Forward riding wave of confidence into potential World Cup debut

South Korean forward Cho Gue-sung is nothing if not confident. The 24-year-old forward is never shy about telling everyone who will listen how great he feels ahead of his first FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“I’ve been able to stay in great form here,” Cho said after a training session on Saturday at Al Egla Training Site in Doha. “We’ve had two-a-days here before, but I am not tired at all.”

Cho, who won the K League 1 scoring title this year with 17 goals in 31 matches, could be asked to shoulder significant offensive responsibilities here. Captain Son Heung-min, usually South Korea’s most dangerous weapon, is still recovering from facial fractures. Even if he does play South Korea’s first Group H match against Uruguay next Thursday, Son will do so wearing a protective mask and his conditioning and fitness level will be a concern.
A veteran forward, Hwang Ui-jo, who once appeared to have the starting job secured, has been struggling mightily this season with his new club, Olympiacos FC in Greece. Hwang has yet to score in 11 matches for them.
“If I do get to play against Uruguay, it will be important to try to score as a forward,” Cho said. “But I also want to be someone that the team needs in key situations. The coaching staff has asked me to try to link up with other attackers and to help them feel comfortable making plays.”
As for his competition with Hwang, Cho said he doesn’t see any rivalry between them brewing, friendly or otherwise.
“I don’t see us as rivals. We’re a team,” Cho said. “We still rely on each other when trying to execute certain plays. I still think he’s the best.”
As confident as he is in his abilities, Cho understands Uruguay, ranked 14 spots above South Korea at No. 14, will give South Korea all they can handle.
“We’ve been studying film from their earlier matches. Their midfielders are really good,” Cho said. “They play with composure with the ball, and their transition from defense to offense is really fast. They are also quick in applying pressure. We have to be really prepared against them.”
The opening Group H match for these two countries kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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