20 September 2014

AFC U16 Final : Korea Rep vs DPR Korea

Bangkok: Coach Choi Jin-cheul is unconcerned by any tactics DPR Korea will employ to combat Korea Republic striker Lee Seung-woo in Saturday's AFC U-16 Championship final.

Barcelona striker Lee has propelled two-time champions Korea Republic to a first AFC U-16 Championship final appearance since 2008 after scoring a tournament-leading five goals in just four games.
Lee was marked heavily during Korea Republic's semi-final success over Syria, and while the striker only netted a second-half penalty, he was still able to contribute four assists as Choi's side maintained their 100% record with an impressive 7-1 win.
"Lee Seung-woo is a creative player and we expect defences to man-mark him, but that creates more space for other players to use. And when defenders only look for him, our other players make smart use of the space so Lee Seung-woo is able to make many assists. And the second half against Syria was a good example of this," said former intentional centre-back Choi (pictured), who played for Korea Republic at the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2006.
"I think DPR Korea will man-mark while also using a joint defence. For Lee Seung-woo, I think DPR Korea will be aggressive so he needs to be careful. We need to prepare to face both man-marking and joint defence. DPR Korea also presses for the ball well so the key will be how we escape from these situations."
Korea Republic had earlier topped their group following wins over Oman, Malaysia and hosts Thailand before Lee scored twice to down Japan 2-0 in their quarter-final.
DPR Korea striker Han Kwang-song, meanwhile, scored in all three group stage games for his side as the 2010 champions beat Kuwait and Nepal either side of a narrow defeat by defending champions Uzbekistan.
And DPR Korea ensured a return to the final after edging our Iran and Australia on penalties in the knockout stage following a pair of hard-fought draws.
"Over the last two days I have watched DPR Korea's matches, and I think if we play our style, I am confident. We need to play at a fast pace and also our movement will be very important against DPR Korea," added Choi.
"Throughout the group stage and quarter-final. I watched DPR Korea's number nine Han and I know him very well. I also think DPR Korea have many players who have a good attacking style and they are also quick and physically strong, and I need to make sure I pick my best 11 players for the match."
For former centre-back Choi the final represents the first major challenge of his coaching career having spent three years as an assistant at Gangwon in Korea Republic's top-flight between 2009-2012 before joining the Korean Football Association set-up.
"I have nerves as it is a final because this is the first time to play in the final of a big competition. It is an honour to be the coach in a final. In the previous matches I was also nervous and shouted at the players, but I feel like I am getting better with every match, and for the final I feel like I can manage it better," said Choi, who has also worked with Korea Republic's U-13, U-14 and U-15 sides since joining the Korean Football Association as a coach in 2012.
"I think as a coach it is different than as a player because as a player you only need to think about yourself and manage yourself, but as a coach you have to think about all the players including the substitutes.
"I want to share my experiences of playing in big tournaments with the players to help them relax.


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