MOSCOW, Russia – South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong hailed the unfancied Asians’ momentous 2-0 World Cup victory over defending champion Germany on Wednesday, June 27, but admitted it left him feeling “a little bit empty.”
A pair of late goals from Kim Young-gwon and Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, combined with a superb display from goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo helped South Korea create one of the greatest shocks in the history of the tournament.
But unfortunately for the South Koreans, who had been given no hope following defeats to Mexico and Sweden, it was not enough to secure their passage to the last 16 for the first time since 2010.
“I feel great but at the same time I feel a little bit empty, so I feel a little bit ambivalent,” Shin said when asked to put his side’s historic feat into context.
“Yesterday we said there was only a 1% chance and so I told my players it really was a last-ditch effort for them and I told them that they had to fight until the end.
Germany, the 2014 champions, Confederations Cup champions and FIFA’s top-ranked team, was eliminated at the first hurdle for the first time since 1938.
“[The Germans] are the defending champions and number one in the FIFA ranking, so I thought about what mistakes Germany might make, because they probably felt they would be able to beat us – that’s what everybody thought.
“I thought we could use that as a reverse strategy and that has really hit the nail on the head.”
Sweden’s 3-0 win over Mexico in the group’s other match meant the pair advanced on 6 points apiece. South Korea, on 3, finished 3rd, ahead of Germany on goal difference.
Shin said he took some encouragement from his side’s performance.
“We’re not going to the last 16, but we did manage to beat the champions and the world number one team,” he added.
“I hope we can build on that, manage to improve and do better in the future.” – Rappler.com