SPORTS

Korea's key World Cup qualifier to be played in Seoul

By Alex Park
  • Published : Jun 30, 2017 - 14:37
  • Updated : Jun 30, 2017 - 14:37

A key World Cup qualifying match for South Korea next month will take place in Seoul, the national football governing body said Friday.

The Korea Football Association said the match against Iran in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be played at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Aug. 31.

South Korea are currently in second place in Group A with 13 points, holding on to the last automatic qualification berth while sitting just one point above Uzbekistan with two matches to play. Iran have already secured a World Cup spot as the group leaders with 20 points.

South Korea are in search of a new head coach after sacking Uli Stielike earlier this month following a 3-2 loss to Qatar on June 13. They're trying to qualify for their ninth consecutive World Cup.

In this file photo taken on March 28, 2017, South Korean men's national football players stand for the national anthem prior to their World Cup qualifying match against Syria at Seoul World Cup Stadium. (Yonhap)

Five days after hosting Iran, South Korea will travel to Tashkent to close out the qualifying round against Uzbekistan.

Third-place teams from the two groups in the final round must go through a playoffs for their final shot at playing in the World Cup.

The KFA said it had considered hosting the event in a city outside Seoul, but it wanted to reduce the travel distance for the team to the airport after the match and ensure the players would be fresher before the finale in Uzbekistan.

South Korea have nine wins, seven draws and 13 losses against Iran all-time. They haven't beaten Iran since January 2011 and have lost each of the past four meetings by the score of 1-0. (Yonhap)