South Korea aim to overachieve at Russia 2018

Seoul, June 8 (IANS) All teams have ambitions to go as far as possible at the FIFA World Cup, but there are always teams who don’t have much of a chance.

South Korea have a lot to be proud of as Russia 2018 will be their tenth World Cup appearance and they become the first Asian country to qualify for the World Cup so many times, reports Xinhua news agency.

Only Brazil (21), Germany (17), Argentina (12) and Spain (11) have made it to more World Cups in succession, with Italy failing to extend their run to 15.

The team made history when they become the first and only Asian nation to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup tournament.

No doubt, the ‘Taeguk Warriors’ aim to come close to their former heights at Russia, especially with several players established in European leagues.

Son Heung-min, the Tottenham Hotspur forward, carries the hopes of a nation as he helped Spurs finish third and secure a UEFA Champions League place.

The 25-year-old said the World Cup experience is important, adding that playing in a World Cup is completely different from playing in a league after his participation at Brazil 2014.

Luckily South Korea boast several talented players with World Cup experience.

As new skipper, Ki Sungyueng, a veteran going through South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, remains a key player at the back for South Korea. Koo Jacheol of FC Augsburg and Kim Younggwon of Guangzhou Evergrande also played in Brazil.

The team will face an uphill battle if they want to progress from a group they share with Sweden, Mexico and reigning champions Germany.

The South Koreans have to defeat Sweden in their World Cup opener on June 18, and hopefully take points in match against Mexico before meeting Germany. Ki Sungyueng said the first game against Sweden is crucial for their advancement.

As South Korea finished disappointingly with only one draw in Brazil, the players were under a lot criticism on their return.

Head coach Shin Taeyoung, who took charge last June, adopted the 4-4-2 and 3-5-2 formations in recent two home international friendlies which produced one win and one defeat.

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