Both Japan and Saudi Arabia believe they are exhausted.
|Verbeek said that dissatisfied Koreans need a “real
vision of international football” [AFP]
Pim Verbeek, Korea Republic’s Dutch coach, was clearly a disappointed man after his side’s 4-3 penalty shoot-out loss to underdogs Iraq at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Wednesday night.
After enduring a tough group in which his side recorded one win, one draw and one loss to finish second, then a win on penalties against Iran after 120 minutes of scoreless football, Verbeek again had to sit through a goalless match and extra-time, only to lose in the shoot-out this time around.
At the post-match press conference, Verbeek was quizzed by the media on his coaching plans for the future, and if he would be involved in Korea’s upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.
“I’m not thinking of the World Cup qualifiers, I’m just very disappointed about what we failed to achieve here,” the Dutchman replied curtly.
“I have made my decision already, but I’m not telling you.
“I’ll keep the Korean media excited for the next few days.”
Korea failed to score in four hours of football, a statistic not missed by the Seoul press and the Korean fans.
Add that to a 1-1 draw in the group stage against fellow semi-finalists Saudi Arabia, a shock 2-1 loss to lowly Bahrain, and a tentative 1-0 win over joint-hosts Indonesia, and the tournament, on paper at least, hasn’t been great for the Taeguk Warriors.
Verbeek was then asked what his reaction would be to fans back in Korea who were upset with the team’s disappointing performances at the Asian Cup.
“If the Korean fans think we didn’t have a good tournament, then they need to get a real vision of international football,” the coach replied.
“I think a lot of countries would be proud of their team fighting until the last second for 120 minutes. I would be proud.
“We were not outplayed once at the tournament. If the Korean people don’t think that’s good enough, then it’s not my problem, it’s the problem of the Korean people.”
Verbeek finished the press conference on a positive note however, saying that his side would fight hard for third place, even though they are physically drained after their two extra-time matches.