JEONJU -- South Korea's opponents at the FIFA U-20 World Cup vowed Friday to reach the knockout stage and impress fans with exciting performances.
The U-20 World Cup will be staged in six South Korean cities from Saturday to June 11. Host South Korea has been placed in Group A with Guinea, Argentina and England. In the 24-team competition, the top two from each group and the four best third-place teams will advance to the round of 16.
South Korea and Guinea will have their opening match at Jeonju World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. on Saturday, after England and Argentina go head-to-head at the same venue.
Guinea's under-20 national football team head coach Mandjou Diallo (R) attends a press conference with midfielder Alseny Soumah at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on May 19, 2017, one day ahead of their FIFA U-20 World Cup opening match against South Korea. (Yonhap)
Guinea head coach Mandjou Diallo said they feel comfortable staying in South Korea, and facing the host nation in their first match isn't much of a concern. Diallo said his side doesn't have enough information on South Korea, even though the young Taeguk Warriors had friendlies against Uruguay and Senegal before the U-20 World Cup.
"I know Asian football is dynamic and is growing fast," he said. "But I haven't really analyzed the South Korean team much because we didn't have enough information."
Diallo remembered that Guinea lost to South Korea at the U-17 World Cup in Chile in 2015, but mentioned that things will be different at the U-20 level.
"South Korea are a strong team," he said. "But you'll see our strength tomorrow."
Argentine head coach Claudio Ubeda said he is aware of the South Korean side. Argentina, six-time tournament champions, clash against South Korea next Tuesday at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
"I know they will have some home field advantage," he said. "But I've seen how they play."
Ubeda said the opening match is important for every team in Group A.
"Teams in Group A are all strong, so the first game is very important," he said. "We didn't have an easy South American qualification, but we got stronger than before."
England head coach Paul Simpson said South Korea are an "organized" team and they will deliver a big challenge to their English Premier League prospects. South Korea and England will meet in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, next Friday for their final group match.
"We have a lot of respect for the South Korean side," he said. "We know they are very organized and have very good individual players."
Simpson, however, said they will not treat the South Koreans differently from other teams in the group. He added that England aim to win all three group stage matches.
"I think they (South Korea) are going to have incredible support from fans," he said. "But we want to make sure that our players are looking for challenge and playing in front of a full house." (Yonhap)