South Korea v Paraguay: Stielike to steer Asian nation on journey

8 October 2014 06:31

South Korea coach Uli Stielike said he is looking forward to taking his side on a “journey”, as he prepares for his first game in charge.

The German, 59, will be in the dugout for the Koreans’ hosting of Paraguay in Cheonan on Friday, just the Asian nation’s third match since a failed World Cup campaign.

Stielike’s appointment saw the former West Germany international take charge of a third national team, after stints with Switzerland (1989-91) and Ivory Coast (2006-08).

“Today, the South Korean national team embarks on a new journey,” Stielike said.

“I hope the coaches and players will bring new attitudes to the table.

“They will have to work hard at every practice and try to win every match to reach the hearts of our fans.”

Stielike did hint South Korea’s friendlies with Paraguay and Costa Rica – the latter on Tuesday – will see him experiment with the line-up and formation.

“In modern football, it’s important to have flexibility with tactics,” he said.

“The key is for our players to make adjustments. They’re all smart players and I have confidence they’ll be able to follow.”

Stielike has just four matches to tune his side up before the Asian Cup begins in Australia in January.

The Paraguayan camp built some confidence of late, going unbeaten in their past three outings.

Victor Genes’ men beat Cameroon 2-1 in May, before a 1-1 draw with France and a scoreless stalemate with United Arab Emirates.

Striker Jorge Benitez (thigh) and defender Marcos Caceres (arm) are the only two players unavailable for Genes’ side due to injury.

The two nations have met twice previously, their first meeting in 2005 ending 1-1 before South Korea enjoyed a 1-0 friendly win in August 2009.