Why Korea Men’s National Football Team lose 3:2 to Mexico

Jaeho Park, Sport correspondent

A Korean player Jae-sung Lee (Holstein Kiel) on right side is fighting for the ball against a Mexican player on left side. Korea has lost to Mexico, struggling under the Mexico’s pressure. (Credit: Korea Football Association)

Korea men’s national football team lost to Mexico by 3:2 in an international friendly match held in Austria on November 15th (Korean time),. 6 Korean players were not able to participate in the game because they tested positive for Covid-19.

A day before the game, on November 14th (Korean time), 4 players (Chang-hoon Kwon, Dong-jun Lee, Hyun-woo Cho, and In-beom Hwang) and a staff member tested positive for Covid-19. Hence, it was uncertain if the game would be conducted or not.

Nevertheless, after the re-test, the game had been conducted as scheduled. In the re-test, 2 players, Moon-hwan Kim and Sang-ho Na were added to the list tested positive for Covid-19, so a total of 6 Korean players couldn’t play in the game.

Due to the loss of 6 players including some main players, the Korea team lost power and changed some members suddenly. Korea revealed the problems in the build-up and made a lot of mistakes.

Woo-young Jung (Al-Sadd SC), a sub-captain of the Korea team said, “It is true that players gathered after a year, and the composition of players has changed for one reason or another,” “The defense lasted well by the first half, but we showed poor performance in the build-up from the back that we had trained, and there were many mistakes in the details.”

Paulu Bento, a manager of Korea men’s national football team, also expressed his regret for the build-up, “We lost the ball a lot of times when building up aggressively from our side,” “When we counter-attack after blocking the attack, we gave the possession to Mexico, making dangerous situations ourselves.”

In the 20th minute, Korea was ahead of the game making the first goal by Eui-jo Hwang (FC Girondins de Bordeaux). Heung-min Son (Tottenham Hotspur FC) sent a perfect cross from the left side and Hwang volleyed the cross and scored. 

However, Mexico kept pressing hard and made Korea commit the mistakes, and finally turned the game around. Unfortunately, in the second half, Korea gave three goals to Mexico in 3 minutes, from 67th to 70th minute. 

Although Korea made a goal in the 87th minute, the game finished with a score of 3:2. All three goals of Mexico were caused by the mistakes of Korean players when they build up. 

Woo-young Jung (Al-Sadd SC) interviewed, “The crisis in the first half was well over, but his concentration collapsed in the second half of the second half,” “All the defenders, including me, feel responsible because soccer is a team sport,” “It’s not a personal mistake, but a mistake by the defense, and at the most, the entire team.”

Heung-min Son (Tottenham Hotspur FC), a captain of the Korea team told, “If the opposing players scored a goal with a good play, we could clap, but it seems that we showed ourselves by making a lot of mistakes,” “I think we should pay more attention to this and develop more.”

He added, “Losing a game is always too painful and bitter, and it seems even more painful because Mexico gave us a defeat in the last World Cup in Russia,” “I think it was a game that we felt a lot of things to be improved.”

Even if the Korea team lost its original strength due to the loss of some main players, it seems that it was a lack of training for the build-up. Furthermore, Korean players showed a number of mistakes maybe due to the confusion for the Covid-19 infection and change of members. 

Meanwhile, Korea is having another international friendly match with Qatar at 10 pm on November 17th (Korean time). One more staff member tested positive, so Korea men’s national team has a total of 8 people (6players and 2 staff members) who tested positive for Covid-19. The game with Qatar seems to be held as plan