually hitting the post.

It was the Manchester United midfielder Ji-sung Park however who was at the centre of everything good Korea was doing, and ultimately it was he that killed the game off towards the end of the second half, as he picked up the ball near the half way line, and dribbled around Australia’s midfield enforcer Vince Grella, down the touchline beating two more players with an explosion of speed, finally able to produce a pinpoint cross for Ki Sung Yueng to nod home. Park’s inclusion by Sir Alex Ferguson in big matches has often been a talking point amongst pundits and fans, but Australians will not be amongst those that question the great manager after this display, culminating in a demonstration of power and skill that has rarely  been inflicted on a side that has risen to an all time high of 14 in the world this week.

Korea’s unbeaten run now stretches to 25 games, and they will be heading to the World Cup full of confidence. For Australia, there were positives after the slow start, and the introduction of Nicky Carle on the hour mark made a difference to the creativity levels and energy in the side, but they will be a different team when the absent Kewell, Cahill, Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton return. Their next match is a friendly with the Netherlands on October 11 at the Sydney Football Stadium.

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  1. Balkanghost

    September 7, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Don’t panic! More like the Australia 1A team, and chance to see how some of the Australasian based and other fringe players could perform against a very good team in South Korea, i.e. back four dropped in at the deep end…..

    Several Australasian (& European) based players (who have been round the traps for sometime) may have helped Verbeek make a judgement as to whether they have chance to make WC squad, versus younger &/or better players with (higher league) European and UK clubs, who have time still.

    These same European based players training under more intense and professional regimes (which Verbeek talks about vs Oz) could reserve places by performing at club level during season (i.e. not required to prove themselves in short term friendlies in Australasia), e.g. Ruskavaya, Carney, Holland in Dutch League, Valeri @ Grossetto/Serie B, Jedinak & Troisi in Turkey, Spiranovic, Vidosic & Cetevski Bundesliga etc. etc.

  2. robby

    September 7, 2009 at 4:33 am

    Korea did not have a chance to field their B or C players because the K-league blocked KFA. So Korea had to field their other players…..Aussies knew this and they thought they could get away with fielding poor players. Obviously the result was correct. Even if the Aussies fielded their full strength, I think they would have a hard time.

  3. mintox

    September 7, 2009 at 2:17 am

    I’m an Aussie and I think that the defence and concentration levels shown by the Socceroos was poor in the first half, I don’t buy the excuse that we were playing our C-list team especially considering that players like Holman, Culina, Kennedy, McDonald, Bresciano and Schwarzer were playin.

    South Korea showed us nothing that we didn’t know before, they are sharp, technically excellent and well drilled and finally in Ji Sung Park they have a superstar player.

    The Socceroos seemed to have a complete lack of belief in their own game in the first half, giving the ball away cheaply and making the most basic of errors when not under any pressure. 2 of the goals were the result of poor passes when we were comfortably in posession.

    There is no shame in winning if the Socceroos go on and learn from it and quite simply the lesson is that Shane Steffanuto and Patrick Kisnorbo should never turn out for the team ever again.

  4. Cam

    September 7, 2009 at 2:04 am

    I’m an Aussie and I accept it, I will just say the result won’t be the same next time our FULL STRENGTH side plays. To “Simply John” It’s called a FRIENDLY for a reason! So you don’t have to use your best players and you can give the fringe players a chance to prove themselves! I remember the game where England fielded their strongest 11 in a friendly vs Australia and got punished in the first half 2-0. Second half all the youngsters came on and held the second half at 1-1. You have to remember that the depth of talent in comparison to the likes of England, Spain, Italy and even South Korea is pretty much non-existent and quite obviously no where near as good!
    Fat Cat, you are a douche. Verbeek isn’t a bad manager for a team like Australia and has proved he can make football in Australia bigger. We have never been at number 14 in the world until now, which is a huge achievement in itself. Australia is only just starting to accept football at a national level and will take many more years to develop into a footballing nation. You sound like you have no idea about Football in Australia and your quote about how Verbeek is a clown makes no sense!!!

  5. Fat Cat

    September 6, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    South Korea is a strong side. Australia fielded such a weak team and they were rightfully punished.

    With this lost, the rest of the world will know what a clown Verbeek is.

  6. Dan

    September 6, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Less complaints ppl. Its just a game. You win some, you lose some – thats sport so accept it. Tip your hat to the winner. At least it was an exciting match.

  7. To John

    September 6, 2009 at 2:43 am

    You seem to be on every forum/comment in the world commenting on how the Socceroos were understrength. Get over it! Accept Korea is a strong side.

  8. Simply John

    September 5, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Well, John, you are missing the point here.
    What is the purpose to play C-stringer , at the first place? Bring out your A-list.
    Are they the same team that will play in the World Cup?

    Such excuses won’t make Oz the World Cup winner, will they?
    A lose is a lose. Period. Don’t be a bitter loser.

  9. John

    September 5, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Well considering Australia were missing 8/10 of our main Outfield players, i think we did ok. Instead we used C-stringers playing in very poor leagues. Korea had their full strength line-up that were playing together for years.

    Imagine England’s line up with No, Rooney, Terry, Gerrard, Lampard, Ashley Cole, Defoe , Emile and Barry.

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