Park pleased with progress

  • By: Cindy Garcia-Bennett, Press Association Sport, Durban
  • Last Updated: June 23 2010, 8:52 BST

South Korea captain Park Ji-sung was all smiles as his team reached their goal of making it to the last 16 of the World Cup.

Park Ji-Sung - delighted with South Korea progress.

The Manchester United midfielder earned the man-of-the-match award after his side's 2-2 draw against Nigeria on Tuesday.

The result allowed South Korea to progress as the second-place team in Group B and book a meeting with Uruguay in the knock-out round on Saturday.

"Our goal was to reach the round of 16 and for the first time, we have done this away from home," said a proud Park.

"We are very pleased we have achieved this in South Africa."

It was all the more rewarding considering that the Koreans came from behind and had to defend deeply in order to secure a point against winless Nigeria.

"All the players know how difficult it is to reach this stage so it's just great that we managed to hold on to this draw and go through," said Park.

"I think we prepared well and we deserved to remain alive in the tournament."

In stark contrast, Nigeria captain Kanu was depleted as his team came so close to reaching the second round only to see their hopes fade away.

"We knew that if we won we would have qualified," said the Portsmouth striker.

"We had our chances to win the game and that is why it's so disappointing."

Nigeria wasted a hatful of chances in the second half with Ayegbeni Yakubu missing the easiest of taps-in and substitute Obafemi Martins firing wide from close range.

"Right now I'm very sad as our tournament has ended," said Kanu.

Kanu did not feature in Nigeria's opening two defeats and only made his World Cup debut against South Korea.

"It's the manager's decision whether I played or not," he said.

"But I don't think any player can complain now.

"The fact is that we are out of the competition after failing to win a game."