S. Korea coach focuses on own team ahead of ‘tough’ World Cup qualifier vs. Thailand

Ahead of what he believes will be "a tough match" against Thailand in a World Cup qualifying match, South Korean interim coach Hwang Sun-hong said Monday the focus will be on improving his own team's play, rather than on adjusting to what the opponents will do. South Korea, ranked 22nd, will meet 101st-ranked Thailand at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok on Tuesday, for the teams' fourth Group C match in the Asian qualifying tournament for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The kickoff is 7:30 p.m. in Thailand, or 9:30 p.m. in South Korea. It will be the second of two matches between the teams. South Korea were held to a 1-1 draw in Seoul last Thursday, an uninspiring performance against a massive underdog. Now that the series shifts to Bangkok, Hwang said he expects a difficult challenge but added his faith in his squad has never wavered. "We all understand the importance of this match and also the difficulty of playing away from home. This will be a tough match," Hwang said at his prematch press conference at Rajam angala Stadium. "Our players have been working hard. I firmly believe we will win tomorrow because these players have an extremely strong desire to win." Captain Son Heung-min scored for South Korea in the first half Thursday but Thailand equalized just past the hour mark with a goal by Suphanat Mueanta. South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo bailed out his teammates with some key saves. Hwang, brought in as caretaker boss after the dismissal of Jurgen Klinsmann last month, acknowledged South Korea had some difficulties Thursday and things won't get any easier this time. But that doesn't mean South Korea will get away from what they've been doing. "Rather than adjusting to our opponents' playing style, the key for us is to rediscover our own rhythm," Hwang said. "It's important for us to prepare for this match without breaking away from our framework. We will focus on our own play, not our opponents." When asked how his players would handle playing in front of a hostile crowd in humid conditions, Hwang said , "I am proud of my players and I have 100 percent faith in them. Those guys will run into some difficulties but I am confident they can overcome them." Source: Yonhap News Agency

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