I’m the Taegeuk Warrior Killer…’2 wins’ against Korea, Zhang Linfeng “There are many good players, we need to be at our best”

November 21, 2023 | by

Chinese national team defender Zhang Linfeng has spoken about the upcoming match against South Korea, saying that the defense needs to be prepared and show its best side.

China will face South Korea in their second Group C match of the 2026 North American Football Confederations Cup Asia Second Qualifying Round at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center at 9 p.m. ET on June 21.

China also pulled off a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Thailand in their previous match. The Chinese won 2-1 in the first leg of their Asian Second Qualifying Round Group C match against Thailand at the Ratchamangala National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand on Nov. 16. After falling behind to Sarach Yun in the 23rd minute, Wu Lei’s goal in the 29th minute and Wang Sangyuan’s late winner in the 29th minute turned the game around.

Against South Korea, however, it’s hard to be optimistic about a win. The Koreans are vastly superior in terms of objective strength, and they’ve been in dominant form of late, including a 5-0 thrashing of Singapore.

What China can look forward to is a win in their most recent home match against South Korea.

China had previously beaten South Korea 1-0 in the Asian final of the 2018 Russia World Cup in Changsha, China, in March 2017, thanks to a header from striker Wei Dabao. However, the Chinese have struggled in their last four matches against South Korea, drawing one and losing three.

Defender Zhang Linfeng, who is also expected to start, has two previous victories against South Korea. Zhang Linfeng started and played the full game against South Korea in the 2017 World Cup final qualifier, playing a key role in the Changsha disaster.

Zhang Linfeng was also on the field for China’s first ever A-match win over South Korea.

China and South Korea met in the third round of the 2010 East Asian Football Confederation Cup in February 2010, and prior to that match, South Korea were unbeaten against China with 16 wins and 11 draws. However, on this day in Tokyo, China cruised to a 3-0 victory.

China jumped out to a quick lead with a goal from Yu Hai in the fifth minute of the first half, before Gao Lin added another in the 27th minute. In the 15th minute of the second half, Deng Zhuoxiang stunned fans when he dribbled past four South Korean defenders and rattled the Korean net with a direct shot finish. Zhang Linfeng was 21 years old at the time.

However, when asked about his memories of the victory at the pre-match press conference, Zhang Linfeng replied, “I’m not a person who focuses on the past. I will focus on tomorrow’s game,” he said.

“As the coach said, Korea is a team with many good players, so the defense has to prepare and show the best version of itself. We will analyze every aspect of Korea’s game and do our best,” he said, emphasizing only that he will do his best.

Zhang Linfeng also spoke about his excitement for the match against Korea, saying, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many reporters at a press conference. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game. We had a good start in the World Cup Qualifiers, and we will try to maintain our good performance against Korea tomorrow at home,” he said, adding that he hopes to continue the momentum from the win against Thailand.

If Zhang Linfeng plays against South Korea, he will join the Century Club by playing his 100th A-Match match.

“I will cherish every moment of my 100th match, and I want to reward my fans with a good performance,” Zhang Linfeng said, emphasizing his performance against South Korea.

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