Korea Republic must be in control of their destiny, says coach Chung
Tychy: Korea Republic earned their first win at the 2019 FIFA World Cup Poland on Tuesday, and head coach Chung Jung-yong doesn't want his side relying on the help of other teams as they head into the final group stage fixture.
After a narrow 1-0 defeat to two-time champions Portugal in their opening match, the young Taeguk Warriors revived their hopes of a top two finish in Group F after beating South Africa with the same scoreline on Tuesday.
Kim Hyun-woo's strike in the 69th minute proved to be the difference at the Tychy Stadium.
Argentina lead the standings with six points, followed by Korea Republic in second place, who are level with the Portuguese on three points but ahead on goal difference.
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Korea Republic will go up against six-time champions Argentina in their final Group F match on Friday, and a win will secure their place in the top two and seal direct qualification to the knockout stage.
In addition to the top two teams from each group advancing, four best third-placed teams will also reach the Round of 16, which means a draw or a loss could see the East Asians finishing third, but coach Chung does not want to deal with the headache of number crunching.
"We're prepared for that match (against Argentina)," said Chung. "And I don't want to have to go through different scenarios and compare points with other teams. I just want the players to do the best they can in that one match and enjoy the experience."
Chung hailed his players for maintaining their form and focus for the full 90 minutes against South Africa.
"I thought we'd be in for a difficult match if we gave up an early goal, and the South African attackers were faster and stronger than we'd anticipated," Chung said. "In the second half, we tried to win the ball possession and take control of the midfield.
"I sensed that the pendulum would swing our way, as the South African players were running on fumes.
"It would have been nice to have scored more goals. It would have helped us prepare for the next match with more confidence."
It was a hard-fought match for the Koreans, and goalkeeper Lee Gwang-yeon deserved the majority of praise after pulling off countless incredible saves to keep his team in the game, especially in the first half.
"I'd like to congratulate Gwang-yeon on a great game, and I think he can start playing with more confidence from now on," Chung said.
"I've always stressed the importance of having a strong goalkeeper in tournaments like this. And I think he played with a much-improved focus today."
Sources: yonhapnews.co.kr, FIFA via Getty Images
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