Monday 23 July 2018

Sweden play down spying row with South Korea ahead of World Cup clash

The two nations clash in Nizhny Novgorod on Monday.

Son Heung-min will be hoping to shine for South Korea at the World Cup (Lee Jin-man/AP)
Son Heung-min will be hoping to shine for South Korea at the World Cup (Lee Jin-man/AP)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Sweden coach Janne Andersson has played down a spying row with South Korea ahead of Monday’s World Cup clash between the two countries in Nizhny Novgorod.

One of the Andersson’s coaching staff attended a Korea training session during their pre-tournament preparation camp in Austria and was asked to leave.

Andersson, whose side beat Italy in a play-off to qualify, insists this was a simple misunderstanding as they had thought the session was open to the public.

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Andreas Granqvist is Sweden’s captain in Russia (John Walton/PA)

Speaking through an interpreter at his pre-match press conference, Andersson said: “He heard about a practice session. He didn’t understand it was a closed session and he was asked to leave.

“It is very important that we show respect for opponents, always and in every way. If it has been perceived in another way, we apologise.

“For 99 per cent of the time we are mainly interested in what happens in a match situation. You are turning something small into something bigger, making a mountain out of a molehill.”

The matter does not seem to have fazed Korea coach Shin Taeyong, although he admits attempting to confuse onlookers at recent sessions by switching player numbers.

Speaking at his press conference through a FIFA interpreter, Shin said: “I think we wanted to confuse the Swedish team. That is why we did that.

“I think all coaches probably feel that the other team is spying on them. There is always something we have to do to analyse the other team and we do what we can to win the match. I think it is natural to try to understand the other team.”

Both sides are hoping to challenge reigning champions Germany and Mexico in Group F.

Sweden have struggled for goals in recent outings but Andersson has worked hard to address the issue.

He said: “There are many different ways to score and many different ways you can do it in our way of playing. We have worked a little bit more on our attack now in the last few days and I hope that tomorrow it will work and we will score.”

Sweden are expected to have much more support inside the stadium but Shin is unconcerned.

He said: “Our lads have lots of experiences on big stages around the world. Even though the fans might be from Sweden, we’d think of them as Korean fans cheering for us.”

Press Association

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