16 September 2014

AFC U-16 Championship Semifinal - DPR Korea vs Australia

Bangkok: Coach Yon Kwang-mu admits DPR Korea will struggle to replace the quality of suspended striker Han Kwang-song in Wednesday's AFC U-16 Championship semi-final against Australia.

Han netted in all three Group C games as DPR Korea beat Kuwait and Nepal either side of a defeat by Uzbekistan.
But the striker picked up a second yellow card of the campaign in Sunday's goalless draw with Iran as Yon's side eventually prevailed in the quarter-final tie on penalties, and Han, pictured in action against Kuwait, will watch from the stands at Rajamangala Stadium as 2010 champions DPR Korea seek a return to the final.
"We have substitute players, although they are not as good as Han, but we do have substitute players," said Yon.
"But we now feel comfortable compared to before the quarter-final. The team is enjoying this time and is very relaxed. Before the match with Iran there was a lot of pressure, but now we are more relaxed."
DPR Korea had earlier finished second in Group C behind Uzbekistan, while fellow 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup qualifiers Australia head into the semi-final with a 100% record after edging out Malaysia 2-1 in their quarter-final.
"Australia have reached this stage after coming through the group stage and quarter-final so that shows they are very strong, so we will make careful plans so that we can win the game," added Yon.
"They will be physically strong and have good technique and skills as they follow the same structure as the Australia national team. Australia might be physically stronger, but we need to win with our mental strength and this is created by a good team spirit. Our team spirit is very important and I always stress the need for mental power."
Australia secured their return to the semi-finals of the AFC U-16 Championship for the first time since 2010 after goals from Cameron Joice and Daniel Maskin secured a comeback win over Malaysia at the weekend at a stifling hot Muangthong Stadium.
"We have qualified for the World Cup, but now you come to this stage and we want to go all the way," said Australia coach Tony Vidmar.
"DPR Korea are not a bad team and they have some good players up front who can be dangerous, so we just need to make sure we have a good game plan. We saw their game against Iran and have got an idea of what to expect.
"We had identified Han as a very good player, he creates a lot for them. His movement is very good and he holds up the ball and makes runs off the ball, and he will be a loss for them. He was one we would look to restrict service into him, but it still won't change how we go about things."
Despite having also won their group with wins over China, Hong Kong and Japan, Vidmar was critical of Australia's amount of unforced errors and cheap turnover of possession against Malaysia, having levelled similar criticisms at his side during the group stage.
"DPR Korea will be very similar to China and Hong Kong as they have their block as they play 4-4-2 when they don't have the ball and 4-2-4 when they do have possession, so we need to keep possession and find those moments when we can go forward. It is going to be a good test to see what information the players have taken on and how they can execute it," added Vidmar.
"Some of the boys are still tired as the last game was probably the hottest since we have been here, but we will give it everything."


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