Korea Republic have reached the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time on foreign soil but coach Huh Jung-Moo and his players have no intention of simply settling for that.
The Koreans rode their luck and held Nigeria to a 2-2 draw yesterday, a result that saw them finish second in Group B behind Argentina. The Taegeuk Warriors now take on Uruguay in the knock-out round on Saturday in Port Elizabeth.
"I think my players will not settle with just reaching the last 16," said Huh. "My players would like to reach the semi-finals. I believe the group phase was the most difficult and from now on, it's a 50-50 chance of going through. We have to take it one game at a time. We can't predict what will happen but I know that my players will want higher targets."
I think my players will not settle with just reaching the last 16. My players would like to reach the semi-finals.
While South Korea beat Greece 2-0 in their FIFA World Cup opener before going down to a 4-1 defeat to Argentina in their second game, Uruguay have yet to concede a goal in South Africa. The South Americans held France to a goalless draw with wins against tournament hosts South Africa and Mexico taking them to the top of Group A.
"Uruguay are very strong and they have good quality players," said Huh. "I watched the game between Mexico and Uruguay and they have strong strikers that can determine a game. But I believe we are prepared. I think my players will be able to play a good match. The key to that game will be who controls the flow of the game on match day."
Huh believes his side must make some improvements if they are to go far in the competition. "We have to improve and reduce the number of small mistakes we make, especially in defence," he said. "We have to be concentrated. Uruguay are very strong in counter-attacks and we must take care of it. We will be fully prepared for this match."
Huh hopes his side can prove against Uruguay they can deliver. "I think that Asian football is doing quite well at this World Cup," he said. "We are getting a little bit closer to the international level but we still have a lot of work to do."