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Exhausted North Korea vow to lift for crunch Germany game

19 September 2007 07:15

TIANJIN, China (AFP) - An exhausted North Korea have vowed to fight to the death against defending champions Germany on Saturday after reaching the women's World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

The Asian giants finished second in their group after impressing against the United States, holding the world number ones to a 2-2 draw, and then downing African champions Nigeria.

The world number fives lost 2-1 to European heavyweights Sweden on Tuesday, but, with the points already on the board, the scoreline was enough to qualify them for the knockout stage on goal difference.

"In our next match with Germany, we'll be doing everything we can to get the win. We'll rely on our strengths and fight every step of the way to reach the end of the tournament," Korean coach Kim Kwang Min said.

Germany finished top of Group A and are on target to defend their title after trouncing Argentina 11-0, beating Japan 2-0 and earning a goalless draw with England.

Kim conceded the game against Sweden had been a "grind" with his players worn out after their encounters against two-time champions the United States and Nigeria.

"Our first two games were fiercely contested, so, by the time this match came around, the players had nothing left in the tank and weren't fully focused," Kim said.

"Simply put, the match was a real grind for us. Once we went behind, we kept on attacking because attack is the best form of defence."

The two-time Asian Cup champions have failed to reach the quarters at their last two World Cup attempts. But they have impressed in China with ferocious attacking and successful long-range shots at goal.

Korea won the Under-20 World Cup in Moscow last year, and many of those players are now in the national team here.

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