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[World Cup] Defender determined to stop Portugal with collective effort

Dec. 1, 2022 - 21:25 By Yonhap
South Korean defender Kim Young-gwon (right) speaks at a press conference before the team's Group H match against Portugal at the Main Media Centre for the FIFA World Cup in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korean defender Kim Young-gwon said Thursday he is not daunted by the prospect of facing Cristiano Ronaldo and other highly-skilled Portuguese players at the FIFA World Cup this week, believing a collective effort should get the job done against the European powers.

Kim and South Korea will face Portugal in the final Group H match Friday at Education City Stadium. It's a must-win proposition for South Korea, who also must get help from the other Group H match on the same day between Uruguay and Ghana.

South Korea had a goalless draw with Uruguay to start the competition last Thursday but lost to Ghana 3-2 on Monday. At a prematch press conference, Kim said he was still pleased with the team's determination and commitment in those two matches, and that South Korea must keep that up.

"I think we have to show the same kind of passion and fighting spirit in this match," Kim said at the Main Media Centre in Al Rayyan, west of Doha. "We're not going to give up until the end."

Portugal, world no. 9, beat Ghana 3-2 and then blanked Uruguay 2-0. Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes are among the offensive stars, and Kim said there were so many other dangerous Portugal players that it was difficult to list all of them.

"Obviously, their players have great individual skills, but I believe if we can stick together as a team and battle as a team, we can stop them," Kim said. "That's how we've been preparing for this match all along, and we'll try to execute our game plans on the pitch."

Kim admitted South Korea will need a stroke of luck Friday to advance to the next phase, but said he was confident the team will be ready for the challenge.

"We have our backs against the wall," Kim said. "But everyone knows how well we must play as a team and how organized we must be on the field. If we can play the way we've prepared for this match, I think we will walk away with great results." (Yonhap)