St. Petersburg, June 20 (IANS) South Korean defensive midfielder Jung Woo-young on Wednesday said that other Asian teams’ winning performances at the 2018 FIFA World Cup gives stimulations to his team.
Although Saudi Arabia were thrashed by hosts Russia 0-5, Iran beat Morocco 1-0 and Japan stunned Colombia 2-1 in their World Cup opening matches. South Korea dropped their Group F opener against Sweden with a 0-1 loss, reports Yonhap news agency.
Jung said he hopes Asian teams can show good performances at the World Cup.
“Iran and Japan were our rivals on the continent, and we face them, but we never thought about losing,” Jung said ahead of training at Sparta Stadium in Lomonosov.
“But at the World Cup, I wish them to show good performances. Their recent matches have really stimulated us, making us think that we can make something happen at the World Cup.”
Jung played as a second half substitute in South Korea’s 0-1 loss to Sweden in their Group F opener at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Monday.
The Vissel Kobe midfielder entered the pitch in the 67th minute, two minutes after allowing a penalty kick goal to Sweden’s Andreas Granqvist. He replaced towering striker Kim Shin-wook, who made a surprising start for the match.
Jung, 28, said it was an honour to debut at the World Cup, but he had regrets because his team couldn’t get the result they wanted. South Korea now have to find out their fate against Mexico, the team that beat defending champions Germany 1-0 in their Group F opener, in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday.
“It’s pity that we couldn’t get a good result against Sweden after all our hard work,” he said. “If I can play against Mexico, I will have to do some dirty jobs in the back to help our team.”
Jung, 28, said South Korea will try to come up with their own strategy to beat Mexico, although he admits it’s not going to easy.
“Mexico have quick players who are good in one-on-one situations and like to penetrate,” he said. “Compared to the match against Germany, I believe Mexico will play differently against us. Of course, we’re also not going to fight like Germany.”
South Korea are ranked 57th in the latest FIFA rankings, while Mexico sits at World No. 15. South Korea are certainly underdogs, but Jung said the players are only thinking about their strategy to win against Mexico.
“You can compare the two teams on paper, but we know we have to produce results that can turn over people’s predictions,” he said. “We’re not thinking about whether we are less talented or not a better team against Mexico. We just think about how we can stop Mexico from playing their style of game.”