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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Koreans struggle with injury
Kim Tae-Young
Christian Vieri breaks Kim Tae-Young's nose
Spain v South Korea | Quarter-final
Sat Jun 22 2002 | 07:30 BST | Gwangju
BBC One/Radio Five Live

South Korea enter their first World Cup quarter-final clash hampered by injuries and with little time to recover from their bruising win over Italy.


The co-hosts advanced to the last eight after a stunning 2-1 win over three-time champions Italy on Tuesday.

But they suffered several injuries that could force changes against Spain on Saturday, Korean coach Guus Hiddink said.

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Playing with such tension, it costs a lot of energy, physical energy as well mental energy.
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Guus Hiddink
Hiddink, who is a former coach of Real Madrid, has become a national hero in South Korea since he guided his side into the last eight of the World Cup.

Korean Airways have even offered the Dutch-born coach free first-class travel anywhere in the world for four years.

But Hiddink has no intention of going anywhere just yet as he insists on complete rest for his battered side ahead of the Spain game.

Among the injured are defender Kim Tae-young, who sustained a broken nose in the first-half and midfielder Kim Nam-il who twisted his ankle.

Hiddink said: "We have a disadvantage regarding the Spanish team, they have already been off for two days.

"In these circumstances, playing with such tension, it costs a lot of energy, physical energy as well mental energy.

"For me, the most important thing is not so much to train but to recover.

Guus Hiddink
Hiddink is a national hero in South Korea
The South Koreans will be hoping for their fourth shock win of the World Cup against the Spanish - after beating Portugal and Poland in the group stages before knocking out Italy.

Their success has been built on speed and stamina - and Hiddink is keen to have a fully fit side on Saturday.

"I want them to take the initiative, and then we'll see at the end where we are," he said. "So far, it brought us good results."

Striker Ahn Jung-hwan, who headed home the winning golden goal against Italy, said South Korea will draw on Hiddink's Spanish experience.

He said: "I think he knows a lot about the Spanish players and can advise well about how to play.

"I think if we get some rest and study the strengths and weaknesses of the Spanish players, we can play, win or lose, a wonderful game."


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