(World Cup) Putting personal honor aside, S. Korean attacker vows to sacrifice for team

June 20, 2018
South Korea national football team midfielder Lee Seung-woo speaks to reporters ahead of training at Spartak Stadium in Lomonosov, a suburb of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 20, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korea national football team midfielder Lee Seung-woo speaks to reporters ahead of training at Spartak Stadium in Lomonosov, a suburb of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 20, 2018. (Yonhap)

By Joo Kyung-don

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia, June 20 (Yonhap) — South Korea attacker Lee Seung-woo said Wednesday he will put his personal honor aside for his team’s victory against Mexico at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Lee played as a second half substitute in South Korea’s 1-0 loss to Sweden in their Group F opener at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on Monday. The Hellas Verona attacker entered the pitch in the 73rd minute for Koo Ja-cheol.

With this substitution, Lee became the fourth-youngest South Korean to play in a World Cup, at just 20 years, 163 days old.

Lee, a youth product of FC Barcelona, said he was honored to make his World Cup debut, but wasn’t really happy because of the defeat.

“I was really disappointed and sad because we lost,” Lee said ahead of team training at Spartak Stadium in Lomonosov, a suburb of Saint Petersburg. “If I can play against Mexico, it’s not important for me to score or get an assist. What’s important is that we have to stick together as a team and do our best to beat Mexico as a team.”

Lee said the team is bouncing back from the crushing defeat against Sweden, and the players are determined to turn things around against Mexico. South Korea and Mexico will go head-to-head at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday.

“Our team sprit has not fallen to the worst level,” he said. “We believe we can do it.”

Mexico stunned defending champions Germany in their Group F opener with a 1-0 win. Lee said the players will have intensive training to execute tactics for the Mexico match from Wednesday’s training, and whether they focus on offense or defense, what’s certain is that the players will make tireless efforts on the pitch.

“We should have attacked quickly against the tall and physical Swedish players, but couldn’t execute well,” he said. “Mexico seemed to have good fighting spirit on the pitch, and we should not lose to them in that respect. If we can work out the details, I think we can penetrate their defense.”

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