Football coach says results, performances both important in upcoming friendlies

October 2, 2017
South Korea national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong (C) shakes hands with players at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Yonhap)

South Korea national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong (C) shakes hands with players at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Yonhap)

INCHEON, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) — South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong said Monday that the national team needs to collect good results and display inspiring performances in two friendly matches later this month.

South Korea, ranked 51st in the latest FIFA rankings, will take on No. 64 Russia in Moscow on Saturday and will face No. 56 Morocco in Biel, Switzerland, three days later. They are South Korea’s first two matches since they qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup last month.

“Both results and performance are important in the upcoming friendlies,” Shin said at Incheon International Airport. “I feel nervous, and there are some concerns.”

Shin announced his 23-man squad last week comprised only of foreign-based players because domestic K League players are not available due to their club schedules. And since K League clubs had previously agreed to release their players earlier than scheduled for South Korea’s final two World Cup qualifiers, Shin decided to accommodate the clubs’ needs this time for the two friendly matches.

“I want to motivate those players who are based in foreign leagues,” he said. “I also want to check whether the players in Japan and China can compete well against physical Europeans.”

Shin, however, lamented that he doesn’t have enough players in certain positions. Making things worse, the Korea Football Association (KFA) announced earlier Monday that Kashiwa Reysol left back Yun Suk-young has been replaced by Emirates club midfielder Park Jong-woo due to a hamstring injury.

“Yun will not go with us because of an injury, and this means we don’t have enough players in the full back positions,” he said. “We have to use unconventional formations to overcome this problem.”

Shin said the players will have to display a “do-or-die” spirit in the friendlies.

“I’m going to evaluate various aspects of the players,” he said. “They will have to play with fighting spirit, so that fans can feel that there’s hope for South Korean football.”

Shin, who took over the helm in July, said he expects a tough match with the 2018 World Cup hosts Russia.

“(Russia) will be playing in front of home fans, and people will pay attention to every single match,” he said. “I’m sure Russia are not going to take it easy.”

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