South Korea Soccer Players Try To Confuse Opponents By Trading Jerseys

The South Korea soccer team coach observed that Westerners have inherent biases that make it difficult for them to differentiate Asian players.

The South Korea World Cup soccer team used some pretty ingenious methods to trick some of its Western competitors, resorting to switching their players’ jerseys during matches when other teams were scouting them.

During separate “friendlies” (exhibition) matches between Senegal and Bolivia, South Korea coach Shin Tae Yong had his players exchange jerseys with each other. Players wore numbers that didn’t correspond to what they usually wear.

“We switched them around because we didn’t want to show our opponents everything and try to confuse them,” Shin said. “They might know a few of our players, but it is very difficult for Westerners to distinguish between Asians, and that’s why we did that.”

The humorous strategy was not without merit — there are actual scientific studies that back up the coach’s reasoning. Since teams like Sweden were caught spying on the South Korea team, it made sense to try to outsmart the competition by using their psychological biases against them.

Unfortunately, the strategy wasn’t successful. Sweden ended up defeating South Korea 1-0 on Monday.

The World Cup is a great time for the world to come together to celebrate the sport of soccer. At times, however, there are stories that aren’t humorous that demand our attention.

With the world focusing on both the sport and the political complications created by the host country, it’s good to occasionally take notice of strategies like South Korea’s, if only to laugh a little bit about ourselves between the seriousness of topics elsewhere.

 Thumbnail/Banner Credit: Reuters


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