Spirited South Korea feel that they have nothing to fear as they go into the Round of 16 clash against five-time champions Brazil on Monday evening. Coming into the fixture with nothing to lose attitude South Korea can turn into a proper threat to Brazil, who have been one of the best sides in the FIFA World Cup 2022 so far.
South Korea come into the match with a stunning win against Portugal, where they defeated the Cristiano Ronaldo side 2-1 to make a late entry into the Round of 16 fixture in the competition.
"Every match, every minute is very valuable and precious. The entire team has great morale, great teamwork " said wingback Kim Jin-su in the pre-match press conference.
"We all have truly wanted to get this far and we are all really thirsty for this," he further added.
South Korea have pedigree, having dumped former champions Germany out of the group stages in the 2018 World Cup. As co-hosts with Japan in 2002, they reached the semi-finals, knocking out Italy and Spain along the way.
Monday's match against injury-hit Brazil is their first in the knockout rounds since 2010 and only their third overall.
Kim said there were a few injury concerns among the South Korean squad, but the team were well-prepared, capable, and confident.
"Of course, tomorrow will be a very challenging match. We really want to show everyone what we've got and show what we've been waiting 12 years for," Kim said.
"Our fighting spirit will be important and we have to sacrifice ourselves for the team," he further added.
South Korea's Portuguese coach Paulo Bento complained about a gap of just 72 hours between matches and said his team had physical and emotional fatigue, compared to a Brazil who had a squad with enough depth to rest players. Bento's sentiments echoed one of Argentina's Lionel Scaloni's concerns who had called out the timings of the fixture.
"We're up against world-class players but we are not intimidated. In our squad we have world-class players," the coach reffered to Son Heung Min.
"One match it's not an entire tournament, we have one chance... Most important is we show we are a team that wants to win, wants to compete and fight until the last whistle," the coach concluded.