“We would be hypocrites if we said that it was better for Neymar to play”, said, openly, Paulo Bento, in yesterday’s press conference.
It was clear that he wanted Brazil without its greatest talent.
But your team already understood very well what it should do.
“We can lose individual duels, but if we are better as a team and also competitive, we have every chance to come out with the victory.”
It was in this way that midfielder Sung, who plays for Holstein Kiel, in Germany, summarized South Korea’s expectations against Portugal in the last game of the group stage.
Sung was premonitory. Thanks to the dedication, the tactical strength of the team and the physical dedication of the players, the South Koreans surprised Cristiano Ronaldo’s team. And they won 2-1.
And they will meet today, at 4 pm (Brasília time), the Brazilian team.
Paulo Bento’s work is four and a half years old. With a hardworking, obedient generation, but lacking in talent.
The 5-1 defeat in the friendly against Brazil, in June, in Seoul, showed the coach what happens when his team decides to accept the challenge, facing a more capable opponent, with greater individual resources.
Paid the price for playing wide open. Despite the theoretical 4-1-4-1, his team was spaced out and, at a friendly pace, did not appeal for fouls. The result was a merciless rout.
This time, Bento guarantees that it will not be the same.
Even the Korean press that is here in Qatar believes that the only chance of a historic surprise at the 947 stadium, today, will be if the team assumes its competitive spirit, of extreme marking in the middle, and seeks counterattacks in speed.
Son Heung-Min, skilful and fast, star of the team, plays for Tottenham, Richarlison’s teammate, and his main characteristic is to attack on the left side, where he would clash with Militão. But Paulo Bento trained him on the left side where Brazil will have Danilo improvised. Which is always a risk.
Technically, as a whole, the South Korea team is weak. And Paulo Bento assumes that. The strength of the team lies in competitiveness, in filling spaces, in intensity, in compactness.
Paulo Bento assembles the team in the 4-1-3-2 system. But, against Brazil, the expectation is that his team will play in the 4-5-1. With a lot of delivery in the intermediaries, to avoid the exchange of passes and always have coverage, in case of dribbling by the Brazilians. Like Neymar, Vinicius Jr. and Raphinha.
South Koreans are not violent. But firm on the mark. It’s not because Neymar is coming from an injury that they’re going to spare him. But they shouldn’t do like Serbia, who took over the rotation of fouls in the Brazilian. There were nine, until, with a swollen ankle, he had to leave the match.
It is worth highlighting his unstable campaign for the eastern team in the Cup.
He drew 0-0 with Uruguay, in a game without emotions, played in midfield. It lost to Ghana 3-2, with its defense showing many flaws. And it was for an emotionally vibrant, unpredictable match. With attacks from both sides. Portugal, by Cristiano Ronaldo, was surprisingly beaten and qualified for the quarterfinals, ending Uruguay’s favoritism for second place in Group H.
“If we were to play a championship with many rounds against Brazil, they would always be ahead of us. In a single game, Brazil has many possibilities, but we also have more possibilities. We have nothing to lose”, was the sequence of reasoning by Paulo Bento that had the most repercussions in his press conference yesterday.
That is, the coach who managed to beat his own country knows that the chances are small, but the possibility of a feat exists. And the chance is today. Of making history.
He is not adept at individual tagging. He will assemble his team by scoring by sector. But strong, quite the opposite of what happened in Seoul. With the right to tactical fouls, that is, to “kill” the Brazilian counterattacks.
But it is worth analyzing that Korea conceded four goals from crosses in this World Cup. The team is positioned poorly in the aerial balls. There were two like that. And two of ground balls.
This is a mistake that Brazil can take advantage of.
He scored, however, four. Three crossing and one counterattack.
None of the ball worked, with exchange of passes.
A victory today would bring great repercussions. It would be the consecration of Paulo Bento’s work.
South Korea achieved its highest result in history, which was fourth place. After several disputed arbitrations at the time.
The eastern team can even lose, concede many goals, be eliminated.
But his stance will be very different from the one he was thrashed 5-1 in June…
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