INCHEON, April 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea women's football coach Yoon Duk-yeo said Wednesday his team will try to qualify for the round of 16 at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
He made his remarks as the women's national football team returned home with a ticket to the World Cup in France.
South Korea confirmed their World Cup presence by beating the Philippines 5-0 in their fifth-place match at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup in Amman, Jordan, on Monday. The continental tournament doubles as the final Asian qualifier for the 2019 Women's World Cup, with the top five nations qualifying for the showpiece event in women's football.
"We don't know which teams will be at the World Cup and the draw for the group stage has not been made at his moment," Yoon said of the 2019 World Cup. "It's too early to talk about our performance, but we'll first try to reach the round of 16."
South Korea will play in their third Women's World Cup next year, following their 2003 and 2015 appearances. Yoon, who has been leading South Korea since 2013, led his team to the round of 16 at the 2015 World Cup in Canada.
South Korea women's national football team head coach Yoon Duk-yeo speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport in Incheon on April 18, 2018, after his team returned home from Jordan having secured a ticket to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Yonhap)South Korea women's national football team head coach Yoon Duk-yeo speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport in Incheon on April 18, 2018, after his team returned home from Jordan having secured a ticket to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Yonhap)
Although they failed to reach the semifinals, South Korea were the only team that didn't concede a goal at the AFC Women's Asian Cup. Yoon said this was the most precious thing they earned from the tournament.
"From the Asian Cup qualifying round in Pyongyang last April, I want to thank the players who overcame this difficult process," he said. "We earned a lot of confidence by not surrendering a goal at this tournament, and this will provide positive energy to our preparations for the World Cup."
Yoon brought a 23-player squad comprising a mixture of veterans and young guns to Jordan. He said that each player did their job well.
"(Experienced) players like Cho So-hyun and Jeon Ga-eul led the team well, and others like Jang Sel-gi and Lee So-dam also carried out important roles," he said. "Young players like Jang Chang and Son Hwa-yeon blended with the team, so if we prepare well, I believe we'll see good results at the World Cup."
Yoon, however, admitted that his side needs to improve its firepower. South Korea did score five goals against the Philippines in the fifth place match and netted four goals against Vietnam, but against powerhouses Australia and Japan, they remained scoreless.
"Our attack wasn't that good, so in the remaining time, we'll try to fix this problem," he said. "Up to June 2019, we'll follow our road map to the World Cup, such as playing friendly matches. If the national football body can give a lot of support to this team like it did during the Asian Cup, I believe we'll have good results."