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Teamwork is key to Korea Republic’s progress


Kuala Lumpur: Korea Republic head coach Kim Jung-soo was a contented man after his team’s 7-0 win over Afghanistan in their AFC U-16 Championship Group D tie at the Petaling Jaya Stadium on Tuesday.

While the scoreline pleased him, what was especially satisfying was the fact that his players shared the scoring duties as Korea Republic took a huge step towards the quarter-finals.

Kim was quick to point out that Choi Min-seo was not the centre of attention against Afghanistan as he relied on other players to contribute the goals and create chances.

“We selected No.9 (Choi Min-seo) not because of his scoring abilities, but because off the ball, he is defensively very aggressive, he puts pressure on opponents defence and this time we wanted the other players to contribute to the team’s performance,” said Kim.

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The former champions have scored 10 goals, the highest in the tournament so far, and have kept two clean sheets in the process.

The young Taeguk Warriors can count on a list of other players who have already scored as their attention shifts to playing against reigning champions Iraq on Friday as well as qualifying for the last-eight.

“We have an extensive squad, basically a double squad, so we rotate among the pool that we have and bring in players for the areas that we have a problem.

“However, for the next match I would like to maintain the essence of the squad from the Afghanistan match, so I will not make big changes against Iraq.

A draw against Iraq will ensure Korea Republic advance to the knockout stage but Kim is more worried about making sure his team minimise their mistakes against Iraq.

“We do have a tendency to play a high pressing game and maybe this will end up with players suffering from fatigue and due to this, we might make many mistakes during the game.

“We made plenty of mistakes against Australia, and some in the second half against Afghanistan but I believe we can improve on that in our next game.”

Photos: AFC

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