It’s friendly time again for Spain, as they face South Korea in Bern, Switzerland. What may seem like a meaningless game has plenty of motives. Spain having just named their European Championships squad, will be looking to take their preparation up a notch and several players will be looking to secure a starting berth before the tournament kicks off, with the high energy approach of the Koreans providing of the Koreans as a stern test of his squads reported fatigue issues. South Korea meanwhile, are using the game as preparation for their World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins soon against Qatar and Lebanon.
Spain will be set for heavy rotations in the game, as Del Bosque aims to get the players ready for the big tournament. Several debutants made an appearance in the win over Serbia, and they could feature again as the coach sees them as an integral part of Spain’s future. Isco and David de Gea have gone to Estonia with the U-21 team, while Cesc Fàbregas is out for 7-10 days with an injury which could also rule him out of the opening Euro 2012 game.
South Korea caused a shock when they dropped the Arsenal man Park Chu-Young, who has been involved in a scandal over his deferred his national service, which has reportedly created a rift in the Korean camp. European-based players Koo Ja-Cheol, Son Heung-Min and Ji Dong-Won are all in the squad though.
It was a lethargic performance from Spain against Serbia, especially so in the first half, before a few changes at the break brought about a new impetus to the team that went on to win 2-0, with David Silva and new-boys Adrián and Beñat providing the main sparks of life.
Before this game they ran out 5-0 winners over Venezuela in February, and only managed a draw against Costa Rica in November. The team are notoriously underwhelming in friendlies, so don’t expect too many fireworks here.
South Korea beat Uzbekistan in their last friendly, with a resounding 4-2 result. They might lack sharpness here, as they look to get into the mood for World Cup qualifying.
Main Man: Spain
Adrián is in fine form at the moment and managed a goal on his debut against Serbia. He’s a tough character in attack who never relents on his workload. He’ll be buzzing in and around the penalty area looking to create, but also feed off scraps. Given the talent in Spain’s midfield it’s expected he’ll have a few chances come his way too.
Main Man: South Korea
Sunderland’s Ji Dong-Won will be the man the Koreans look to as he spearheads the attack. He has 8 goals in 15 appearances for South Korea, not a bad record at all for the 21-year-old. Another lively player in the penalty area, he’ll be looking to poach and pounce upon any mistakes the nervy Spanish defence might make.
Painful memories here for Spain. In 2002 it was South Korea who knocked them out of the World Cup on penalties, a devastating blow for Spanish football which outraged the country due to questionable officiating. Another recent meeting was in 2010, when Jesús Navas, present in this current squad, struck the only goal in a Friendly game.
Goal scorer betting
With so many changes being made, it will be difficult for any player to get into the game easily but there are several options available. Adrián and Álvaro Negredo are certainly players to look at, while David Silva could also get in on the action with his midfield forays. Juan Mata and Fernando Torres are now with the squad, and they too are expected to get a run out. South Korea’s Lee Keun-Ho and Lee Dong-Gook are other attackers who have good records in front of goal, and along with Sunderland’s Jo Dong-Won will be the main threats.
Spain will as usual have the majority of possession with the lively Koreans looking to close players and the angles down. Spain’s quality in depth should prevail however, and they’re 1.30 for the win. Under 2.5 goals is a good value at 2.30.