Ronaldo not a focus for North Koreans

CAPE TOWN - The world's most recognised player Cristiano Ronaldo takes to the field against some of the most secretive at the World Cup on Monday although North Korea's manager says the Portugal winger will not be a focus.

"Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo is a world renowned player who receives a lot of attention but in our case, in our game, we're not going to focus especially on one person," North Korea coach Kim Jong-hun told reporters ahead of the game in Cape Town.

North Korea lost their Group G opener 2-1 to Brazil but won respect for the way they held the five-times world champions until the 55th minute, and scored a stunning consolation goal.

"I'm not going to talk about overall strategy or tactics and I'm not going to say I will have man-to-man defence. It might be needed... it will depend on how the game flows," he said.

But Portugal, who drew their opener 0-0 with Ivory Coast, seemed sceptical of claims Ronaldo would not be singled out for special attention.

"It is normal. It happens at club and national level that the most creative players are sometimes fouled more frequently," said Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz.


Ronaldo himself said he was familiar with his North Korea opponents and praised their speed but warned they would suffer if they did play man-to-man.

"Obviously, I know the players. We have seen two videos yesterday and the game versus Brazil. They are a dangerous team with fast players and I know it will be difficult."

"The counter attack is their strongest weapon. If they play man-to-man against us they will suffer. That is their most likely tactic in my opinion," Ronaldo added.

The North Korea coach said reports that four of his players had gone missing were totally unfounded and added that all were fit to play. The squad trained at Green Point stadium on Sunday.

"Management of the team and players is my responsibility and there were never any team members missing," said coach Kim. "We have been together every day, we have eaten and slept and trained together. That report was totally unfounded."

The team had watched footage of North Korea's remarkable match against Portugal at the 1966 World Cup in England when the Koreans took a 3-0 lead but Portugal staged an astonishing comeback to win the quarter-final 5-3, he added.

"The players have seen the video footage and they have heard a lot about that game..." added Kim who was nine years old at the time. "I remember the game very well. The players will try to make up for the disappointment this time."

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