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S. Korea football coach says players are focused 'more than ever' for friendly vs. Colombia

2017/11/09 19:27

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By Joo Kyung-don

SUWON, South Korea, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong said Thursday his players are determined to win more than ever, as they are set for a friendly match against Colombia.

South Korea will face Colombia 8 p.m. Friday at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 46 kilometers south of Seoul. This will be their first meeting since 2005.

"Our players' mindset and their concentration are stronger than ever," Shin said at a press conference in Suwon. "Their eyes were different from the first day. I felt that they're really ready to make something happen."

   Shin will try to end South Korea's six-game winless streak. He guided South Korea to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in September, but has yet to collect a win with the men's national team since taking the helm in July. He has so far had two losses and two draws.

The 48-year-old tactician admitted that the team was not in a good atmosphere, but he now feels better than the past.

"After watching our players' attitude and their work, I felt that this team is building up and that makes me comfortable," he said. "Now, I have something to trust and I feel relieved."

  

South Korea national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong speaks at a press conference at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Nov. 9, 2017, one day ahead of the friendly match between South Korea and Colombia. (Yonhap) South Korea national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong speaks at a press conference at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Nov. 9, 2017, one day ahead of the friendly match between South Korea and Colombia. (Yonhap)

Shin said his side needs to be "careful" against Colombia, which also secured berth at the 2018 World Cup. Colombia are the highest-ranked opponents South Korea will meet this year. The Taeguk Warriors sit 62nd in the latest FIFA rankings, while the Tricolors occupy 13th place.

"Colombia are a strong team, so we need to play carefully," he said. "However, we'll do what we have to do on defense and offense. We'll challenge Colombia."

   Shin previously hinted at using Son Heung-min as a center forward like Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League (EPL) did with the 25-year-old. Son, who has scored 18 goals in 59 internationals, has been mainly playing on the flanks for the national team. Shin said the change will not be easy for Son but it will test the player in a different way.

"In football, it's not possible to make something work in a day," he said. "As I previously said, I do have a plan of using Son after watching Tottenham matches."

   Shin's side surrendered seven goals in two friendly matches against Russia and Morocco last month. But he said such results will not happen again this time.

"Our players need to run more on the pitch and help each other when defending because Colombians are at a higher level than we are," he said.

Shin, who earlier coached South Korea's under-23 and under-20 squads, played in South Korea's 4-1 friendly win over Colombia in 1996. When asked about the difference between then and today, Shin said South Koreans have better technique.

"Back then, it was before the 2002 World Cup and our environment was not good," he said. "The players then relied more on their physique and mental strength, but now we have a different situation. I hope the players can perform with good technique."

   kdon@yna.co.kr

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