The final set of FIFA World Cup 2014 group games is upon us—where on earth did the time go?
Here we analyse South Korea vs. Belgium, where the former need a victory and another result to go their way to qualify, whereas the latter are already through and look set to relent a little.
South Korea need a miracle here, as they've not looked even remotely capable of winning a game in their first two outings, and now they face Belgium—the group winners.
The one card in their favour is that the Red Devils have already qualified, but any fringe players coming in will be looking to impress Marc Wilmots and earn a place in the round of 16 XI all the same.
They could go unchanged due to a dearth of options, and their main threats will once again be wingers Son Heung-min and Lee Chung-yong.
Defensively, things have got to change.
"As a little boy I dreamed of playing in the Premier League, but I’m still young," Divock Origi told reporters (via The Metro) ahead of Belgium's final group clash.
Well, just a day later The Times (£) (subscription required) have confirmed Liverpool are in the running for him, and as he's expected to start the Red Devils' match vs. South Korea, he'll be under extra pressure to perform.
He represents one of a number of potential changes Wilmots can make given his team's safe status, and with Vincent Kompany out, per Kristof Terreur of Belgian newspaper HLN, a new-look defence will be in order as well as a much-changed attack.
Expect Origi, Anthony Vanden Borre, Steven Defour and possibly Nicolas Lombaerts to come in.
2 Tactical Clashes
1. Playing Through Them
Belgium have a nasty habit of trying to play slowly through teams in central zones.
An easy way to stop them is to clog the middle, and that's exactly what Algeria and Russia did in order to keep them at bay for so long.
Unfortunately for South Korea, they've looked at their most vulnerable when teams play the ball intricately into that area; the centre-backs have a habit of crossing their wires and deserting their positions unnecessarily.
So long as Belgium don't change their (usually foolhardy) approach, they can prosper here.
2. Full-Back Support?
It's intriguing to think what a bit of full-back support could do for this Belgium attack, and with the team safely through to the round of 16, it's the perfect chance to test it.
Should Anthony Vanden Borre—a more natural full-back capable on the flank—get a chance on the right, he'll push forward and naturally link with either Kevin Mirallas or Dries Mertens, supporting attacks.
Too often Eden Hazard and Co. are left marooned on the flanks with no help behind; Wilmots is too careful with how many he leaves back to defend counterattacks.
Bleacher Report will do a tactical preview and review of every single 2014 FIFA World Cup game. Stay tuned to this link and check it every day for more.