(ATTN: ADDS players' comments in last 5 paras, photos)
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- Entering South Korea's second match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, head coach Kim Eun-jung is taking the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra to heart.
South Korea will face Honduras in their second Group F match in Mendoza, western Argentina, at 6 p.m. Thursday, or 6 a.m. Friday (Seoul time). South Korea stunned France 2-1 to open the group stage Monday and can clinch a knockout berth by beating Honduras, depending on the result of the France-Gambia match earlier Friday.
Speaking on the eve of the match in Mendoza, Kim said he will stick to what worked against France.
"We're preparing for this match from many different angles, but there won't be major lineup changes," Kim said in a video clip released by the Korea Football Association. "There is no easy match in this tournament. We won the first match, but it's already in the past. We have to start fresh and be prepared as thoroughly as possible."
Honduras lost to Gambia 2-1 to open their tournament Monday and face a virtual must-win situation against South Korea.
"They have some strong players with good individual skills," Kim noted. "We are trying to figure out the best ways to beat them."
In the days leading up to the tournament, Kim had expressed concerns about his players' conditioning, because most of them had not been playing regularly for their clubs. And playing France, considered among the title favorites, in the opening match took its toll on his players, though coming away with the win has done wonders for the players' mental and physical recovery, Kim noted.
"They are all recovering quickly," the coach said. "And the guys who didn't play Monday are staying ready because you never know when they're going to get their number called."
One player likely to start his second straight match is Portimonense midfielder Kim Yong-hak, who assisted on South Korea's first goal against France.
He echoed his coach's sentiment about sticking to what has worked so far.
"Before facing France, we had worked on exploiting space behind the defense, because of how aggressive their center backs are in offensive situations. It led to a great result for us," Kim said. "I think we will have to do the same against Honduras. Against quick transition, Honduras players tend to struggle with their spacing. We have to take advantage of that."
With Kim and other attackers looking to put a few goals on the board, defender Choi Seok-hyeon will look to keep Honduras at bay.
"They are deceptively fast and they can send some sharp crosses from the wings," Choi said. "I will try to prevent them from taking crosses and help us get a clean sheet."