September 02, 2021 10:39
Korea faces Iraq in Seoul on Thursday as the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar begins.
Korea, ranked 36th in the world, is looking to qualify for its 10th consecutive World Cup. It is grouped with Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and the UAE. With all of the team's opponents located in the Middle East, the long travel distances involved are expected to be physically draining for the Korean players.
Korea will face Lebanon at home on Sept. 7 in the second match.
The other group for the final round comprises Australia, China, Japan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the World Cup in Qatar.
The Korean roster includes key members Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur, Hwang Ui-jo of FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Kim Min-jae of Fenerbahçe S.K. The overseas-based players did not arrive in Korea until Tuesday, giving them just a day to train with their teammates.
Iraq appointed Dick Advocaat of the Netherlands as its manager in July, and the team trained in Spain and Turkey last month before coming to Seoul for the scheduled match. Advocaat managed the Korean national team from 2005 to 2006.
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