Korea Republic coach Uli Stielike is well aware that China are a dangerous team, but he has backed his side to come out on top in their FIFA World Cup qualifying match on Thursday.
Korea Republic are expected to prevail as they have lost just once to China in their last 30 matches, but Stielike warned his side not to underestimate their opponents.
China have been preparing hard for the match and they held a training session in Shenyang last week. Korea Republic, on the other hand, will have just three days to train.
Even though China have had more time to prepare, Stielike is confident that his side will triumph at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
“There are no easy teams in the final round,” he told reporters. “China have recently pulled up their FIFA rankings and they are a competitive team.
“We don’t have enough time, but on the match day, we will have to play like a team that has been working together for three months. Some players are with the team for the first time, but the rest of them have played together for a long time.”
Out of the 20 players that make up Korea Republic’s squad, only three – Kwon Chang-hoon, Lee Jae-sung and Lee Yong – play in the K League Classic, which has led some to question whether Stielike has a tendency to lean towards picking players that ply their trade in foreign leagues.
When asked about that, the 61-year-old said: “I don’t want to get into the debate about my selection. I hope our players overcome the controversy about their selection (by showing their best performance).”
Meanwhile, Stielike revealed that he plans to get some insight into the Chinese players from four of his defenders – Kim Young-gwon, Jang Hyun-soo, Hong Jeong-ho and Kim Kee-hee – as they play in the Chinese Super League.
“They play with Chinese national members on their clubs,” he said. “I will have a lot of conversations with them.”