Players report to final camp before World CupExactly one month before the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, head coach Yoon Duk-yeo said Tuesday he’ll try to lead the country to a second straight trip to the knockout round.
Yoon opened training camp for 27 players at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi, on Tuesday. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup takes place from June 7 to July 7 in France.
Yoon will announce his final roster of 23 players following the team’s final practice at the NFC on May 17. The team will depart for Sweden on May 22 for some tuneup matches before traveling to France on June 2.
Korea will face France, Norway and Nigeria in Group A, and their first match will be against the host nation on June 7 at Parc des Princes in Paris.
This will be the eighth edition of the top women’s tournament, and Korea will be making their third appearance. They were eliminated in the group stage in 2003 and made it to the round of 16 in 2015.
“Our goal is to reach the round of 16, as we did in 2015,” Yoon said at a press conference at the NFC. “In order to beat France, Nigeria and Norway, our players have to be in the best possible shape they can be.”
France is the top-ranked nation in Group A at No. 4, followed by Norway (No. 12), Korea (No. 14) and Nigeria (No. 38). The top two nations from each of the six groups, plus the four best third place teams, will advance to the round of 16.
Yoon said that as ambitious as he may sound, he also realizes Korea will face an uphill battle.
“We have to look reality squarely in the face,” the coach said. “Though we have improved, we aren’t yet among the top teams in the world. We have to go out there and play with energy against some of the European powers.”