The South Korean national soccer team has opened up their pre-World Cup training camp in Paju, South Korea this Monday. 13 squad members, including seven Europe-based players, arrived at the camp after a long season in their respective leagues to prepare for the World Cup. The first nine players to report to camp on monday include goalkeepers Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Hyundai), Lee Bum-young (Busan IPark); defender Lee Yong (Ulsan Hyundai); midfielders Ki Sung-yueng (Sunderland), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton); forwards Park Chu-young (Watford), Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan Hyundai) and Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu). Bundesliga-based stars Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz), Ji Dong-won (Augsburg), Hong Jeong-ho (Augusburg), and Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkeusen 04) joined the camp on Tuesday.
Head coach Hong Myung-Bo has stated that he will waste no time in fixing several problems that are lingering on the national side.
“It’s not perfect yet, but it’s just the beginning,” Hong told reporters at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. “During the training period, I will remedy our shortcomings. I will do my best to have a good start.”
Some of the issues that plagued the Taeguk Warriors as of late include poor defense against set pieces, cohesion on the backline, and composure on the offensive end. Hong won’t rush his players into intense training immediately, preferring to test each player’s fitness level and get them in proper shape for the World Cup. There have been concerns in the camp regarding playmaker Ki Sung-Yueng’s fitness who left Sunderland two weeks before the Premier League season ended due to tendonitis in his right knee.
“I expected players to join the camp separately. In the first week, I will try to help them boost their physical condition. I will have them check conditions individually. Considering the level of their fatigue, I’ll decide the amount of practices they will have,” he said.
The team will train for two weeks and then play a friendly match against Tunisia on May 28 in Seoul. Afterwards, the team will head to Miami on May 30 to resume their training and get acclimated to the humid weather that awaits in Brazil. They will play several practice matches in Miami before flying out to Brazil to play in the World Cup.
South Korea is placed in Group H and will face Russia (6/17), Algeria (6/22), and Belgium (6/26) in the first round.