Go to contents

“Strong Teams Help to Point out Weaknesses, Players Surely Learned a Lot”

“Strong Teams Help to Point out Weaknesses, Players Surely Learned a Lot”

Posted February. 16, 2002 11:30,   


"I think it’s self-deceiving to accumulate victories against weak teams. I want to contribute not only to the national team, but also to the youth and Olympic teams through this difficult process."

The Korean national soccer team’s head coach, Guus Hiddink, held a press interview in Montevideo on the 15th and said, "I’d like to help improve Korean soccer overall."

If You Evaluate Yourself Honestly…

"Korea participated in the World Cups 4 times in a row, but have not won a single victory. I started from there when I became the coach. We played strong teams since last September, and the players are beginning to realize that `they are not our teachers`. We have been playing on equal levels, and both offense and defense are stabilizing. Just before taking over the team, the Football Association and I agreed on `starting from realizing our weaknesses by playing strong teams`. It is certainly not the easy way. I request greater understanding."

If You Reflect On The Overall Field Training This Time…

"Although it was disappointing, from the Gold Cup to the Uruguayan match, I don’t think the players lost confidence. Our players felt and experienced a lot of things. There is a sense that we need to increase our concentration and smart-plays like the others. There was a player who was eager only to `rule over the game` but failed to play smart."

How Many Current Players Will Remain In The National Team?

"I am thinking about taking Japanese and European-based players to the Spanish field training in March. If all the foreign-based players can join, some of the current players may be excluded. Of course, not all foreign ones will be chosen. There will be fierce competition for survival, and 23 players in the World Cup entry will naturally be selected after the Spanish field training. Position arrangement is needed, and some of the strikers, who had been in the team so far, will have to be left out for the final entry."

What About Hong Myung-Bo And Yoon Jung-Hwan?

"Frankly, I am happy that Hong Myung-Bo has recovered from injury and is able to participate in the games now. I will check on his condition as soon as I go back to Seoul, and the final decision over Hong will perhaps be made as early as next week. Although Yoon Jung-Hwan is a good technician, he does not have a favorable status as he is physically weak and the his team went down to the minor league this year. Playmakers must have control over games. But I am considering both Hong and Yoon for the final entry of 23 players."

What About The Possibility Of Injuries During Fierce Competition For Survival?

"It’s true. But too much rest in fear of injury will undermine physical strength. The power-program I intend to apply now is the one I used for the Dutch team during the 1998 France World Cup. It is based on fairly scientific data. It is not simply for muscular strength. Korean soccer players need a lot of energy."

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com