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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The FIFA World Cup Day 15 Recap Thread For 6/26/14: Group H Recap

FT: Russia 1-1 Algeria ; Korea Republic 0-1 Belgium 

Photo from FIFA.com

Valid Halilhodzic and Fabio Capello made gambles on their selections during their three group games, including the last one today. While Halilhodzic dropped captain Madjid Bougherra, Capello finally brought in Alek Kerzhakov like he needed to at the start of the tournament. 

But the move to keep Igor Akinfeev in the net from the last match instead of Yuri Lodygin proved to be the biggest gamble for Capello, as the CSKA Moscow man's failing attempt on Ibrahim Brahimi's set piece lead to Islam Slimani's goal that eventually lead to Iran's first knockout stages at a World Cup. 

Capello never placed Igor Shatov in positions to be a true playmaker this tournament and probably should have given Alan Dzagoev a chance to break out of his funk. Considering how poor Shatov was the first two games, Dzagoev at least deserved a start but was again a second half sub that could never get into the game. 

Samedov blew a chance given to him on a platter as Kokorin set up him for a 2-0 lead. He didn't take it and it prove to be so telling. 

Capello after the match was furious at Akinfeev getting a fan's laser in his eye, but his team missed their chance by him not going with Lodygin in net and starting at least Kerzhakov against South Korea in the first match. 

So much for being the highest paid international manager. 

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Photo from Getty Images

It was a listless display from Hong Myung-bo's men, as they will be going home in pure disappointment. 

Son Heung-Min couldn't play up to his great potential outside of his goal against Algeria, while Ki Sung-Yueng could never be close enough consistently to showcase his accurate passing in the key final third.  Park Chu-Young and Ji Dong-Won showed how a lack of club play put too much on Son's shoulders to carry, while Lee Chung-Yong has declined a bit after being such a promising talent with Bolton two years ago. 

But it all came apart for South Korea with their centerback pairing, and how Kim Young-Gwon was certainly not ready for primetime. Kim brought down Hong Jeong-Ho's decent level and lead to South Korea regressing from an Olympic bronze medal and Round of 16 2010 showing that narrowly saw them lose to Uruguay. 

Outside of Australia, a lot of soul searching will be done with the Asian nations after a forgettable tournament as a whole. 
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