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Hong: Asian football in a transitional period

The South Korea coach admits that results for the entire continent have been a worry, but claims it is no reflection on the talent the countries are producing.

South Korea coach Hong Myung-bobelieves the disappointing results of Asian nations at the World Cup reflect the fact that football in the continent is in a transitional phase.

Japan and Iran have both been eliminated from the competition with just a point each from their three group games, while fellow AFC qualifier Australia lost three from three in Brazil.

Korea meets group leader Belgium in Sao Paulo on Thursday with only a point to its name and a mountain to climb if it is to progress, but Hong suggests not all is bleak in Asia.

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"The results haven't been that great, it's true. Maybe Asian football is in a transition period right now. The football is improving but we're not getting the results," Hong told a pre-match press conference.

"This World Cup is very tough, very physical and compared to Asian football it is very different. Individual Asian players have improved but I think this is a turning point for our football."

South Korea gained a creditable draw against Russia in their opening fixture but a 4-2 loss to Algeria means it heads into the clash with Marc Wilmots' side knowing their destiny is not in their own hands.

But Hong insists that his players still have a long international future ahead of them.

"I don't think this will be our players' last game," he added. "They will not stop here, they are our future.

"For me personally, asked to compare the experience to when I was a player, I cannot compare. The World Cup is something I experienced as a player, but I will do my utmost to fulfil my role as a coach."

The former international defender has been called into question for the faith he has shown in striker Park Chu-Young.

But he insists the team has to do more to help the Arsenal player, who has yet to have a shot at goal in two starts.

"He actually plays a very important part for our team. In the first match I didn't think he played that badly, and in the second match we didn't create a lot of chances in forward areas. Overall, I think Park Chu-Young gives stability to our team and we need to make more chances for him."

Korea needs a win as well as a favorable result from the simultaneous fixture between Algeria and Russia to progress.