Monday, January 10, 2011

Korea vs Bahrain 16:15GMT

The Taeguk Warriors are Asia's most successful World Cup campaigners, having progressed to the finals on eight occasions and last year reaching the knockout stage outside their own country for the first time.
However, Asian Cup glory has eluded them since 1960 and the importance of making a winning start to the tournament against Bahrain in Group C tomorrow has not been lost on coach Cho Kwang-rae.
"The first match of the tournament is the most important," he said. "We have prepared well for this with a training camp in Abu Dhabi and I am confident the players will do a good job against Bahrain.
"I have watched videos of them and also seen them play live so our analysis is done. They are a strong team in general so I am sure it will be a difficult game for us."
This year's tournament looks set to be the last for influential captain Park Ji-sung, who seems almost certain to end his international career to focus on his commitments with Manchester United.
And the 29-year-old plans to utilise his vast international experience to help some of the younger members of the squad, who are playing in a major tournament for the first time.
"We have a number of young players without international experience so I will tell the boys to enjoy the game and once they are comfortable I am sure they will have no problem," Park said.
"All the players in the squad are in the right condition to win this tournament and everyone is focused on achieving our target."
Bahrain, meanwhile, are waiting to discover if captain Salman Isa will be passed fit to play.
With key players Mohammed Salmeen and Hussain Salman having missed out on the tournament due to injury, coach Salman Sharida is hoping he will not receive further bad news as he bids to improve on Bahrain's previous best performance at the tournament in 2004, when they finished fourth.
"Salman Isa is under treatment now and his condition is improving by the day," Sharida said. "He took part in training today so there is around an 80% chance of him playing."

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