|PIC1|Lee Young-pyo, South Korea's defender in its World Cup football team, and a devout Christian, has said the number of Christians in the squad would have a positive effect on their World Cup challenge.
"In 2002 we had six or seven players who were Christian. Now we have 12," Lee told reporters on Sunday as the squad prepared for the Group G clash with Togo in Frankfurt on Tuesday.
"This is a very good thing for us because I believe the 12 players will make us much stronger. I believe Jesus will give me a good result at this World Cup."
According to Lee, the players meet on a regular basis to discuss their faith, although it was difficult for them to get to church during the intense training programme coach Dick Advocaat had put them through in Scotland and Germany.
In addition, despite his excellent performance in South Korea's 2002 exploits towards the semi-finals, Lee humbly claimed that he did not consider himself a leader, although he was happy to counsel several of the younger players.
"We are always getting together and I can talk about tactics and individual movement and stuff but I don't think I'm a leader on the field," he said.
"Every Korean player is a leader on the pitch."
|TOP|Lee added that it was a pity former captain and inspirational leader Hong Myung-bo had retired, although he then added that Korea had a wealth of experience in 2002 veterans Choi Jin-cheul, Kim Nam-il and Song Chong-gug.
"We have prepared so well for this World Cup we can meet all the expectations placed on us," Lee said.
"Our first goal is to get to the second round. But the main thing is to show everyone that we have improved from 2002."
Other countries in Group G include France, Togo and Switzerland.
Christian Beliefs Will Bring Success, says South Korea Football Player
Lee Young-pyo, South Korea's defender in its World Cup football team, and a devout Christian, has said the number of Christians in the squad would have a positive effect on their World Cup challenge.
Published 12 June 2006