FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: South Korea v Iran
Qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup is up for grabs in Ulsan when South Korea host Iran on Tuesday.
Many eyes will be on Tashkent, however, as both sides know that if Uzbekistan fail to beat Qatar, they will qualify for Brazil no matter what the result.
Korea sit on top of Group A with 14 points from seven matches, their victory over Uzbekistan last Tuesday moved Choi Kang-Hee’s side a point clear of their final-round opponents and within touching distance of the finals.
Should they qualify, it will be Korea’s eighth consecutive World Cup finals appearance and their ninth overall, their best finish came in 2002 when they finished fourth on home soil under the guidance of Guus Hiddink.
Iran are looking to reach the finals for the first time since 2006 after failing to make it to South Africa. If they qualify, it will be their fourth World Cup appearance, but the pressure will be on coach Carlos Queiroz to improve their record.
They have only won once at the finals, a 2-1 victory over USA in 1998, and have never got past the group stages of the competition.
A late surge from Queiroz’s team has seen them leap above Uzbekistan in the table and into contention for a top-two finish, they have also scored five goals in their last two matches without conceding and will be aiming to recreate the 1-0 victory they had over Korea in the first meeting in the group.
Iran will hope the meanest defence in the fourth round of qualifying will be able to nullify the second-highest scorers. Iran have conceded just twice in their seven matches, while Korea have notched 13.
Sun 16 June, 2013