South Korea's masterplan v Nigeria: Score first

DURBAN - Midfielder Park Ji-sung thinks an early South Korea goal in their decisive Group B match against Nigeria could pave the way to the round of 16 for the Asians for the first time on foreign soil.

A victory on Tuesday should secure a place in the second round for the Koreans in their eighth World Cup, even if all four teams are still alive going into the final group matches.

Nigeria have already lost twice and their slender hopes hang on beating the 2002 World Cup semi-finalists at the Moses Mabhida stadium, and an Argentina victory over Greece in Polokwane.

"(African players) are very flexible, strong and they are speedy so they have good physical condition," Park told a news conference on Monday.

"In the case of Nigeria, they are in the most precarious position in our group and if we are able to score the first goal, the balance of the game could tilt in our favour.

"In that case I think Nigeria would not be able to play to their full potential."

Park said his time playing at Manchester United, and that of some of his team mates in leagues in England, France, Germany, Russia and Scotland, would help.

"What is most important is that we have a lot of experience, we have a lot of players who are playing on European teams so now we know how to play with Africans, and also against them," he said.

South Korea have never lost to Nigeria but the Africans do have a habit of scoring early goals. Eight of their 15 goals in World Cup matches have come in the first half an hour.


Fortunately, South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo revealed that there was a Plan B should the early scoring tactic not work out.

"We are going to ensure that we do not concede the first goal, we are going to fight to score the first goal," he said.

"But if we do concede the first goal ... we are not going to become tense or anxious and we're going to fight hard to make sure we win the game."

Huh was remarkably upbeat given his charges were thrashed 4-1 in their last match against Argentina and told the South Korean media corps to book flights and hotel rooms for Port Elizabeth, where the Group B runners-up will play in round two.

"We are really looking at the round of 16. All of our schedules and everything is being set up for the round of 16, so we're one team together," he said.

"We are almost there, this is the last match we have before we reach our goal," he added. "We have been preparing for over a year and this is our wish and desire. I believe in my players and I believe we will get the right result tomorrow."

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