In a press conference held Tuesday wrapping up pre-World Cup training in Leogang, Austria, Korean men’s national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong stressed that all the friendly matches and pre-World Cup training were preparations to make a good team for the World Cup tournament and all focus is set on the team’s first match with Sweden (9 p.m. on June 18). “I’d give 90 points for the training result in Austria,” Shin told reporters against all the controversy surrounding the team’s performance.
Earlier that day, the Korean national football team lost to Senegal by 0-2 in a friendly match that was not open to public. It was the last friendly held before the World Cup tournament. The team had disappointing results of one draw and one loss in two friendly matches against Bolivia and Senegal held in Austria.
The team will work on their weak offense skills that led to two scoreless matches in a row when they arrive at their base camp in St. Petersburg, Russia. Striker Hwang Hee-chan missed the friendly against Senegal due to muscle aches in his thighs. “We have time to prepare for our match against Sweden after we arrive in Russia,” Shin said. “I’m sure that we’ll deliver good results if we work on our set pieces.”
The national football team has caused controversy for not putting the best lineup for fear of exposing their tactics or not actively testing set pieces in tune-up matches. Shin did not use all set pieces in the friendly with Senegal, either. “We’re practicing set pieces when we can. I’m thinking of what set pieces to use against tall Sweden players,” Shin said. Of the criticism that he wasted tune-up matches with all the testing, Shin refuted, saying, “We’ve checked the best lineup for each game, optimal playing time for each player, and switch timing for players. This is not a testing. This is a process of making a team.”
Shin and players arrived in St. Petersburg on Tuesday night and started to prepare for the match against Sweden in full swing. “I’ve watched about 10 matches of Sweden and analyzed their attack patterns,” said the head coach. “I’ll make sure they cannot play their best performance.”
Yun-Cheol Jeong firstname.lastname@example.org