Natl. football team trying to schedule friendlies in Europe in Oct.

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 23, 2017 - 13:54
  • Updated : Aug 23, 2017 - 13:54

South Korea's national football team is trying to schedule friendly matches on the road in October if it qualifies for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, an official with the Korea Football Association said Wednesday.

The KFA official told Yonhap News Agency that South Korea will have two friendly matches in Europe during FIFA's international match period in October. The official said the KFA is currently in search of opponents, who will likely be non-European nations.

"During the FIFA match day in October, UEFA member countries play their World Cup qualifying matches, so it's difficult to have a match against European teams," the KFA official said. "At this moment, South Korea are likely to face teams in Africa."

South Korea`s national football team players train at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, on Aug. 22, 2017. (Yonhap)

The official, however, said this plan will be processed only if South Korea qualify directly for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. With two matches remaining, the Taeguk Warriors are currently second in Group A in the final Asian qualifying round with 13 points, seven points behind the already qualified Iran and just one point above third-place Uzbekistan.

South Korea are scheduled to host Iran on Aug. 31, and will take on Uzbekistan five days later in Tashkent.

In Asia, the top two teams from each group directly advance to the World Cup in Russia and third-placed teams have to go through playoff rounds to earn their spots at the football's showpiece event. If South Korea end up third in the group, they will have to prepare for home-and-away playoff series against the No. 3 team in Group B in October before entering the two-legged inter-confederation playoffs against a fourth-place team from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football in November.

Since European World Cup qualification matches are scheduled from Oct. 5 to 10, while the South American and the CONCACAF qualifiers are also to be staged during that period, South Korea have limited options as far as selecting opponents. The African qualification, however, is only set for Oct. 2, which raises the chances of playing friendlies against teams from the Confederation of African Football.

"The schedule for friendlies will be determined if South Korea qualify for the World Cup," the official said. "But since we needed to prepare for the friendly matches in advance, we are asking other teams about playing us." (Yonhap)