Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Korea Republic legend Lee Young-pyo believes a change in mentality will see the country’s current national team make up for the disappointing performances at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June at the AFC Asian Cup in Australia this month.
The Koreans struggled last year at the global finals and were eliminated at the end of the group stages, but Lee is confident the lessons have been learned as the Taeguk Warriors prepare for their first game at Australia 2015 against Oman on January 10.
“At the last World Cup, it was very disappointing for the whole country,” said Lee, who represented Korea at international level 127 times and now works as an analyst for Korean broadcaster KBS.
“But everyone is thinking to restart Korean football. Everyone is focused on the Asian Cup, because there’s a change in the mood in our national team.
“I believe every player in the team has the right mentality and I think we can show that we are better than we were at the last World Cup.”
German coach Uli Stielike took over as head coach in late September following Hong Myung-bo’s departure after the FIFA World Cup and the former Real Madrid midfielder is trying to change the approach within the team.
“He told us he would try to change the mentality because some of the players are too shy on the pitch,” said Lee. “He has asked them to become stronger and more confident, and if we do that then we can go on to be much better than before.
“But it’s going to take more than a few months, we will need more than one year. I believe we can show something different at the end of the year.”
Lee retired from international football soon after theKoreans claimed third place at the 2011 finals, a result that extended the nation’s AFC Asian Cup drought.
Korea last won the continental title in 1960 – the second of two consecutive wins – and the former Tottenham Hotspur full back is unsure if that sequence can end in Australia this month.
“I think in 2011 in Qatar at the Asian Cup our team was fantastic,” he said. “Individually this team I can’t say is better than 2011, but they’re still strong. We can reach the semifinals, but I don’t know if we can go further than that.
“In Qatar, we played six games, we won four and we drew two against Japan and Australia. But we lost the semifinal on penalties. It was a great pity because we had one of the best teams in Korean history.
“I don’t know exactly why we didn’t get the Asian Cup title in the last 55 years and I think that’s too long, but I believe we can make a new history and become Asian Cup champions some time soon.”