INCHEON -- South Korean midfielder Lee Chang-min said Thursday he'll keep working hard to be part of the World Cup squad after scoring his first international goal in a friendly football match against Poland.
Lee, who plays with Jeju United in the K League 1, earned his first goal for South Korea at Silesian Stadium in Chorzow, Poland, on Tuesday when his right-footed strike from the penalty arc found the net in the 85th minute. With his goal, South Korea cut the deficit to one and later got an equalizer from Hwang Hee-chan but fell 3-2 to Poland in the end.
"The players always think of things that we did poorly in the match instead of the good things," Lee said to reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, after returning home from Poland. "If I get another opportunity, I'll perform better."
Lee scored his first international goal in his seventh appearance for South Korea. The 24-year-old, who made his national team debut in November 2017, entered the match against Poland in the 79th minute, replacing captain Ki Sung-yueng.
"Head coach Shin Tae-yong ordered me to take shots with confidence when I have the chance," he said of his goal. "I just followed his orders."
Poland, ranked No. 6 in the latest FIFA rankings, were the strongest team Lee has yet to face in his international career. South Korea, meanwhile, are sitting at No. 59 in the world.
"I felt that I need to improve my stamina," he said. "It was especially difficult for me when the tempo of the game changed. I have to be prepared for this."
With veterans and other talented players waiting for World Cup selection, Lee said his chances to play in Russia are slim, but he won't quit.
"Honestly, I don't think I'll play at the 2018 World Cup in Russia," he said. "But I'll work hard, and if I get on the final roster, I'll do my best to play on the pitch."(Yonhap)