Saint Petersburg (AFP) – South Korea have not given up hope of reaching the World Cup’s last 16 and are drawing inspiration from their Asian rivals ahead of a crunch game against Mexico on Saturday.
An opening defeat to Sweden has left Shin Tae-yong’s side playing catch-up in Group F, particularly after Mexico pulled off the shock of the first round by beating Germany.
Now the Koreans face Mexico, and another loss would probably end their chances of making the knockout stages for the third time since they co-hosted the tournament in 2002.
“We can go to the last 16 if we believe in the manager and play well in the last two games,” forward Lee Seung-woo said on Wednesday.
“Ever since I was a child, I have always dreamed of playing in a World Cup for Korea. The team has not given up because we lost.
“Our players believe they can do it. I believe in the players and believe in the coaching staff.”
Asia’s teams have enjoyed mixed success so far, with Saudi Arabia struggling in Group A while Iran edged past Morocco and Japan overcame 10-man Colombia.
“Our Asian teams have been winning, both Iran and Japan,” midfielder Jung Woo-young said.
“I had a suspicion the Asian teams in this World Cup would do well and I had the idea that we would do well as an Asian team too.
“It has caused a lot of excitement for us and we are even stronger in our belief that we can do it.”