Brazil captain Thiago Silva says S. Korea ‘deserve our respect’

AL RAYYAN, Qatar– Brazil may be the heavy favorites against South Korea when the two countries clash in the round of the 16 in Qatar Monday night, but the Selecao captain Thiago Silva said on the eve of the match that he is not taking his opponents lightly.

“It’s a very difficult match. We’re aware of the Korean team’s skills,” Silva said at the prematch press conference at the Main Media Center for the FIFA World Cup in Al Rayyan, west of Doha. “I think we have good fitness to play against Korea. We shouldn’t take it for granted, thinking the game will be as easy as it was during friendly matches. Korea had a very difficult group. They managed to go to round of 16. They deserve all our respect.”
Silva and Co. pounded South Korea 5-1 in their most recent meeting, a friendly match in June in Seoul. But Silva said Brazil must be on guard against South Korea’s quick transition and counterattacks.

“They like to pass the ball and we need to limit their aggressiveness so we can qualify to the next round,” Silva said. “I insist our last game has nothing to do with the round of 16. We know it will be a difficult game but I will assure you we’re prepared.”

Silva said it was difficult for him to single out a few individual players from the Korean side, though he did highlight captain Son Heung-min and midfielder Lee Kang-in as two of the most technically gifted players for the Asian team.

“We know they’re very experienced and have high technical skills,” Silva said. “We’re working hard to minimize their impact.”

Both South Korea and Brazil finished their group play on Friday. Silva said South Koreans must be more fatigued because they had to beat Portugal in that finale, whereas Brazil still won their group despite losing to Cameroon 1-0.

“But this is the World Cup. Despite their fatigue, I am sure they are motivated and they want to reverse the result of our last friendly match,” Silva said.

Source: Yonhap news Agency