ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (Reuters) - South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong admitted his defense had been shaken during their 2-1 World Cup Group F loss to Mexico on Saturday which left the Asian side on the brink of elimination after two games.
The Koreans, beaten 1-0 by Sweden in their opening match, have conceded penalties in both defeats and on Saturday defender Jang Hyun-soo blocked Andres Guardado’s cross with his arm before Carlos Vela converted the resulting spot kick.
“It’s unfortunate that the defense was shaken and we couldn’t change it easily,” Shin told reporters.
“The defensive line really was shaken and as for Jang, he handled the ball but we couldn’t change the line.”
South Korea still have a slim chance of reaching the last 16 on goal difference if they beat defending champions Germany and Mexico beat Sweden in the final round of Group F matches.
“We gave away two penalties; it’s a problem but the defenders have lost confidence and it’s very unfortunate,” added Shin.
“I hope they will restore their confidence and fight for the next game especially.”
South Korea, who have won only one of their last 11 World Cup fixtures, reached the knockout phase most recently in 2010.
To achieve that result again, Shin believes his players must acquire more experience.
“Even if we have good players, we lack experience and we need to accumulate some in the future. It was our weak point during this tournament,” he said.
Reporting by Jack Tarrant and Julien Pretot, editing by Clare Fallon