|Title||Grateful S. Korea coach looks forward to fresh start at Women World Cup|
OTTAWA, June 17 (Yonhap) -- After South Korea secured a knockout berth at the FIFA Women's World Cup with a 2-1 win over Spain on Wednesday, head coach Yoon Duk-yeo said his team will be entering a whole new competition.
Substitute Kim Soo-yun scored the go-ahead goal in the 78th minute to give South Korea its maiden win at the quadrennial tournament and lift the team into the knockout stage for the first time. South Korea, ranked 18th in the world, will take on No. 3 France at 4 p.m. Sunday in Montreal.
Yoon said the victory will allow his team to begin the knockout stage "with a clean slate."
"I'd like to thank our players for accomplishing our goals of getting the first win and reaching the knockout stage," Yoon said at the post-match press conference. "This is a significant day for myself personally, one I will remember and cherish for a long time."
Yoon acknowledged France will be a difficult opponent, but his players will not go down so easily.
"I think France is a force in women's football, and we have long ways to go to catch up," he said. "But we will give everything we have on the pitch. We will try to put up a good fight as the challenger."
South Korea finished second in Group E with one win, one draw and one loss, having scored four goals and conceded five.
France won Group F thanks to two wins and a loss. It netted six goals and gave up two.
It will be a rematch of a group contest at the 2003 Women's World Cup in the United States, where France prevailed 1-0.
Eugenie Le Sommer scored three goals in the group stage. The forward enters the knockout stage with 47 goals in 108 career matches.
Marie Laure Delie, another forward, remains the career leading scorer on the French team here with 59 in 88 matches. She scored once against Mexico in group play.
"We gave up too much space too easily and let them penetrate at will in the first half," Yoon added. "In the second half, we put more pressure in midfield and snatched control. We were able to go ahead after that."
Ji So-yun, the South Korean forward named the Player of the Match against Spain, said she felt a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
As one of South Korea's most visible players, the Chelsea Ladies' star said she'd been under pressure to deliver the goods in her first World Cup.
"I'd promised the fans that we'd get to the round of 16 and I am really happy I could keep it," she said. "I may be going overboard but this felt like we just won the World Cup."
She said France will be tough to beat but South Korea is a team on the rise.
"We have the momentum now," Ji said. "France is a great team but we will show that we won't be a pushover."
Kim Soo-yun, the lucky goal scorer, also said she believed the team can hang with the Europeans.
"If we can recover (from the latest match) and play our game, we will have a good result," Kim added.
Recalling her game-winner, Kim said she didn't even try to score on the play.
"I was just hoping to get an assist and sent the cross, and I got lucky," she said. "At first, I didn't know it was a goal. The whole thing didn't hit me right away, and I got a lot of goosebumps."
Kim usually plays as a wing forward for her pro club in South Korea, but Yoon switched her to a fullback for the tournament.
"I played the first game of the club season on defense and Coach Yoon apparently liked what he saw," Kim said. "Looking back, I can now say this has been a rather successful transition."
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