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Emblen defiant in defeat

New Zealand's men's football team are staying positive in the build-up to the Olympics, despite losing 2-1 to South Korea in Seoul.

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The Oly-Whites played better in their penultimate warm-up against the Koreans than they had in the 1-1 draw against Japan, insisted coach Neil Emblen.

A skilful back heel finish from Ji Dong-Won in the 18th minute put the home side ahead before striker Shane Smeltz levelled with a clinical finish in the 73rd minute from an Adam Thomas cross.

Hopes of a second draw on their trip to Asia loomed until Park Jong Woo took a long pass on his chest, turned his man and slotted the ball past substitute goalkeeper Michael O'Keeffe.

Emblen believed the performance was a "definite improvement" on their earlier effort.

"South Korea had their share of chances and could've punished us, but we asked the players to be braver on the ball and we created more chances," he said.

"Korea were causing us trouble out wide but we addressed that at halftime and went toe to toe with them for a long period in the second half.

"There's still plenty to work on but there was some positive things out there and we just need to hang on to those while we continue to improve those other areas."

All Whites defender Tommy Smith, in England resting a hamstring strain, will be the last of the nine players not involved in the qualifying campaign to join the side when they meet up in London.

Adam McGeorge and Tim Myers also missed the South Korea match through injury and illness, respectively.

Emblen said Gleeson's groin injury would be assessed fully by team medical staff but early signs of recovery were promising.

The Kiwis face the United Arab Emirates in their final warm-up match, in Austria on Friday.

The Oly Whites open their Olympic campaign against Belarus in Coventry on July 27 (NZT). They also face Egypt and Brazil in Group C.

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