Soccer-South Korea coach apologises for porous defence


By Angus MacSwan

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil, June 22 (Reuters) - South Korea coach

Hong Myung-bo blasted his team's woeful defending in their 4-2

World Cup Group H loss to Algeria on Sunday, saying the players

he picked had let him down.

"The defence wasn't what it should have been, our players

were not up to standard," Hong told reporters after the defeat

which left South Korea bottom of the group.

"I would like to apologise to the Korean fans and I promise

we will do our best for the next match," he said.

South Korea's defending had been a major cause for concern

in the leadup to the World Cup and slack play at the back cost

them a goal against Russia in their 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

"We did analyse the strategies but the result was such that

I could say it was not well done," Hong said.

"The result speaks for itself, so that was incorrect on our

part. But we have to look ahead. As we conceded a lot of goals,

there was a strategic mistake on our part."

Hong rejected any suggestion that South Korea had taken

Algeria too lightly.

"No we did not underestimate the team, we knew they were

strong," he said. "We were on the defensive and the defence was

weak. They were not concentrating and did not defend well."

Hong said there was a communication breakdown that allowed

Algeria to take a 3-0 first-half lead.

"There was not enough communication between the defensive

players," he said. "It was something we can learn from but the

three goals in the first half were really regrettable."

Hong said his team still have hopes of advancing.

"We still have one game left (against Belgium) and I want my

players to recover well," he said. "We have to recover very

quickly in the time remaining, make sure our players calm down

and prepare well. We haven't thought about a change in line-up

but we will do our best to the end."

(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum, editing by Ed Osmond)

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