DPR Korea eager to earn elusive win

Canberra: Coach Jo Tong-sop vowed to change both personnel and strategies in search of already-eliminated DPR Korea’s first AFC Asian Cup win in 35 years when they take on Group B winners China at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.

DPR Korea exited the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 after a 4-1 defeat by three-time winners Saudi Arabia in Melbourne on Wednesday following an opening 1-0 loss to 2011 fourth-placed side Uzbekistan.

Although both teams’ places in Group B have already been decided – China as group winners and DPR Korea finishing in fourth regardless of the result in Australia’s capital – Jo will look to finish his campaign with three points, thereby improving upon the Chollima’s performance in the 2011 edition when they were eliminated from the group stages after picking up a single point.


“For the next match there will be a slight change in formation and the selection list to get the best possible result in this tournament,” said Jo, who was also in charge of the national team during the AFC Asian Cup four years ago.

“The match against Uzbekistan I think we lost because we did not anticipate correctly their attack down the wings, our defence was not prepared for that.

“And against Saudi Arabia, the players were too excited once they conceded the second goal and did not defend properly. That is the main reason we were tactically defeated.

“I don’t want to blame the players; my leadership, my instructions, my plans and projects were not good enough. Training and playing tactics for the match was not perfect; I think that was the reason for the losses.”

Neighbours and Sunday’s opponents China are currently on an upward curve, though, having qualified for the AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals for the first time since they hosted the tournament in 2004.

And Jo knows that his side will be in for a tough challenge should they wish to gain a first continental championship win since the 1980 tournament.

“I watched the two games of China and the Chinese team is good in terms of physical fitness and they are technically and tactically prepared well. The combination and leadership of the coach is very good, I think,” said Jo.

“I don’t feel any difference between this (match) and previous matches. As we did in the last matches we do our best to show our full skill, there is no difference.

“Like the other teams, we also wanted to prove our skills when we prepared for the tournament and it did not work out very well.

“After this tournament when we get back to our homes we will analyse the matches and what was lacking and what has to be covered, everything, and we will find out the way to improve it.”