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S. Korea football coach vows to beat Japan, defend regional title

South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong said Friday that his side are ready to defeat Japan and defend their regional title.

South Korea will wrap up the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Football Championship with Japan on Saturday at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo. Shin's side can only win the tournament by beating hosts Japan.

The men's national team opened the tournament with a 2-2 draw with China followed by a 1-0 win over North Korea. Japan have two wins after they beat North Korea 1-0 and edged out China 2-1.

"The players and coaching staff have all prepared to collect a victory," Shin said before training at West Field of Ajinomoto Stadium. "We are gathered as one unit with a desire to earn a victory."

Shin Tae-yong (Yonhap)
Shin Tae-yong (Yonhap)

The Taeguk Warriors have a dominant head-to-head record against Japan with 40 wins, 23 draws and 14 losses, but they have not collected a win in the last seven years. The last time South Korea beat Japan was in May 2010 at Saitama Stadium, north of Tokyo, where they had a score of 2-0.

"This time match result matters," he said. "I spoke to the players how we should deal with Japanese football's delicacy and precision."

Previously Shin faced Japan last year at the Asian Football Confederation U-23 Championship with the Olympic football team in Qatar, but suffered a 3-2 loss in the final. The 48-year-old vowed that he will not repeat the same result.

"Back then, our main focus was to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics," he said. "Now, I have more experience and since learned how to manage the match afterwards, I will not make mistakes again."

Shin said the players who have experienced the J. League are sharing information on Japanese opponents with their teammates.

"We're analyzing how Japan head coach Vahid Halilhodzic will use his players," he said. "Our players who are or have played with Japanese clubs are also giving information." (Yonhap)