Korea Republic winger Park Ji-Sung and Argentina striker Carlos Tevez, who became close friends when they were Manchester United team-mates, will be sworn enemies in a crunch FIFA World Cup™ clash on Thursday. Both South Korea and Argentina won their opening games in South Africa and victory for either side in the Group B encounter will open the door to a last 16 place.
"We have played together and I think it is great that we will play against each other, but this is not just a friendly, this is the greatest place to play football," said 29-year-old Park. "We are both adversaries for now and we will both be doing our best to win the game."
Park says he expects Tevez to have briefed the Argentina defence about his playing style, just as he has told the South Koreans how to cope with the livewire South American striker. "We had two years together at Old Trafford and we know each other very well," Park said. "If you know your opponent, you are going to tell your defenders what it will be like, so we are both in the same boat."
There may be differences in our ability, but I guarantee we will give it all that we have.
Having made 33 appearances for Manchester United last season, Park dismissed any talk that he is jaded from a long season. "I think a lot of the European players are a little tired and may not be on top form, but I have rested well and had a good training schedule," he said. "I am at the top of my condition and physically I think I am very well-prepared."
Park is convinced his side are capable of creating the second major upset of the FIFA World Cup by beating Argentina. Switzerland produced the first big shock of the tournament when they beat UEFA EURA 2008 champions Spain 1-0 in Durban on Wednesday, but Park says his side can topple Diego Maradona's Argentina at Soccer City.
"We are playing to win," he said. "There may be differences in our ability, but I guarantee we will give it all that we have. If the flow of the game goes in our direction, I think there will be a shock for a lot of people."