South Korea v Belgium - Expert v Expert Preview


Belgium have already qualified and go into this final Group H match looking to secure the point they need to be sure of topping Group H. South Korea have only one point and need to win to be in with a chance of qualification. Experts John Duerden  and John Chapman  go head-to-head for this one.

TEAM NEWS

John Duerden on South Korea: Korea started unchanged for Algeria and despite the defeat, there are unlikely to be too many changes. Park Chu-young’s starting spot as the lone striker is under threat, perhaps from Kim Shin-wook, who caused some problems as second half substitute against Algeria. It is also possible that a 4-2-3-1 that has not really worked, could be tweaked to give the team more defensive stability. Still, coach Hong is likely to be loyal to most of the players to play so far.

John Chapman on Belgium: Marc Wilmots will make changes as the team has qualified.  Toby Alderweireld and Axel Witsel will not play, as they have had yellow cards, to avoid possible suspension in last 16. Eden Hazard and either Vincent Kompany or Daniel Van Buyten are also likely to be benched. Probable replacements: Anthony Vanden Borre, Nic Lombaerts, Steven Defour and Kevin Mirallas. Divock Origi fancied to lead the attack and Moussa Dembélé may have a run in midfield.

FORM

John Duerden:The defeat by Algeria made it five from the last seven but it was obviously the most painful. Korea started tentatively but Algeria were the complete opposite and pushed the Asian team aside. The midfield couldn’t get the ball and couldn’t protect a defence that really needed protection. The central defenders struggled to cope with the pace and power of the North Africans. The goalkeeper didn’t inspire confidence and the forwards, apart from the impressive Son Heung-min, were just not involved in the game until it was too late. There is a determination to try and put things right in this game and at the very least, there should be some kind of improvement.

John Chapman: After looking good for the last 20 minutes against Algeria, Belgium were only effective in the final 10 minutes when Russia were the opposition. On the positive side, both games were won. While Wilmots is still searching for an effective midfield, the game against South Korea might give Belgium a chance to counter-attack as their opponents will need to score several times to have any chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages. Ignoring friendlies, Belgium have now played 12 successive games without defeat.  

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS

South Korea’s Hong Myung-bo: “We know what we have to do and that is win. We have been working hard in training and are ready to put the Algeria game behind us. We know thast Belgium are a strong team but we are confident that we can play our game.”

Belgium’s Marc Wilmots: “We want to win the third game and we have no interest in possible calculations as to who we might play in the last 16.”

KEY MAN

Son Heung-min was the best performer in the Algeria defeat and caused the Africans a number of problems in the second half. He was also lively in the opener with Russia. With Belgium weak at full-back positions, the Bayer Leverkusen man has the ability to cause some serious problems especially if Lee Chung-yong on the opposite flank can improve.

Divock Origi has never started a game for Belgium and this may be the time he gets the opportunity. He has replaced the disappointing Romelu Lukaku in the first tow group games and he grabbed the winner against Russia after a superb run by Eden Hazard. Origi is quick and he can play across the line – a good performance here could put him in line to be in the starting line-up  in the knock-out stages. 

BEST BET

Should be goals, four at least. Korea need to win but are vulnerable at the back. Belgium can play without pressure and will surely enjoy the space available. Back over 3.5 goals at 3.50.

I’m going for Origi to score in the first half at 7.50 and in the game at 3.55. Alternatively, there’s Mirallas at 3.10 to score in the game. Both players will be keen to get on the score sheet. There could be a lot of goals so try Over 3.5 at 3.50.

SCORE PREDICTION

South Korea 2-2 Belgium at odds of 14.00

South Korea 1-3 Belgium at odds of 14.00