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North Korea boosted by World Cup, says coach

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-06-25 18:20:43

NELSPRUIT: Coach Kim Jong-Hun said on Friday North Korea`s tough assignment at the World Cup has laid a solid foundation for the team in the future.


The North Koreans battened down the hatches after their embarrassing 7-0 rout by Portugal to hold the vibrant Ivory Coast to a 3-0 margin in their final match of their first World Cup in 44 years at the Mbombela Stadium.


What started so promisingly with a tenacious 2-1 loss to Brazil, imploded spectacularly against the Portuguese and threatened to again early on against the Ivorians.


But the team from the reclusive Communist state knuckled down in the second half after conceding two first-half goals and only allowed one more in the second.
Kim, who took the blame for the collapse against Portugal, said the team leaves for home knowing what they have to do to be more competitive for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


"For the next World Cup what we have to do is get our players to improve their individual abilities, be stronger mentally and stronger physically, move faster, strengthen our strong points and get the right balance between attack and defence," Kim said.


"If we manage to do that our team will be well prepared for the next World Cup."
Although they shipped 12 goals in three matches in South Africa, Kim said North Korea had been up against strong international teams in Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast.


"I believe although we did not have good results here it has laid the foundation for us to grow in the future," he said.


"It was a very useful experience for us and a wonderful opportunity to grow football-wise."


Kim said he had planned his tactics for his team to play on the counter against the attack-minded Ivorians.


"Since they had to score a lot of goals right from the start I calculated that they would be always on the attack," he said.


"My tactic was for us to be strong in defence and then when we got possession there would be holes in their defence as the game flowed and we would go on the counter attack.


"The Ivory Coast had a very strong attack and our players were very good in defence, but we did concede some goals which does mean that we were overpowered in midfield at times."


Kim said it was important that North Korea left the tournament with their pride restored.


"In our second match against Portugal we conceded a lot of goals and as the coach this was a blow to my pride and confidence," he said.


"At today`s match we felt that it would be important to have a good result and restore our pride and confidence that we had lost against Portugal."


BDST: 1639hrs, June 26, 2010
SA

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