Kim Young-kwon responds to allegations of South Korea avoiding Japan.
The South Korean national soccer team, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, will face Saudi Arabia in the round of 16 at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qatar 2023 at the Education Stadium in Doha, Qatar, at 1:00 a.m. ET on June 31.
South Korea struggled in the group stage. They finished second in the group with one win and two draws as their defense faltered. Defense was the problem. South Korea’s defense was centered around Kim Min-jae, with Jung Seung-hyun and Kim Young-kwon taking turns at the back. 텍사스홀덤 But the shaky defense continued, conceding a whopping six goals in three games.
“We are looking forward to playing well in the tournament,” said Kim Young-kwon at the official press conference a day before the game. Saudi Arabia is a strong team, so I think we can play a good game.”
In response to allegations that Korea chose Saudi Arabia as their Round of 16 opponent to avoid Japan, Kim said, “As the coach said, I never thought about who I wanted to meet or who I wanted to avoid. We have to play well against any team. Obviously, our goal was to finish first, but we didn’t play well, so we finished second.”
Speaking about the shaky defense, Kim said, “We definitely have a problem with conceding goals, but I think we’re lucky to be in the qualifiers. If we had conceded in the tournament, I think it would have affected us quite a bit. We all know that we need to avoid conceding a lot of goals in the tournament.”
The Education Stadium is where South Korea beat Portugal 2-1 at last year’s World Cup in Qatar to reach the round of 16. Kim Young-kwon scored the equalizer to help South Korea advance in the tournament.
“It’s a place I have good memories of,” said Kim. But the World Cup and the Asian Cup are different games. The players and the coach are different from then. The present is more important. I will do my best in any position to help the national team win on the field with good memories,” he said.