Uli Stielike doesn’t want his team to mess their current situation in terms of WC qualification.
Right now, all the teams in both the AFC groups have played half of their games and at this stage, South Korea has kept itself in the top two where it needs to be if it has to book its flight to Russia directly.
In case it doesn’t happen to be so and South Korea comes three, it will have to play one more round which will actually be a tie against the team finishing no. 3 in the other group.
Stielike hopes that his team escapes that extra round and actually secures the direct qualification with a game or two in hand because it’s never a comfortable situation when it’s down to a do-or-die clash at the end.
Stielike had been off duty for the last 8 weeks and he spent that period roaming around Europe where he watched the games of the clubs his players are employed for and having watched those games personally, he is now in a better position to select his squad for the remaining qualifiers.
Obviously his toughest opponent will be China against which his team has to play away and China has recently been strengthened by the arrival of the new coach Marcelo Lippi who has been a world champion in the past.
On the question of how big a challenge China will be posing, Stielike was quoted as saying, “I expect it to be far tougher for this leg, but, I always have faith on my boys because their consistency over a period of the previous 18 months has been amazing and there is no reason why they can’t go and deliver another big performance over there.”