So let’s start by having a look at the highlights
As much as some may make an industry of complicating the game, even at the youth international level, goals are conceded for very simple, and preventable, reasons.
29 seconds in: Not a goal but indicative of the problems with shape at the back. A Korean midfielder wisely sees that a Japanese centre back as dropped off and she has a striker pushed up on her. Recognizing this as a 1v1 in the box she launches a well struck ball that clears the defender but is too far for the keeper to come for. Her striker gets a head on it but fails to score from ten yards.
Coaching point: don’t let the centre back drop back inside her box behind the other defenders. She has no support and opens herself up to such dangerous balls into the box.
36 seconds in: Japanese striker hits the bar on difficult volley on the turn off a free kick.
Coaching Point: Korean defenders have dropped off to far and should have been close enough to battle for the ball as it came in and deny the shot in the first place.
57 seconds in: First goal. Another set piece where the defenders make two crucial mistakes. It’s all to easy to blame the keeper for spilling the initial shot but (a) if the line had been held just two steps higher, she would have had time to recover and grab the rebound before the striker got it and (b) more importantly, the Japanese defender (#5) doesn’t track the goal scorer after the free kick. One the ball’s stuck the striker does exactly what she should do: bust a gut to get to the keeper and sniff for rebounds. The defender’s job is to stay with her, slow her down and get to the rebound before the striker.
Coaching point: keep a high line on free kicks to keep attackers further from your goal and goalkeeper.
Second coaching point: track runners on all free kicks. Don’t assume your keeper is going to save the ball and not give up a rebound.
1:17 second in: Yet another goal off a free kick albeit indirectly. The corner comes in, gets partially cleared and then sent back across the face of goal for an easy header in from three yards out. On the initial clear, one of the two defenders on the post plays it perfectly and gets, quickly, out to the six to put pressure on. The other defender on what is now the far post, lollygags out and stalls about three yards from goal. This keeps the Japanese striker onside and because she’s ball watching, the Korean defender is not close enough to her to challenge for the ball when the cross goes back over her head to the far post. Result: easy tap in header and Japan score their first goal and tie the game.
Coaching Point: If the shout from the gk or a defender is out, you all have to come out. Leaving one person even two yards in behind when the ball is that close to goal is deadly. In this case, it leads to an easy goal as the defender holding people onside is also adrift and not close enough to mark anyone.
The last goal is genius. Just two minutes after the first goal, Yokoyami pushes the dagger in and beats four Korean defenders in a tiny space and slots the ball past the keeper. Yes, the individual defending could have been better but her technique on the ball and quick feet made her very difficult to stop.