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National football team: `We haven`t given up hope yet`

Posted June. 25, 2014 04:36,   


"Good, good. Concentrate."

Striker Kim Shin-wook shouted several times to change the mood. However, the atmosphere surrounding the Korean national football team was too heavy to life for even a huge guy who is 6.4 feet tall weighing 205 pounds. Few players were shouting responding Kim`s. Midfielder Son Heung-min said, "Frankly speaking, the mood can`t be changed overnight."

Following a shock defeat (2-4) by the Algerian team at the Brazil World Cup second Group H fixture, the Korean football team trained Tuesday at its Brazilian base camp of Foz do Iguacu in a depressed mood. During a 15 minute training led by physical coach Ikeda Seigo, the only thing that could be heard was cameramen pressing camera shutters. The coaching staff including Coach Hong Myung-bo tried to change the mood by shouting to the players as they did a pass game.

The heavy mood was also demonstrated at the mixed zone where the players passed after ending exercises. Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng who had willingly accepted request for interviews said, "Sorry. Not today." Midfielder Ha Dae-sung also remained silent. Still another midfielder Han Kook-young bit his lips to fight back tears as he said, "I couldn`t sleep due to responsibility and regret." His voice trembled during interview.

Nevertheless, the players didn`t give up a small ray of hope for making into the top 16. Han said, "I will challenge even if there is just 1 percent of possibility. It doesn`t matter if I get hurt. I`m braced for playing my best and crawling out of the ground after the game ends." Son who fought hard with game with the Algerian team said, "I haven`t given up hope for entry into the top 16. I will arm myself mentally."

When the training was over, players gathered in the middle of the stadium ground led by Kwak Tae-hwi, the oldest member of the team, created a circle to have a conversation for about five minutes. Then they stood shoulder to shoulder, bent their waist and shouted "Lets` go." While Coach Hong normally gets on the bus before the players, he and the coaching staff stood at the ground and looked at the players. It is the first time for the Korean national football team to make such a finish since it started field training in May 31 in Miami, the U.S. They will arrive in Sao Paulo on Thursday where the third group fixture with Belgium will be held.