S. Korean defender Young-gwon says cooperation key to blocking Mexicans

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St. Petersburg, June 21 (IANS) South Korean centre-back Kim Young-gwon said on Thursday that partnership and cooperation between their footballers is the key to contain Mexico in their upcoming FIFA World Cup clash.

South Korea and Mexico will go head-to-head at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday. Following their 0-1 defeat to Sweden in their Group F opener at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on Monday, South Korea need a turnaround to stay alive for the round of 16 contention, reports Yonhap news agency.

Kim, 28, said South Korean players need to work as a team to defend the Mexicans, who stunned defending champions Germany 1-0 in their group opening match in Moscow on Saturday.

“Mexico have players who have pace and powerful and individual skills,” Kim said ahead of the team’s last training in Saint Petersburg before flying to Rostov-on-Don. “We have to help each other and make collaborative efforts in defensive coverage.”

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Kim played full time in South Korea’s painful defeat to Sweden, but he was one of the players who was not heavily criticized by fans after showing tireless efforts on the pitch with solid tackles and clearances. It was the match that he blew away people’s doubts and criticism of him, but Kim said he will keep working harder for the team.

“I have some regrets left from the match against Sweden, and I think fans will feel the same way, too,” he said.

South Korea have yet to collect a win in their second group stage matches at the World Cup. The Guangzhou Evergrande defender said such records are not a jinx.

“I don’t think it’s a jinx, and what we have to do is play a good game against Mexico to make a turnaround,” he said. “We still have matches to play, and the players are determined to give their all. I hope many fans can support us.”

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–IANS

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