Kabaddi World Cup 2016, South Korea vs Iran Semi Final Preview: Match Prediction, Time, Playing Squads & Live Match Telecast info
The swords will be drawn as two of the world’s best sets of players will face each other when South Korea take on Iran in the first semi-final of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup today. After thoroughly strong performances in the group stage that bordered on perfection, South Korea and Iran will be looking to make the form count by reaching tomorrow’s final in Ahmedabad.
South Korea, despite their already known prowess, surprised everyone in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup by winning all their matches and showing great ability to make comebacks. They started the tournament in quite stunning fashion by defeated India 34-32, snatching victory from under the feet of the home side.
The confidence gained from beating India did wonders to South Korea and they ended up on top of Group A after beating Argentina, Bangladesh, Australia and England. Apart from their raiding prowess, symbolised by Pro Kabaddi League star by Jang Kun Lee, they have been water tight in defence, effecting 57 successful tackles during the group stages. The thing that stands out about Korea is the kind of balance the team possesses, which can be seen by the fact that they topped Group A without having a player in Top 5 leaderboard (raiding or tackling)
A disciplined team with a brilliant sense of gameplay, South Korea are hard to break down and barring the game versus Argentina, they have not given a lot of points away. Jang Kun Lee and Cheol Gyu Shin have been superb in attack for the Asian side while the defensive partnership of Gyung Tae Kim and Yong Joo Ok has worked wonders. Chan Sik Park and Dong Gyu Kim have made valuable contributions, which have helped South Korea produce wonders throghout the tournament.
Iran started the tournament as second favourites to win the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup after India and have done little to diminish the premise. Powerful, aggressive and attacking, Iran, save the match against Poland, have literally dismantled opponents with consummate ease on their way to the semi-final. In fact, after their performance in the first match (52-15 win over USA), it was a foregone conclusion that Iran would steamroll over other opponents and finish on top of Group B.
However, quite interestingly, Iran somehow managed to lose at the hands of Poland in the biggest shock of the tournament and finsh on the second spot behind Thailand, thereby avoiding a semi-final clash with India. Nevertheless, Iran is pure strength, be it in attack or defence, and South Korea will need to play out of their skins to reach the final of 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.
The strength of Iran lies in their defence, which is led by Patna Pirates star Fazel Atrachali (17 successful tackles in group stage), who is ably supported by Abozar Mohajer Mighani. In the raiding department, Iran have relied on Mohammadesmaeil Maghsoudloumahalli, Meraj Sheykh and Abolfazel Maghsoudlou. While their numbers might not be that great individually, Iranian players thrive on teamwork and collective aggression, something which will be on display tonight.
Iran and South Korea are both defensively tight units with excellent work rates and we might be in for a tactically engaging match tonight. Both teams, considering the occasion, will not try to experiment a great deal and are likely to stick to their strengths by playing counter attacking kabaddi. As a result of South Korea's speed, we might not witness a lot of advanced tackles on the part of Iran while the former would be careful not to attack unnecessarily.
Individual brilliance will play a key role in this fixture involving two well-oiled kabaddi units. The likes of Jang Kun Lee, Meraj Sheykh and Fazel Atrachali, not new to pressure having played in Pro Kabaddi League, will be looking to make big statements tonight. In fact, the battle between Jang Kun Lee and Fazel Atrachali could end up deciding who reaches the final of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.
Verdict: Iran to beat South Korea by a margin of 5-8 points
Venue: The Arena by TransStadia, Ahmedabad
Time: 20:00 IST
Live Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports HD3, Hotstar
South Korea: Dong Ju Hong (Captain), Cheol Gyu Shin, Dong Geon Lee, Jang Kun Lee, Chan Sik Park, Dong Gyu Kim,Jae Cheol Lee, Jae Min Lee, Young Chang Ko, Gyung Tae Kim, Seong Ryeol Kim, Tae Beom Kim, Tae Deok Eom, Yong Joo Ok
Iran: Meraj Sheykh (Captain), Abolfazl Maghsoudlou Mahalli, Gholamabbas Korouki, Mohammadesmaeil Maghsoudloumahalli, Mohammadtaghi Paeinmahali, Mohsen Maghsoudloujafari, Abozar Mohajer Mighani, Fazel Atrachali, Hadi Tajik, Milad Sheibak, Soleiman Pahlevani, Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, Farhad Rahimi Milaghardan, Saeid Ghaffari