Park Ji-sung backs South Korea to progress

Former South Korea international Park Ji-sung believes his country could progress past the group stage of the World Cup but admits Group F is tough.

Defending World Cup champions Germany were expected to win the group comfortably, but they were handed a shock 1-0 defeat by Mexico on Sunday thanks to a winner from Hirving Lozano, leaving the group wide open.

South Korea will get their World Cup campaign underway on Monday afternoon when they clash with Sweden in the other Group F tie, and Park is optimistic about the Asian outfit’s chances.

“This result was not what we expected, so it changes the group,” he told The National after Germany’s unexpected defeat. “But we have to focus on our first match and then see what happens for the rest of the group.

“We always aim to pass the group stage; that’s our first goal for this World Cup. And we had a bad performance at the last World Cup, so we want to turn it around from then.

“This World Cup our expectations are quite low because of the national team’s performance during qualification.

“But the World Cup is the World Cup, so you never know.

“I believe [they can advance]. They prepared well and hopefully they can make it. But this group is very, very tough, and then, again, the first result is not what we expected. So just do our best and see if we can get it.”