Eriksson wary of North Koreans
Sven Goran Eriksson has warned against underestimating North Korea in Group G despite being outsiders.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 17/06/10 1:11pm
Sven Goran Eriksson has warned against underestimating North Korea in Group G despite their status as rank outsiders.
In a group containing Portugal, Brazil and Eriksson's Ivory Coast team, the Koreans were seen as the group's whipping boys after coming into the tournament for the first time since 1966 with no reputation to speak of.
Eriksson's side played out a drab goalless draw with Portugal on Tuesday, whereas the Koreans impressed with a plucky performance against the strongly fancied Brazil, eventually succumbing to defeat but grabbing a consolation goal at the end of the match in a 2-1 loss.
North Korea are due to face Portugal on Monday in Cape Town, before heading to Nelspruit for their final group game against the Ivorians on 25th June.
Carlos Queiroz originally announced that either his or Eriksson's side would be direct contenders to battle with Brazil for qualification, but, despite the Swede sharing the Portugal coach's sentiment, he admitted that the North Koreans should not be dismissed before they even enter the field.
"On paper, I agree with Carlos Queiroz - on paper," said Eriksson. "But pay attention to North Korea, you never know.
"South Korea play good football and if I am not wrong, South Korea and North Korea were both in the same qualification group, so I think we should respect them.
"You never know what will happen in the next round of matches and how important the last games will be."