Former Manchester United and South Korea star Park Ji-sung has admitted that it is a tough task going up against Brazil on Monday evening, but pointed out there have been plenty of shocks.
After their dramatic 2-1 win over Portugal to secure passage into the knockouts of the 2022 World Cup, South Korea will face pre-tournament favourites Brazil.
Speaking to CNN ahead of the game Park was wary of their opponents, but saw plenty of bright spots for South Korea.
“They’re facing the best team in the world, they are strong everywhere and have everyone has big expectations that they can win this tournament,
“But as you know in this World Cup there have been lots of surprises and shocks happening. So we could make something as well and we hope for another shock and everyone is ready and we have a big hope.
Heechan Hwang of Korea Republic celebrates after scoring the team’s second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Korea Republic and Portugal at Education City Stadium on December 02, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar.
Image credit: Getty Images
“Before the World Cup I thought they were probably going to win this tournament and now we face Brazil, it’s a very tough match. Their first and second [group stage] matches show you how they can play and how strong they are. It’s a really, really big match for us.”
The two teams played a friendly in June earlier this year as part of the preparation for the World Cup, with the South American side emerging as 5-1 winners.
“I think the players know a lot of things from that match [against Brazil in June] even though it was at home they destroyed us,” Park said.
“It’s a great lesson for the players. From those matches players know what they have to learn and what they have to improve at the World Cup and they’ve done that well. Now it’s a real match, it’s not a friendly this is a World Cup and they know that and I’m sure they’ve got lots of motivation and in a good mood because they survived in the group and hope they can make another surprise tonight.”
The win over Portugal marked the first time since 2010 that South Korea had made it out of the group stages and Park said that the country will be thrilled to have done so.
“It’s amazing, we’ve been hoping to get through the group stages for a very long time, our last time was 2010 so it’s been 12 years. Preparation for this World Cup has been good, the longest manager in our history for the first-team. Players have got experience in Europe and that helps us to be more confident ahead of this World Cup and now it’s time to face the best team in the world.
“That was a long time ago [when asked to compare this team to his 2002 team] but this team has world-class players like Heung-min Son and Kim Min-jae who plays for Napoli. They’ve done really well in Europe and they’ve proved that an Asian player can survive the high level in Europe. So that could help the whole team to be more confident against the top countries so I think that brings a lot of positive things. It’s difficult to compare, it’s a new generation they’ve improved a lot technically, hopefully they can compete against Brazil very well.”
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