PAJU -- FC Barcelona's two South Korean prospects said Monday they want to stay in the FIFA U-20 World Cup a long time to impress football fans.
Lee Seung-woo and Paik Seung-ho are two of the 21 players who are selected for South Korea's squad for the U-20 World Cup, which will be staged in six local cities from Saturday.
The young Taeguk Warriors are in Group A with Guinea, Argentina and England. In the U-20 World Cup, 24 teams have been divided into six groups of four and the top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place teams, will reach the round of 16.
|South Korean under-20 national football players pose for a photo at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on May 15, 2017. (Yonhap)|
Paik, who is with FC Barcelona B, said he feels that the U-20 World Cup is now just around the corner.
"I can feel the World Cup atmosphere," he said at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, after having a group photo session for the U-20 World Cup. "I feel somewhat happy. Everyone here looks excited, too."
The 20-year-old midfielder said he is ready for the tournament and to impress home fans.
"After receiving this uniform for the World Cup, I feel I'm all set for the tournament," he said. "Now, I just have to show my best skills on the pitch."
Paik, who will wear the No. 14 jersey, said he wants South Korea to win the U-20 World Cup, although head coach Shin Tae-yong previously said his side's first goal is to reach the quarterfinals.
"Coach gives us confidence, so we play without fear," he said. "I think we can achieve our goals."
Lee, who is with FC Barcelona Juvenil A, said winning the U-20 World Cup would be difficult, but he believes hard work will pay off at the end.
"It's not easy to win the World Cup," he said. "But if we give our best effort and run more than our opponents, there will be good results."
The 19-year-old forward, known for his dribbling and quickness, said he doesn't have specific goals but to help his team's victory.
"In order to score many goals, the team first needs to play as many matches as possible at the World Cup," he said. "If we can stay long in the tournament, then I should have many opportunities to score."
Lee said South Korea will not suffer an early exit based on their performance in recent friendlies. South Korea beat Saudi Arabia 3-1 and blanked Uruguay 2-0 last week before picking up a 2-2 draw with Senegal on Sunday. All three opponents are participants of the U-20 World Cup.
"I'm first happy that no one suffered an injury in friendly matches," he said. "It feels good that we played well against strong teams before going to the World Cup."
The U-20 team will depart for Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on Tuesday to prepare for their first two World Cup matches. South Korea will open the tournament with Guinea on Saturday in Jeonju, before welcoming Argentina three days later at the same venue. They will face England on May 26 in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, for their final group match. (Yonhap)