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Preview - Group A: France v Korea Republic


Paris: Head coach Yoon Duk-yeo has declared Korea Republic are looking for nothing but a win when they face host nation France in the opening match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Paris on Friday.

Despite their somewhat indifferent pre-tournament form, Yoon’s charges head into the Group A encounter at the iconic Parc des Princes looking to make an early mark at the global extravaganza after finishing fifth at last year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan.

Despite the prospect of facing a highly regarded French outfit – and vociferous home support – Yoon is adamant that Korea Republic are more than ready for the challenge that is sure to come their way.

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“This is a big event, and it is the second successive World Cup that we have appeared in,” he said.

“Whilst preparing for the tournament we encountered many difficulties, but [thankfully] we have been able to overcome those. This process has helped inspire us to play even better."

“Of course, for Korea Republic it will be a very difficult match and both myself and my players do not want to lose the game. However, we will not be overly defensive, we will play our normal game and try to win.

“We then have to accept whatever result happens, but I am convinced that my players will perform well against France.”

The Koreans have yet to beat France in three World Cup meetings, the most recent of which came in the 2015 Round of 16 – a defeat which Yoon revealed has become a source of inspiration for the likes of leading goalscorer Ji So-yun and captain Cho So-hyun.

“We lost 3-0 to France at the World Cup in 2015, we are aware of this and have been discussing that encounter in the build-up,” the former Korea Republic international explained.

“That loss will be our motivation to perform to an even higher level on Friday.

“We may be a weaker side when compared to France, but I believe we have achieved great progress over the past four years. It will be far from easy for France to win, and I firmly believe that we can succeed.”

Meanwhile, France coach Corinne Diacre has declared that her team are primed and raring to go as they seek to improve on their fourth-placed finish at the 2011 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“We need to focus on our objective which is to get the right results in this tournament. The squad is doing well, and I have 23 players absolutely ready to play against Korea Republic,” she said.

“Korea Republic will undoubtedly be a test for us, as indeed will Norway and Nigeria who are also in our group. They are a team that has [quality] players such as Ji (So-yun), a player who we know very well.

“I am, though, going to allow myself a little time to reflect before deciding on exactly which personnel and tactics we will employ, but we are looking to produce a great team effort and the idea is to work on that principle.”

 

France v Korea Republic
FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 Group A
Parc de Princes, Paris
Kick-off: 21.00 (local time)

Photos: AFP

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