By Yoo Jee-ho
INCHEON, June 29 (Yonhap) -- With his contract nearing expiration following his team's early exit from the FIFA World Cup, South Korea head coach Shin Tae-yong said Friday he hasn't decided what he wants to do in the future.
Shin and his players returned home Friday from Russia, where they posted one win and two losses in Group F play and failed to reach the round of 16.
The lone win was a 2-0 shocker over defending champions Germany in the final group match. Shin said he had mixed feelings about how the tournament unfolded; while the victory over Germany was gratifying, he was still disappointed that he couldn't lead the team to the knockout stage.
Shin, whose contract runs through the end of July, said he hasn't had much time to unwind from the World Cup.
South Korean men's national football head coach Shin Tae-yong speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport after returning from the FIFA World Cup in Russia on June 29, 2018. (Yonhap)
"It's something I have to think long and hard about," Shin told reporters at Incheon International Airport, referring to his immediate future. "The World Cup just ended, and I haven't given much thought to my future. I don't think it's yet time to answer questions about my status."
Shin said the biggest regret from his first World Cup was that too many key players were hurt even before the tournament started. After naming his 28-man provisional roster in mid-May, France-based midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon and World Cup veteran Lee Keun-ho both went down with injuries. Full back Kim Jin-su was on that provisional squad but didn't survive the final cut as he was still nursing a leg injury.
"With so many injuries before the World Cup, I wasn't able to use some of the tactics that I had in mind," Shin said. "But the 23 guys that I did have worked so hard. I am grateful for their effort."
Shin said for South Korean football to take the next step, individual players have to keep challenging themselves against stronger competition.
"I think our players should try to get more experience playing in big leagues," he said. "In big tournaments, such as the World Cup, a seemingly miniscule error can decide the outcome of a match. I think our players still lack experience in that regard. If we can address that, I think we can reach beyond the round of 16 at World Cups."