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S. Korea football coach pleased with team performance vs. Canada

All Headlines 23:26 November 11, 2016

By Joo Kyung-don

CHEONAN, South Korea, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea football coach Uli Stielike said he is satisfied with the team's performance in a friendly victory over Canada on Friday.

South Korea beat Canada 2-0 at Cheonan Baekseok Stadium in Cheonan, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul, with first-half goals from Kim Bo-kyung and Lee Jeong-hyeop.

"Today's match was so good that I don't even need to speak much about it," Stielike said. "Of course, we had a couple of dangerous moments, especially from set pieces, but other than that, we dominated the match."

Stielike said the players successfully executed what the coaching staff emphasized.

"We were very good on flanks," he said. "In particular, our full backs displayed good attacking performances. When our full backs move forward, we enjoy an advantage in number when attacking."

Stielike was also satisfied with striker Lee Jeong-hyeop, who scored the team's second goal. Lee joined the national team for the first time since March.

"He showed movements that we expected from him," the coach said. "He ran into open space and was strong in the air. He was also good on defense."

Stielike was also impressed with Hwang Hee-chan, the youngest player on the squad at 20. The FC Red Bull Salzburg forward played on the wing against Canada.

"He's a talent who can unlock the opponent's defense with his power and speed," the coach said. "But he was too hasty in front of the box. If he can improve that, he will help us a lot."

The friendly match was a tune-up for South Korea's crucial World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan in Seoul on Tuesday. The two countries are in Group A of the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, along with Iran, Syria, Qatar and China.

South Korea are currently third in the group with seven points, two points behind No. 2 Uzbekistan. Iran are the group leaders with 10 points. Only the top two teams in the six-nation group will earn automatic berths in the World Cup in Russia, while the third seed needs to go through the playoffs.

Stielike must cut two players from his 25-man squad before facing Uzbekistan. The German, however, said nothing has been determined for the final squad.

"We need to analyze this friendly and have to check upon the players who have physical problems," he said. "We need to think about our selection seriously starting Sunday. At this moment, I can't decide who is going to start against Uzbekistan."

Stielike didn't use key players like Son Heung-min, Ki Sung-yueng and Lee Chung-yong against Canada, as they need to recover from their injuries. Stielike added center back Kim Kee-hee also picked up a minor injury in the first half against Canada.

However, the coach said the team will be ready for Uzbekistan next week.

"Whoever plays, I expect that our players can execute their job well," he said. "We will prepare thoroughly until the match day."

South Korea national football team head coach Uli Stielike watches his players' performance from the bench during a friendly match between South Korea and Canada at Cheonan Baekseok Stadium in Cheonan, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul, on Nov. 11, 2016. (Yonhap)

Canada coach Michael Findlay said his not pleased with the result, but found a positive side of their team.

"We all get into football because we like to win," he said. " So, at this moment I'm not very happy, but I understand this is a process for us."

Findlay, who has been managing the team as the interim head coach since September, lamented that his side failed to score goals, although they created some opportunities in the second half.

"We faced an impressive team that gave us lot of dilemmas and we had to try and solve it," he said. "We're very unlucky also at the end of the day. We had some chances that we didn't capitalize on."

Findlay said South Korea will pick up a good result against Uzbekistan. Canada previously edged out Uzbekistan 2-1 in a friendly match in June.

"I think (South) Korea will cause Uzbekistan a lot of problems," he said. "Korea is a much more technical team. I think you should have success against them."


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