May 03, 2018 11:13
National football team manager Shin Tae-yong showed confidence in his squad at a press conference on Wednesday, with some 40 days left before the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The quadrennial event kicks off on June 14 and Korea is scheduled for its opening match against Sweden on June 18.
"The coaching staff are observing Swedish and Mexican players abroad and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses thoroughly," Shin said.
Shin dispelled concerns over the team's weak defense which is cited as a major hurdle to Korea's chance of advancing beyond the group stage. "We still have enough time to improve on that until the World Cup," he said.
Shin will announce the final roster on May 14, but he admitted he is having a headache due to some injured key players.
Defender Kim Min-jae of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors had a hairline fracture on his right shin during his team match in the K-League on Wednesday. His club said it will take four to six weeks for him to recover.
Kim's injury adds woes to Korea's defense as two other defenders -- Kim Jin-su and Hong Jeong-ho -- already sustained injuries during recent friendlies in Europe in March.
The footballers will begin training at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province from May 21.
They will play friendlies against Honduras in Daegu on May 28 and Bosnia-Herzegovina in Jeonju on June 1, before leaving to train in Salzburg, Austria, on June 3.
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