Jong eyes positive farewell
North Korea striker hopes to upset Ivory Coast in final group game
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: 24/06/10 1:52pm
Tae-se: Wants strong finish
North Korea striker Jong Tae-se is determined to bow out on a high after recovering from their 7-0 drubbing by Portugal.
North Korea gained much respect for their performance in the 2-1 defeat by five-time winners Brazil in their Group G opener.
But Tae-se, who has caught the eye in South Africa for both his combative style and emotional reaction to the national anthem, admits he was left shell-shocked by the Portugal setback.
That put paid to any hopes of emulating the side that reached the 1966 quarter-finals, where they lost 5-3 to Portugal.
Tae-se insists that blow is behind them now, though, and has warned Ivory Coast they will no push-overs in their final group game.
"Our World Cup is not over yet," he wrote in his blog.
"The Portugal game was such a crushing defeat as you all know. We showed how clumsy we were, amid growing expectations due to our good performance against Brazil.
"I spent almost a whole day with blank eyes because of the mental shock that was tens of times greater than what I felt after the Brazil game.
"But I am writing now to put it behind me and prepare for the next match."
Born and bred in Japan, Tae-se has played for J-League side Kawasaki Frontale since graduating from an ethnic Korean university in Tokyo in 2006 and has now been linked with German side Bochum.
The 26-year-old, whose mother is North Korean, has scored 15 goals in 24 internationals since making his debut in 2007 and is eager to improve that record against Ivory Coast, who still have a slim chance of qualifying for the second round.
"Our next opponents may be too much for us in terms of capability," he added.
"But I want to put my heart and soul into taking three points.
"That is how we can repay everybody who has been supporting us in this tournament."
Ivory Coast need to beat North Korea in Nelspruit on Friday and hope Portugal lose to Brazil while also wiping out a nine-goal deficit in goal difference.