|South Korean captain Son Heung-min suffers after a body contact with Brazilian defense during a friendly match at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, Nov. 19. Yonhap|
South Korea played a supporting role in an entertaining football show put on by Brazil in their men's football friendly match in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, while getting a closer look at the kind of football they should aspire to.
Brazil enjoyed a convincing, 3-0 victory at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, performing with the kind of offensive efficiency and flair that continues to define Brazilian football.
The first goal, scored on a diving header by Lucas Paqueta, was the result of a textbook passing play. Philippe Coutinho pulled off a nifty move to find space past Ju Se-jong and fed the ball to his left to Renan Lodi, who crossed for Paqueta as he dove for the ball just ahead of defender Kim Jin-su.
All match long, the Brazilian attackers had little trouble finding seams for their passes. And they made those passes with purpose.
At the other end, the South Koreans weren't nearly as sharp with their short, quick passes, and the team often had to rely on individual skills of stalwarts like Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan to generate chances.
Those were few and far between. Son had an open look at the net in the 15th minute but shot right at goalkeeper Alisson, and that proved to be the theme of the day for South Korea ― shooting directly at Alisson and not really testing the Liverpool custodian.
|South Korean team's head coach Paulo Bento, left, and Brazilian head coach Tite watch the two countries' friendly at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, Nov. 19. Yonhap|
No football fan ever tunes in to watch Brazil play defense but the defenders did a solid job keeping South Korea off the board.
Son attracted multiple defenders and hard challenges nearly every time he touched the ball. And Son didn't get much help from his supporting crew, either.
It was strangely fitting that South Korea's best chance at scoring came from a foot of a Brazilian player. Late in the first half, Alisson made a stop on Jung Woo-young's free kick but let the rebound roll out toward the front of the net. Philippe Coutinho, who'd scored minutes earlier, kicked it right off the goal post. He got his own rebound and put it out of the danger zone on his second attempt.
South Korea put on some offensive pressure early in the second half but nothing came out of it. And after Danilo put Brazil up 3-0 with a mid-range strike, both Kim Jin-su and Son Heung-min fired shots right at Alisson.
The lack of offensive punch is a real source of concern now for South Korea, who have gone three straight matches without putting one into the opposite net.
While getting shut out by a giant like Brazil could be forgiven, South Korea drew blanks against Lebanon and North Korea, two major underdogs who were happy to get away with scoreless draws against South Korea in their World Cup qualifying matches.
This is the longest goalless drought for South Korea in six years. (Yonhap)