outh Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong said Wednesday his team's preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup are on track.
South Korea will meet Germany, Sweden and Mexico in Group F at the World Cup in Russia, which is only about 50 days away. Shin admitted that they're the underdogs but will not give up easily.
"Frankly, none of the teams are easy for us," Shin told reporters at an event at the Russian Embassy in Seoul. "But if we prepare hard, we can play a good game. We're currently trying to find ways to attack our opponents."
|South Korea men's national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong gives a wave at Incheon International Airport in Incheon in March. (Yonhap)|
South Korea will open their World Cup campaign with Sweden in Nizhny Novogorod on June 18 and face Mexico five days later in Rostov-on-Don. The Taeguk Warriors will then take on defending champions Germany in Kazan on June 27.
"We're currently studying Sweden and Mexico," he said. "We've already analyzed their friendly matches last month. I also get reports on their team atmosphere and key players' injury status."
Shin said that he still wants to see Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing for his national team at the World Cup.
Ibrahimovic, who now plays with Los Angeles Galaxy, has recently expressed an interest in playing at the 2018 World Cup.
"Ibrahimovic and Sweden coach having a battle of nerves is a good thing for us," he said. "With his addition, Sweden may change formation and could see problems."
Shin is scheduled to announce his World Cup squad on May 14.
The 49-year-old coach is expected to release a list of 23 players, along with reserves who could enter the final roster in case of injury.
"I'm currently checking the details of the players who are to be on the 35-member preliminary squad," he said. "Kim Jin-soo is recovering well; so is Koo Ja-cheol, who decided to take a rest for the World Cup. I don't have big concerns for them."
Shin's team will gather at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on May 21 to prepare for two friendly matches at home. South Korea will play against Honduras on May 28 and Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 1 before flying to their pre-World Cup training in Austria. South Korea will enter their World Cup base camp in St. Petersburg on June 12. (Yonhap)