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Germany won't fear anyone

World Cup Group F
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 By John Duerden

South Korea aim to avoid Spain, Brazil, Germany in WC draw - Ki

Jason Dasey and Gary Phillips assess what Australia must improve upon ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson discuss Son Heung-Min and Ki Sung-Yeung's call-ups for South Korea and their race to be fit.

South Korea captain Ki Sung-Yueng already knows which teams he does not to be grouped with when the draw for the 2018 World Cup is made in Moscow on Dec. 1.

"Every team at the World Cup is stronger than us," Ki told reporters before returning to Swansea City in the Premier League. "But I hope we can at least avoid Spain, Germany and Brazil."

There is, however, greater self-belief around the 2002 World Cup semifinalists after events of the last week. After a dismal 2017 in which the Taeguk Warriors won just one out of eight games, the team seem to have to returned to some form.

On Nov. 10, Korea defeated 13th-ranked Colombia 2-1 in Suwon and then drew 1-1 with 27th-ranked Serbia in Ulsan four days later.

"It is disappointing that we did not manage to beat Serbia, but it is another good result for us and we have gained in confidence," Ki added. "We can meet teams like Serbia at the World Cup and it is good experience for us to play them."

Captain Ki Sung-Yueng, left, says South Korea simply can't compete with the likes of Germany and Brazil.

The encouraging performances came as coach Shin Tae-yong, appointed in July to replace the fired Uli Stielike, switched to a 4-4-2 system.

It seemed to work with more compact and organised performances. It also helped Son Heung-Min score twice against Colombia, playing alongside a partner in attack.

The Tottenham Hotspur forward, often played out wide for his country, insisted that he did not mind whether his strike partner was Lee Keun-Ho or Koo Ja-Cheol.

"Playing with Keun-ho gives me more space as he keeps defenders away while Ja-Cheol provides quality passes. I'm fine with playing with either one up front."

Son has been in good form in the Premier League and was delighted to score goals number 19 and 20 for his country.

"I am always happy to score for my country," Son said, before adding it was a team effort. "We still have work to do but we are looking forward to the World Cup."

John Duerden covers Asian football for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.

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