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Hong Myung-Bo Vs. Brazil, Part 2
Korea to Host Brazil in Highly Anticipated Soccer Friendly on Saturday
The last time Hong Myung-Bo faced Brazil, one could certainly argue that the Korean skipper wasn’t all out to win, as he appeared to be gearing up for the next game, against Japan for the all-important bronze medal. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when he means it.
In one of the most highly anticipated soccer matches in Korea this year, Hong Myung-Bo’s squad will host the Five-time FIFA World Cup champion Brazil in an international friendly this Saturday. The match will take place in Seoul World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. KST (4 a.m. PST).
The Korea Football Association (KFA) is expecting to set a new attendance record at the 66,000-seat venue as Brazil showed up with its full-strength squad, including FC Barcelona star Neymar, 21. The record for the largest turnout at Seoul World Cup Stadium is 62,884, when Korea took on the Netherlands in June 2007.
This is the fifth meeting between the two countries. Brazil won three of the four earlier matches.On paper, the matchup doesn’t appear to be close. Brazil, currently eighth in the FIFA rankings, defeated world No. 1 Spain to claim the Confederations Cup in June and looks to be rounding into form as it prepares to host the World Cup next summer. The Koreans, on the other hand, have sunk to 58th and have managed just one win in the first six games with Hong Myung-Bo, a former national team captain, as the head coach.
Korea has summoned seven players from European leagues for this game. Winger Son Heung-min of Bayer Leverkusen of is one of four players from Germany’s Bundesliga and midfielder Ki Sung-yueng of Sunderland is among three English Premier Leaguers.
Hong Myung-Bo has already faced Neymar and Brazil while absorbing a 0-3 loss during the London Olympic semi-finals last year. However, with military exemptions for Korean players hinging on receiving at least bronze medal at the time, Hong chose to start players he had not used up to that point, during the semi-finals of all matches, and pulled key players soon after Brazil took a two-goal lead.
While one can’t argue with success, as Korea went on to defeat Japan to win their first ever Olympic bronze medal and relieved themselves of their military obligations, one can’t help but to imagine what would have happened had Hong laid it all out there to make it to the gold medal game, since Mexico, fortunate to draw with Korea earlier during the preliminary rounds, went on to defeat Brazil and win the gold medal.