Korea men's hockey team will bank on experience at Olympics

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Current world ranking # 6 (1490 points)

Clubbed with Germany, the Netherlands, India, Belgium and New Zealand in pool B in the London Olympics.

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Best result: Silver in 2000 Sydney Games. They lost to the Netherlands 4-5 in penalty shoot-out.

Last Olympics: Finished sixth

Korea, which participated for the first time in the 1988 Seoul Games, is one of the Asian hockey powerhouses today. They come to this year's tournament with 1490 points. Among their recent performances is finishing sixth at the 2010 World Cup and eighth and last at the Champions Trophy last year.

Road to London:

Korea is the last side from the top ten to have qualified for the Games after edging past Ireland 3-2 in a pulsating contest. The decisive third goal scored by Lee Nam Yong in the final ten seconds was awarded on a video referral after being ruled out initially. Korea earned a qualifier berth for finishing fourth at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. Shin Seok Kyo, who took over from Cho Sung Jun after the 2008 Beijing Games, is the current coach. His tenure started well after Korea bagged bronze in the 2009 Champions Trophy. Kyo is known to be a tactician and Korea's last-minutes flurry against Ireland was an indication to that.

Players to watch out for:

Aggression and maneuverability of forwards like Lee Nam Yong will be key for Korea. You Hyo Sik, who led the team in two World Cups and two Olympics, will be one of the mainstays. Ho Seo Jong, who was named in the FIH All Star team from 2007-2010 is another player to watch out for.

Plus:

1. Play as a unit and have wealth of experience
2. Ability to apply effective presses
3. Speed
4. Tight defence
5. Loads of experience

Minus:

1. Slightly shy on creativity and lacking firepower in the final quarter
2. Prone to stick tackles

Chances of progress at London Games: 4/10

The recent form at the Champions Trophy last December and Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Jun (where they finished fifth) does not speak in favour of a great achievement but having said that the experienced Koreans might pull off one or two big upsets. Korea will open their campaign against New Zealand on July 30.

Coach:
Shin Seok Kyo took over after the team finished sixth at the 2008 Olympics. Under him, the Koreans won bronze in the 2009 Champions Trophy by defeating the Netherlands. Shin's prescription for aggressive hockey helped the team in the qualifiers and it is to be seen whether he can help the team to reach new heights at London.

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