The national soccer team, led by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, began to harden at the Al Eglah Training Center in Doha, Qatar, on the 27th (Korean time).
South Korea rested and maintained the match a day after the third and final group match against Malaysia on the 25th. After a rough start against Malaysia, South Korea tied 3-3 with one win, two draws, and ranked second in the group.
After a full day of rest after the match, the national team began preparing for the match against Saudi Arabia on the 31st.
In particular, for the first time in Qatar, 26 “complete members” joined the training ground.
Lee Ki-je (Suwon), who suffered a hamstring injury in the second group match against Jordan on the 20th, stepped on the grass for the first time. Lee, who trained in sneakers instead of soccer shoes, exercised individually after stretching with his teammates.
In addition, Kim Joon-hong (Kim Chun), who joined as a training partner, participated in the training instead of Kim Seung-gyu (Al-Shabab), who was called off due to a ruptured cruciate ligament in the knee.
In the training, which started in a solemn atmosphere compared to the past, Clinton gathered players and talked for more than five minutes, drawing keen attention. Team Korea, which had been upbeat before, looked gloomy overall, perhaps due to repeated poor performances.
When the “captain” Son Heung-min (Tottenham) began full-fledged training, he tried to raise the atmosphere by shouting out loud cheers, but it was far from friendly like before.
Although the atmosphere has been dampened, coach Klinsmann has strong confidence in advancing to the finals with a win in the round of 16.
“We had an analysis on Korea and Saudi Arabia, the opponent team in the round of 16 teams, the day before the break,” Klinsmann told reporters before the training. “We won against Saudi Arabia in September last year, but we have shown improvement since then,” he said. “We have started preparing for the match against Saudi Arabia. The results will come out well.”
“First of all, my goal was to advance to the round of 16, but I achieved my goal. Now I just want to look ahead,” the head coach said. “My goal is to advance to the final. I need confidence,” he encouraged Taegeuk Warriors.