Midfielder looking to show strong partnership with star forward ahead of World Cup

February 21, 2019

 South Korean attacking midfielder Lee Min-a said Thursday that she wants to show a strong partnership with a star forward at an upcoming football competition.

Lee is one of the 26 players selected for the World Cup tuneup event in Australia next week. At the Cup of Nations, South Korea will face Argentina next Thursday in Sydney and will take on Australia in Brisbane on March 3 before wrapping up the tournament against New Zealand in Melbourne on March 6.

South Korea women's national football team midfielder Lee Min-a speaks to reporters at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Feb. 21, 2019. (Yonhap)
South Korea women's national football team midfielder Lee Min-a (L) trains with her teammates at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Feb. 21, 2019. (Yonhap)

South Korea women’s national football team midfielder Lee Min-a speaks to reporters at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Feb. 21, 2019. (Yonhap)

Although South Korea have yet to confirm their final roster for the 2019 World Cup in June, where they are grouped with France, Norway and Nigeria, Lee is considered a sure pick. She represented the national team in 13 matches in 2018 alone.

“I know I have to work harder to play in my first World Cup,” Lee told reporters at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, where the national team is training.

Lee, who has 14 goals in 52 international matches, said she wants to develop good chemistry with Chelsea Ladies forward Ji So-yun when they’re on the pitch together. Ji is South Korea’s all-time leading scorer with 49 goals in 110 caps.

“I always tried to learn from her, and I often get surprised by her moves,” Lee said. “I want to help her and the team.”

Lee, who is with Japanese club INAC Kobe Leonessa, said her overseas experience will help her play with the national team. She moved to Japan in 2018.

“Although it’s a neighboring country, women’s football there is different,” she said. “Personally, I found myself playing better in high-pressing situations.”

With the World Cup just about 100 days away, Lee said what she focuses on these days is her health.

“The players should not be injured first and must make improvements from small things,” she said. “At the World Cup, I believe we’re one of the weakest teams and that means the players need to make more sacrifices for the team.”

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