Tuesday, 19 October, 2010
England drew 0-0 with South Korea in their opening match of the Peace Cup.
Before flying out to Korea for this friendly tournament, Hope Powell had promised to give a run out to as many players as possible as she looks to form ‘the crux’ of her side ahead of next summer’s World Cup Finals, and, true to her word, she handed starts to Claire Rafferty, Sophie Bradley, Steph Houghton and Jess Clarke, with Casey Stoney captaining the side from the centre of defence.
As expected, the hosts enjoyed a lot of possession throughout the game but were unable to cause England any real problems; Rachel Brown did not have a save to make in the first half. Indeed, it was the Three Lions who had the first chance through Rachel Yankey, though she curled her effort over the bar on eleven minutes.
The England backline were comfortable throughout the game and the most notable piece of defending came from the skipper after 72 minutes when her last-ditch interception prevented Sooyun Kim from troubling Brown.
England came out in the second half looking for the breakthrough and Jill Scott fired over just minutes before her namesake Alex saw her effort foiled by Minkjung Jun.
Ellen White replaced Kelly Smith on the hour-mark and almost made an immediate impact, latching on to Houghton’s through ball and forcing Jun into a fine save with a stinging left-foot shot.
White’s physical presence up front caused the Koreans a number of problems and the young Arsenal forward burst into the box twice in the last three minutes, causing two goalmouth scrambles, but the ball was cleared on each occasion.
The last two chances of the match saw Seoyeon Lim and Yunhee Cha pepper Brown’s goal but both efforts were wide of the target.
Powell will see this as a good workout against an unfamiliar Asian nation. Her side had to deal with a team who like to keep the ball and were patient in their build-up play, largely at odds with the European opponents England faced in their World Cup qualifiers.
England’s second Peace Cup game will see them take on New Zealand on Thursday.
photos Janos Schmidt