Korea trained behind closed doors in its FIFA World Cup base camp here on Saturday, as the clock ticked down on its opening group stage match against Russia.
Head coach Hong Myung-bo opened only the first 15 minutes of the team's session to the media on Friday and then kept the entire practice off-limits on Saturday here in Foz do Iguacu, southern Brazil.
Hong and his 23-man squad wrapped up an earlier camp in Miami and arrived in Brazil on Wednesday. At the opening of the Brazilian camp, Hong said the three-day period starting Thursday would be the most crucial one for his side.
Korea, competing in its eighth consecutive World Cup, will open Group H action against Russia on Tuesday in Cuiaba, about 1,100 kilometers north of Foz do Iguacu. Matches against Algeria and Belgium will follow.
So far in Brazil, Hong has emphasized the importance of shoring up defensive organization against Russia. Korea has dropped two consecutive tune-up matches, losing to Tunisia, 1-0, in Seoul on May 28 and falling to Ghana, 4-0, in Miami last Monday.
Players have said they have tried to improve their spacing and forechecking, with all outfield players asked to show more commitments to defense.
Korea is scheduled to depart for Cuiaba on Sunday.
At 57th in the latest FIFA rankings, Korea is the lowest-ranked country in Group H. Belgium leads the pack at No. 11, followed by Russia at No. 19 and Algeria at No. 22.
Korea enjoyed two days of sunny skies with warm temperatures before rain disrupted practice on Friday. The area received some showers earlier Saturday but it didn't rain in the afternoon.
Cuiaba, nestled in the central-west region of the South American country, is known for a tropical climate.
The temperature in Cuiaba during Korea's stay next week is expected to stay around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), with no rain in the forecast.
Korea selected Miami as the site of its earlier camp so that players could get acclimated to similarly humid conditions. (Yonhap)