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(LEAD) (World Cup) S. Korean football coach vows to shore up defensive organization in St. Petersburg training

All News 00:59 June 14, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS more info from 10th para, photo)
By Joo Kyung-don

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia, June 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong said Wednesday his side is ready to shore up defensive organization while staying at their World Cup base camp in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Shin's side had its first training in Russia after landing in the host nation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday. Before having an open training session at Spartak Stadium in Lomonosov, a suburb of St. Petersburg, Shin said the national football team plans to upgrade their defensive organization and work on details of their game plan against Sweden.

South Korea are in World Cup Group F, with Sweden, Mexico and Germany. The Taeguk Warriors will have their opening match in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on Monday.

"In St. Petersburg, we'll try to shore up our defensive organization," Shin said at a press conference. "From tomorrow, we'll try to build up our teamwork and work on set pieces and details."

South Korea national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong speaks to reporters ahead of their open training at Spartak Stadium in Lomonosov, a suburb of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 13, 2018, five days ahead of their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F match against Sweden. (Yonhap)

Before coming to Russia, South Korea played two World Cup tuneup matches in Austria but failed to collect victories. They first played to a scoreless draw with Bolivia and fell 2-0 to Senegal.

Shin, 47, however, said his team doesn't care much about tuneup results, although it's a pity that they couldn't collect a win, especially against Bolivia.

"Even though our players were tired, we just played the Bolivia match without pressure," he said. "It's a pity that we didn't collect a positive result, but we tried to test our game plans and tactics (for the Sweden match), which are now set in my head."

Shin had said it was a "trick" to start towering striker Kim Shin-wook with Hwang Hee-chan in the two-forward system used in recent friendly matches. When asked about frequent changes in their starting 11, with their World Cup contest less than a week away, Shin said there isn't much to be concerned about.

"Our best 11 is prepared for the Sweden match, and most of them have played matches together," he said. "We have a training program here with our best 11 players, so fans don't have to worry about it."

South Korea national football team players practice during their training at Spartak Stadium in Lomonosov, a suburb of Saint Petersburg, on June 13, 2018. (Yonhap)

In Russia, Shin said he'll also try to help back up members to stay fit both mentally and physically.

"We also have to think about the players who came all the way to Russia but failed to compete on the pitch," he said. "We have to give more power to them and communicate with them frequently because I want all of our players to give 100 percent when they're on the pitch."

Shin emphasized that his side is "all-in" for the first match against Sweden and that they're currently figuring out ways to score against tall and physical defenders.

"Sweden's defense is solid, and they are physically strong," he said. "I know we don't have a big possibility to score against them, but we've analyzed them with video clips and I personally watched their match."

When asked about South Korea's plan to stop Sweden's two strikers -- Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen -- Shin said his defenders need to play as a team.

"The two strikers are physically strong, so we first have to defend them well in aerial battles," he said. "Even if our defenders can't contain them on their own, we have to be prepared to win the second ball through teamwork."

Shin said his team is also prepared to analyze Mexico and Germany. South Korea will take on Mexico at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on June 23 and face Germany at Kazan Arena in Kazan four days later.

"We have to play three matches here, so obviously we also care about our second match against Mexico," he said. "We haven't done our scouting job on Germany just because they're too superior to us. We just thought it will be better for us to analyze Germany after their first two Group F matches."


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