Next Thursday, 26th June 2014 (1:00 PM Pacific), Korea Republic vs Belgium will be held at the Arena Corinthians in the beautiful São Paulo city on a match where the Asian team still deposits their hopes of grabbing a place at the Round of 16 stage of the tournament.
Korea’s preparation matches were something that the team and their supporters will certainly want to forget quickly. After an embarrassing 4-0 defeat against Ghana on their last preparation match before the World Cup, Korea started off the tournament on their right foot, forcing Russia to a 1-1 draw on their first group match.
Nevertheless, their joy didn’t last long since the Koreans were heavily defeated (4-2) by a solid Algerian side last Sunday. Korea’s past defensive mistakes transpired again as a consequence of the fast Algerian attacking football and not even the team’s good attacking movements were enough to compensate for such frailties.
Korea almost need a miracle to proceed to the next stage of the competition, since they would need to win Belgium and hope for Russia and Algeria to draw. Although the scenario might not be unrealistic, the team’s goal difference (-2) will surely pose yet another complicated problem to solve, since they would need to win Belgium for a two or more goals’ margin and hope that the Russia vs Algeria’s match ends up in a goalless draw, for example.
For the match against Belgium, Korea’s head coach Hong Myung-bo will certainly keep pushing with his usual 4-4-1-1 and hope to surprise the central European team with fast counter-attacks conducted by Koo, Sun, and Lee, who are usually the team’s more attacking-prone players.
As for Belgium, the match against the Korean tigers will probably only serve them to confirm their lead at the top of Group H.
After a somewhat slow start against Algeria, during which the Belgians suffered several difficulties in defeating a fairly competent Vahid Halilhodzic’s side, Belgium managed to overcome Russia by a lonely goal on their last Sunday’s clash. Although their performance remained miles away from some they displayed not long ago, Belgium grabbed the three points and booked their ticket to the next stage of the competition at the expenses of a very disappointing Russian side.
For the match against Korea, the Belgium’s head coach Marc Wilmots will probably promote some changes in his team in order to rest some players and offer some game time to quality players such as Defour, Lombaerts, and Januzaj, just to name a few.
Korea Republic (4-4-1-1) – Jung – Lee – Kim – Hong – Yun – Lee Yong – Ki – Han – Koo Ja-Cheol – Son Heung-Min – Park
Belgium (4-3-3) – Courtois – Alderweireld – Kompany – Lombaerts – Vertonghen – Defour – Dembele – Fellaini – Januzaj – Mirallas – Origi
Korea Republic vs Belgium Prediction
Although Korea are in need for points, Belgium are to be considered firm favourites for next Thursday’s match and they should not experience any major difficulties to overcome a frail Asian side. This being said, the most likely outcome is a comfortable Belgium win.
Korea Repbulic 2 – 0 Belgium
Korea Republic vs Belgium Television
The Korea Republic vs Belgium match will be televised in the USA on ESPN3 (stream) and Univision Deportes at 1:00 PM Pacific.