World Cup preview: Chung-Yong Lee on Korea Republic's hopes

Winger speaks as Korea prepare to open their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign against Russia

Chung-Yong Lee says he is hopeful he can help Korea Republic progress beyond the group stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Korea Republic’s campaign gets underway on Tuesday evening with a game against Russia in Cuiaba.

And having recently being named as Korea’s vice captain, Lee, playing at his second consecutive World Cup finals, spoke of his desire to progress beyond the group stages for a second successive tournament.

“Russia, Algeria and Belgium - every single team is very strong and experienced,” Lee told

“We have confidence in ourselves that can progress beyond the group stages and after that, we will see what happens. We continued to get better with each game and training session in the run up to the tournament.

“I think for us, the first game is the most important. We played Russia in a friendly match recently in Dubai. Although we lost 2-1, we played very well and learned a lot from the game.”

Korea booked their place at an eighth successive World Cup finals after a somewhat mixed qualification campaign.

The Taeguk Warriors only avoided a potential intercontinental play-off with Uruguay on goal difference, edging Uzbekistan in the final group stages of AFC qualifying.

And Lee believes that despite that turbulent qualifying campaign, his nation can be encouraged by the form of the side in the run up to the tournament.

He added: “Qualifying was difficult, as it went right until the last game. We weren’t strong enough, but we knew we had to improve. In the end, we qualified and that’s the most important thing. I’m happy for the end result, but every single game was very difficult in qualifying.

“The last qualifying game against Iran was very tense. I was on the bench and in the end it was a relief as it was very close. I was more nervous on the bench than I would have been had I been on the pitch!

“We lost the game to Iran, and thankfully Uzbekistan didn’t score more goals in their game against Qatar. If they had, we would have gone into the play-off.

“I think that in qualifying we know we were not good enough, but for the last seven or eight months there has been a lot of good progress. We’re a young team with many good, quality players.

“It is enjoyable to play in this team. There are a lot of technical players in the team right across the park. We like to play a short passing game with a lot of energy from every player.”

Korea's World Cup fixtures (All BST times)
Tuesday 17 June - Russia, 11pm
Sunday 22 June - Algeria, 8pm
Thursday 26 June - Belgium, 9pm
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