FIFA World Cup: South Korea need spirit of 2002 vs Belgium

Sao Paulo: Struggling South Korea will need to rediscover the magical spirit of 2002 as they fight to rescue their dismal World Cup campaign against unbeaten Belgium.

Belgium set to rest Eden Hazard
Belgium set to rest Eden Hazard 

After drawing with Russia and losing 4-2 to Algeria, Group H's bottom side need to win big against already-qualified Belgium if they are to stay in the tournament.

Logic decrees the Koreans will soon be following fellow Asians Japan home as their attack has been largely toothless so far, coupled with severe problems in defence.

But coach Hong Myung-Bo can draw at least on his experiences at the 2002 tournament, when he was part of the team that shocked the world by reaching the semi-finals.

That year, Guus Hiddink's team and some favourable refereeing decisions helped Korea upset Portugal, Italy and Spain.

This time around, things have been different. In South Korea's favour is that Belgium, who are top of the table with maximum points, are expected to rest some of their first-choice players.

Centre-back Thomas Vermaelen looks set to miss out with a hamstring strain but coach Marc Wilmots may give more game time to Chelsea's Eden Hazard, who is yet to hit top form.

"I haven't played well yet at this World Cup but I've made a difference and that's what the coach has asked of me," Hazard said.

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