Following North Korea’s 5:2 defeat against Syria provided a ray of hope for India to get their 2nd win under Igor Stimac & really make a mark against the Koreans with a win.
This could have been the game where India could show the world, they can also play the possession game with scoring beautiful goals & keeping the back door shut.
We might have seen glimpses of the former with technically sound players getting the nod but playing the possession game requires being as good as, when in possession & when you don’t have the ball.
With Igor Stimac insisting on Intercontinental Cup being an experimentation period for the World cup qualifiers later, much has to been how his team maintains a balance between Attack & Défense when the time comes.
How India played a game of Two halves?
First Half: India 0:3 North Korea
India conceded pockets of spaces in front of the defensive line time & time again with Rowlin Borges & Manvir Singh being caught out of position in 1st half
When out of possession India were set up in a 4-4-1-1 with a lone striker, Korea could pass by the 1st line of defence with ease & with player in behind of striker were instructed to mark the play maker
India 0:2 North Korea
North Korea did well to draw Indian players out of players by passing in front of their 2nd line of defence, to which Indian players reacted by moving forward breaking their midfield line creating pockets of spaces in behind
And Coordination between the defensive & midfield line can also be questioned, if midfielders were to press in medium block, defenders should move up to cover space.
Second Half: India 1:3 North Korea
In the 2nd half, India much better defensively & with the introduction of L. Changte & U. Singh, India could press high with their pace & in attack both were a real threat.
In the 2nd half, India had a clear plan on how to attack & defend.
In Possession, they looked to exploit Changte’s & Udanta’s pace to stretch the opposition & creating space for players like Sahal & Anirudh Thapa, who could make a pass or could get in the box.
And When out of possession, defenders were instructed to defend narrowly & coordination between the 2 defensive lines was visible.
When the midfield & attacking players went to press high, defensive line positioned themselves in the high block to avoid conceding space in front.
At the same when attackers & midfielders looked to sit off, they made sure to block passing lane for Korean defenders & playmakers, who were forced into making mistakes.
India 2:4 North Korea
Though India is still a work in progress, but team has started to show glimpses of what is to come in terms of style of play, a more attacking approach towards playing the game & the type of players to be used going forward.
Having said that the coach still needs to find the right balance between attack & defence and most importantly how keep the back door shut.
Article by our football Analyst – Raunak Jolly.