By Andrew Downie
SAO PAULO, June 25 (Reuters) - South Korea are set to continue with misfiring striker Park Chu-young for their must-win World Cup match against Belgium on Thursday, with coach Hong Myung-bo hoping his team create more chances as they bid to stave off an early tournament exit.
The frontman has been a controversial choice for the Koreans, who need to convincingly beat Belgium in Sao Paulo and hope the Russia-Algeria result goes their way if they are to have any chance of qualifying from Group H.
Belgium have already qualified with two wins from two while Algeria are in pole position for the second berth after securing three points from a win against South Korea. Russia and the Koreans have one apiece.
Park, who scored 24 goals in 66 internationals coming into this tournament, has disappointed so far but Hong suggested he will stand by his man.
"It is important to have him for the overall balance of our team," Hong said on Wednesday, shortly after his players trained at the Corinthians arena.
"In the first match I don't think he played that poorly, in the second match I think that we didn't make enough chances and in addition to that our defence wasn't strong and so we conceded goals and that is what led to our defeat.
"But overall I think that Park Chu-young in the middle is the one who creates a balance in the team and so he has fulfilled his role but we haven't made enough chances for him to make a goal."
The Koreans, a lowly 57th in the FIFA rankings - below every other team in the tournament bar Australia - drew their first match 1-1 with Russia and were then thumped 4-2 by Algeria.
"We have to reduce the number of goals we concede and score as many as we can," Hong said. "We have to score a lot of goals and we have to win in order to survive that is the strategy we have to think of.
"I think they (Belgium) will be more at ease, less tension but I don't think that means they will be less skillful. "They are very good and it is up to us to match up to them." (Editing by Justin Palmer)
- Sports & Recreation
- Park Chu-young
- South Korea
- Hong Myung-bo