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Korea to host Venezuela in first football match since World Cup

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Published : 2014-09-03 10:06
Updated : 2014-09-03 10:06

South Korea will host Venezuela on Friday in its first international football match since the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The match will kick off at 8 p.m. at Bucheon Stadium in Bucheon, just west of Seoul. It will be the first-ever meeting between South Korea and Venezuela.

South Korea is ranked 57th in the world, 28 spots below Venezuela.

South Korea will then face Uruguay next Monday in Goyang, northwest of the capital city.

The host will be without a head coach in these two matches.

South Korea has yet to hire a replacement for Hong Myung-bo, who resigned in July in the aftermath of the country's winless exit out of the World Cup.

Three assistant coaches will serve on the bench. Shin Tae-yong, a former head coach in the domestic K League Classic, will be joined by two assistants from Hong's regime, Park Kun-ha and Kim Bong-soo. Shin will be the de facto head coach by seniority. The 43-year-old is the oldest of the three by about two months.

The 22-man roster for the two friendlies features a dozen players who were on the World Cup squad, including captain Koo Ja-cheol of Mainz 05 and attacking winger Son Heung-min of Bayer Leverkusen, both based in Germany.

For these September matches, midfielder Lee Chung-yong of Bolton Wanderers will serve as captain.

Son is off to a fine start this season, having already scored two goals in the UEFA Champions League playoffs and another goal in the German League Cup.

Overall, 14 players are from overseas leagues. Among the eight players from the K League Classic is Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors striker Lee Dong-gook, the league's leading scorer this season with 11 goals in 22 matches.

The 35-year-old is also the league's all-time leader with 165 goals in 370 matches. The ageless wonder is sitting at 99 international matches for his career and is poised to join South Korea's "Century Club," a list of footballers who have played at least 100 international matches for the country. Only eight other South Koreans, including ex-coach Hong and retired former captain Park Ji-sung, are members of the Century Club.

Aside from Lee, members of the World Cup squad are expected to fill up most of the remaining spots in the starting lineup. Son is certain to occupy his familiar position on the left wing, with captain Lee Chung-yong on the opposite flank. Lee Keun-ho, a K League star who netted South Korea's lone goal in a 1-1 draw against Russia at the World Cup, could start as the secondary striker behind Lee Dong-gook.

Shin, the South Korean coach, has said the team will try to play an attacking style of football before the home crowds and he will only field the players in top form, instead of trying to give everyone a chance to play.

The Venezuelan players arrived in South Korea on Tuesday but canceled their afternoon practice for Tuesday and also the morning practice for Wednesday. They will hold their first session here later Wednesday and train again on the eve of the match.

Venezuela has brought a 22-man team. Salomon Rondon, a 24-year-old forward for Zenit Saint Petersburg in Russia, leads the current squad with 12 international goals in 34 matches. (Yonhap)

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