With ‘Ballon d’Or candidate’ Kim Min-jae in the lineup, Wallace Monster keeps two clean sheets in A-League with stellar defense

‘I didn’t worry too much about the defense because I had a ‘monster’.

South Korea national team defender Kim Min-jae (27-Bayern Munich) started and played the entirety of the friendly against Saudi Arabia at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England, on Wednesday (Aug. 13), helping his team to a 1-0 shutout victory.카지노사이트

Kim started at left center back in the back four and anchored the defense. Right back Jung Seung-hyun and defensive midfielder Park Yong-woo were less stable in this match. The two players often misplaced passes in the defensive zone and lost possession of the ball to their opponents. This was a recipe for disaster for Saudi Arabia, who have a good counterattack.

Kim Min-jae, however, was solid and unwavering. He denied the Saudi attackers any chances by blocking their advances with his entire body. He used his explosive speed to cover a wide radius of action and his overwhelming physicality to turn back the opponent’s breakthroughs. In the dying minutes of the match, he even put his body on the line to keep a clean sheet. For the underpowered Saudi Arabia, Kim Min-jae was an insurmountable ‘wall’.

Kim also started the offense with sharp passes from the back. In particular, the third minute of the second half was a highlight. He connected a ‘ground-ball pass’ to Son Heung-min, who penetrated into the back of the defense, followed by a sharp shot from Lee Jae-sung. Afterward, Kim Min-jae made an explosive break from the left flank to win a corner kick.

Kim also started against Wales on Aug. 8 and helped the team to a goalless draw. He was one of the team’s brightest performers, providing quality passes to Son Heung-min in a steady defense.

The national team kept a clean sheet in two consecutive A matches in September. While the offense didn’t come alive, scoring just one goal in the two matches, the defense didn’t have too many problems. The stability of the backline, centered on Kim Min-jae, stood out in the two matches. It was a stark contrast to June, when the team was without Kim Min-jae.

Kim left Napoli in the summer transfer window to join German giants Bayern Munich. He had a late start to preseason training due to basic military training, but he’s been playing regularly and getting his form back on track. He has started all three of the club’s opening matches and has integrated himself into the team.

After leading Napoli to the Italian Serie A title in the 2022-2023 season, Kim was nominated for the Ballon d’Or. Along with Kim, there are only three other center backs in the running for the award, including Ousmane Dias and Joshko Gvardiol (both of Manchester City). He has become an unquestioned ‘world-class’ defender and has given Klinsmann’s side a huge boost. There were moments in March when he faltered due to mental and physical fatigue, but he has returned to form with more maturity.

Italian journalist Francesco De Core of Il Matino recently commented on Napoli’s situation, saying, “The absence of Kim Min-jae is clearly felt,” and “Kim Min-jae was a player who helped his teammates’ abilities.” After watching the first two matches of the A-Match, it’s clear to see why he’s been praised. The impact that a different kind of center back can have on a team is unimaginable.

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