South Korea still confident of making World Cup knockout stages

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.

South Korea's Lee Seung-woo (L) and Jung Woo-young believe that South Korea can still enter the knockout stages.   -  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.

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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.”

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