DPR Korea national team coach Ra Pong Gi emphasised his players’ improving physical strength after their tense 2-0 win over Guam on Wednesday in the EAFF E-1 Football Championship Round 2 Men’s tournament.
After being stymied by an organised Matao defence in the first half, So Hyun Uk broke the game open in the 67th minute and Pak Kwang Ryong put the game away with his late free kick.
“We didn’t play well in our first match (against Chinese Taipei), but we are getting physically stronger the more we play”, said coach Ra Pong Gi, who spoke to media instead of suspended head coach Jorn Andersen.
“We believe (against Hong Kong) our players will play like they did today and rely on their physical strength, tactics as well as psychological strength.”
Despite elimination from contention for next year’s final tournament, Guam manager Darren Sawatzky was satisfied with his players’ performance against highly-touted opposition.
“For the majority of the game, the players did a great job,” the American coach said after the match. “If we could have taken an early chance, the result might have changed, but I’m happy with the guys. They played really hard.
“We still have a long way to go, to build an organized and fit team. We’re still missing some pieces.”
Guam will face Chinese Taipei in the early match on Saturday at Mong Kok Stadium, while DPR Korea will need just a draw against hosts Hong Kong to qualify for next year’s final tournament in Japan.