Mon, 30 Nov, -0001
Porto Alegre: Hong Myung-bo has yet to decide who will be in his starting line-up ahead of Korea Republic's crucial FIFA World Cup clash with Algeria at Estadio Beiro-Rio on Sunday in a game both sides need to win to boost their hopes of progressing to the Round of 16.
Hong's team drew their opening game in Group H against Russia and the 45-year-old stressed he would not finalise his line-up until after taking one final look at his options in training on Saturday afternoon.
"I haven't decided on the final players so I can't really say how we will play, but up until now we have worked on certain plays and if we perfect them then that will be very helpful," he said.
"The Algerian midfield is very quick and they put on a lot of pressure and so how we are able to overcome that pressure and how we play into space will be very important.
"I haven't decided on the final starting list but I am taking into consideration how we played in the Russia game, looking at their weak points and, during the past three days in training. I'll put all that together to make my final decision.
"We are going to have to play a different game compared to the Russia match and I think the Algerians are strong attackers and that will impact the final starting list."
The Koreans took the lead in their meeting with Russia thanks to a long-range effort from former AFC Player of the Year Lee Keun-ho and Hong is hopeful his side can open the scoring again.
He also stressed that, despite Ki Sung-yeung, Son Heung-min and Koo Ja-cheol all picking up bookings in the opening game, he will not be asking his side to temper their enthusiasm.
"Of course we want to score the first goal and that will work in our favour but in the World Cup it's not easy to score the first goal when your opponent is very strong, but we will have a chance and we will work hard to create chances," said Hong.
"We haven't talked about the yellow cards but our players are very experienced and they know what it means and in a way they might not be as aggressive.
"But in each situation they have to make quick judgments and just because they have one yellow card, if they are passive and they let the other players by because they have a card that wouldn't be a very good idea.
"They should be careful not to get an unnecessary yellow card but they shouldn't be less aggressive. We'll be talking about that later on."
Hong stressed his side are ready for the rigours of their second game in five days having spent the two days after the Russia match focusing on rest and recuperation.
"The players are on track, they are fully recovered," he said. "For the substitute players, we have several options and we have to use them very strategically. We have to think about things further but overall all of our players are fully prepared."
Meanwhile, Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic is demanding his side puts the disappointing loss to tournament dark horses Belgium behind them, after the north Africans let slip a 25th minute lead to go down 2-1 to the Red Devils.
"We could have won," reflected the former Al Ittihad coach.
"We were heroic in the first half. At half-time I was sure we would make it. We've missed a major opportunity. But I don't want to blame anyone. You can say I am the one to be blamed, as usual.
"Belgium is one of the best teams in Europe. My team gave as much as they could in the present time.
"I have told my players that they should not be ashamed of themselves. But this game against Korea is now the decider."