FIFA U-17: Can the Spanish armada breach the North Korean defence?

Korea's lost two straight games but there's a method in its rugged and dogged defence, which has stifled rivals. The inviolable and indomitable spirit of back-line has also given the Koreans the opportunity to launch counterattacks. Can Spain disrupt their tactics?

Spain was in spectacular form, scoring four goals against Niger. Against the North Korean defence, it might be hard to repeat the performance.   -  H. VIBHU

Coaches keep their cards close to their chests but North Korean coach Kim Yong Su has nothing to hide. He keeps on harping that his team’s strength is in the defence and makes no bones of admitting it during his interaction with the media.

Korea's lost two straight games but there's a method in its rugged and dogged defence, which has stifled rivals. The inviolable and indomitable spirit of backline has also given the Koreans the opportunity to launch counterattacks. The Koreans stung like a bee on counterattacks in both the matches. But if it was bad luck against Niger in the first match, it was Brazilian goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao’s brilliance that denied goals the Koreans.

"The soul of our game is defence and we will continue to play like we did in the first two matches. We will make it as hard as possible for Spain and frustrate them and try to win," said Kim Yong Su.

The defensive style of North Korea may elicit a frown from purist but it found an admirer in Spanish coach Santiago Denia. The Spanish coach, after his team’s gruelling training session at the Maharaja’s College ground on Thursday, disagreed with the popular notion that North Koreans play an uninspiring and boring game. "I don’t think North Korea played defensively against Brazil. It is true their game is based on defence but they can easily change it into counterattack. They are dangerous side. But we will be ready for them," he said.

"We want to win the match against North Korea and qualify for the next stage. The win against Niger has given us the confidence and players are fit and keen for a win," he added.

The near perfect match against Niger and Abel Ruiz’s form are encouraging signs for coach Santi. But Santi said there is still room for improvement and his team will play attacking game against North Korea.

Guinea has come to the World Cup with little pretensions. The African country is teetering on the brink of elimination and only a win against heavyweight Germany can save it.

“I have told boys that only a win can help us to qualify and they should play well. The World Cup has been a great experience for the boys. It is learning process for them. We let in easy goals against our opponents. We will be aiming not to repeat the same mistakes and try hard for a win,” said Guinea coach Souleymane Camara.

Germany, whose reputation was torn to shreds by a brilliant Iran in Margao and which got a last gasp win against Costa Rica, will be looking for redemption against Guinea.

Though it needs only a draw to qualify, assuming Iran beats Costa Rica, the vibes from the German camp say that a win is a must to put the campaign on right track. However, the adaptability to the humid Koch weather and the slow turf will be things which the Germans should learn to do quickly on Friday.

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