SPORTS

Natl. football team to have World Cup qualifying tune-up vs. pro club

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 17, 2017 - 11:41
  • Updated : Aug 17, 2017 - 13:56

The South Korean men's national football team will face a local professional club later this month to fine-tune its preparations for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, an official with the Korea Football Association (KFA) said Thursday.

South Korea will test their readiness for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers with a friendly against Suwon Samsung Bluewings at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, north of Seoul, on Aug. 26, according to the official. Suwon are currently third in the top-flight K League Classic.

In this photo taken on Aug. 14, 2017, South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong speaks at a press conference at the Korea Football Association headquarters in Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korea, led by head coach Shin Tae-yong, unveiled their 26-man squad on Monday for the two crucial World Cup qualifying matches. The Taeguk Warriors will host Iran on Aug. 31 and take on Uzbekistan five days later on the road.

In the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, South Korea are currently in second place in Group A, the last automatic qualification spot, with 13 points, just one point above Uzbekistan. Iran have already qualified for the quadrennial tournament after clinching the top spot in the group regardless of their remaining two matches.

South Korea will start their training at the NFC next Monday, about a week earlier than their usual schedule. Shin's side at first will be without Europe-based players due to their club duties, but will work early with players from the K League and Chinese Super League, according to the official. Sixteen players are expected to be available for the friendly against Suwon.

The official said Shin, who took the job last month after Uli Stielike's ouster, first proposed a friendly match to Suwon head coach Seo Jung-won, who is also a member of the KFA technical committee.

Shin is expected to test the team's defensive work in the friendly. He previously emphasized that they need to build up defensive cohesion ahead of the World Cup qualifiers. (Yonhap)