Park targets knockout rounds

Man Utd midfielder determined to get past group stage

Park: Targeting final 16

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Captain Park Ji-sung has set his sights on South Korea reaching the last 16 at the World Cup in South Africa.

"It is the first World Cup in Africa and we hope it will be the first round of 16 we will have reached away from Korea."

Park Ji-sung

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The Taeguk Warriors, who have appeared at every edition of the tournament since 1986, reached the final four in 2002 on home turf, but failed to make it past the group stage in Germany four years ago.

However Manchester United ace Park, who will lead his side against Greece in Saturday's opener before facing Argentina and Nigeria in Group B, is determined the Koreans can progress to the knockout rounds this year.

Honour

"It is the first World Cup which has been held on the African continent, so it is truly an honour to be here," said Park.

"It is the first World Cup in Africa and we hope it will be the first round of 16 we will have reached away from Korea.

"My objective for this World Cup is that round of 16. I am not thinking of anything else but that."

Skipper Park's short-term objective is to start the campaign on a high note, and he says he is fully focused on facing Greece on Saturday.

"The only thing I am thinking about is tomorrow's match and about what I have to do tomorrow. That's the best way for me to concentrate on tomorrow's match," he said.

"I don't think about the past. We have to look forward and what is most important for the team is to find a way to win against Greece. Besides that, I am really not thinking about anything else."

Park believes his time in the Premier League with United has boosted his confidence ahead of the tournament, adding: "It has given me a lot of experience and also I could get a feel for the atmosphere and I think that will help me relax a little bit more because I have played in a lot of major matches."

Improved

Meanwhile, South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo is urging his side to step up and prove themselves on the international stage.

"The moment is here for us to show that Korean football has improved, not only in Asia but also on the world stage," said Huh.

"This is the time to show the rest of the world what we can do."

The South Korea boss concedes he is wary of Greece's height advantage going into Saturday's curtain-raiser.

"Compared to Greece our players are shorter so they will probably play a lot in the air and rely on set-pieces," he added.

"But if height was the only factor I'd put on a side of basketball players."