Kim Young-gwon is determined to avoid a repeat of the errors made by Korea Republic in the group stage of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ as they prepare to face Saudi Arabia in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.
Kim Young-gwon expressed the team’s commitment to turning things around after a challenging group stage where they secured only one victory, against Bahrain, and had to settle for two hard-fought draws against Jordan and Malaysia.
“We know we have underperformed and for that we have paid the price,” said Young-gwon. “We are disappointed to have not finished in pole position in our group and are very keen to bounce back.
“But despite the obstacles, there is immense excitement in the squad as it is our first knockout stage game. We have prepared very well and will hopefully come out with a positive result.”
Kim Young-gwon admits he has ‘good memories’ from Education City Stadium
The highly anticipated clash is set to unfold at the Education City Stadium, the very venue where Kim Young-gwon delivered a remarkable performance that propelled the Taeguk Warriors past Portugal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. However, the 33-year-old defender chose not to highlight his personal achievement, emphasizing the collective focus on the upcoming match.
“Obviously I have very good memories of the Education City Stadium but nothing is about me right now. My focus is only on doing everything to help Korea Republic win,” Kim Young-gwon said.
“That was a different tournament, a different team and a different coach. I am only concentrating on doing well in the next match and my earlier personal achievements have no bearing on my focus.”
Despite already conceding six goals, Kim Young-gwon chose to find the positive aspect in the setback, noting that it occurred during the group stage. This provides the two-time AFC Asian Cup winners with an opportunity to analyze their performance and make necessary changes as they approach the knockout stage.
“We were punished for our errors and are relieved that it happened early in the competition. We have used these instances to study and I think we can expect a very different approach from Korea Republic in the upcoming match.”