Korea smashed 4-1 by Spain
By Kang Seung-woo
Korea’s footballers resembled their Spanish counterparts only to the degree that they all breathe oxygen and walk erect in a friendly, as the reigning European champions thrashed Korea 4-1 in Bern, Switzerland, on Thursday (KST).
Although the Taeguk Warriors, ranked 31st in the world by FIFA, survived a display of attacking brutality to finish the first half tied 1-1, the European heavyweights lived up to their reputation with three unanswered goals in the second half. Choi Kang-hee’s men will now need to pick themselves up before the final World Cup qualifying round begins next week with a trip to Qatar.
Adding this drubbing to the tally, Korea’s winless streak against Spain in international fixtures now stretches to five with two draws and three losses.
“It was a friendly that showed there is a large disparity between Korea and Spain,” Choi said after the match.
“There were some good plays and also some bad plays. We do not need to be disappointed with the result. During the remainder of the time (before the final qualifying round starts), we need to raise our game.”
Despite being all-square after 45 minutes, Vicente Del Bosque’s side was better than the score indicated.
They wasted no time getting on the scoreboard.
After Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso tested Korean goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon with a mid-range effort nine minutes into the match, Chelsea striker Fernando Torres headed home a perfectly-weighted cross by Benat Etxebarria with his back to goal in the 11th.
The defending World Cup champions then camped inside the Korean half and kept testing the debutant Kim with David Silva and Santi Cazorla both close to doubling the lead.
Korea, which had rarely entered Spanish territory, drew level just before the break, as former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Kim Do-heon fired home with a powerful drive.
Following the restart, Alonso scored from the spot in the 52nd, after handball by defender Cho Yong-hyung.
Cazorla and Alvaro Negredo also netted to seal a second-straight friendly win in Spain’s warm up for this summer’s European Championships. They defeated Serbia 2-0 on the weekend.
“Everything was positive,” Del Bosque told reporters.
“Nobody was injured and we accomplished all our goals. We faced an opponent who did not let us play well.”
Korea will now travel to Doha to face Qatar on June 9, while Spain will host China on Sunday in Seville.