Korea Earns Long-Sought Win Against Iran in World Cup Qualifier

  • By Sung Jin-hyuk

    March 25, 2022 09:57

    Son Heung-min and Kim Young-gwon scored a goal each on Thursday to lead Korea to a 2-0 victory over Iran in the ninth match of the final round of Asian qualifiers for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar slated for November.

    Korea hosted Iran at World Cup Stadium in Seoul and earned its first win over the Middle Eastern country in 11 years since its 1-0 victory in a quarterfinal match at the Asian Cup in January 2011. It had since recorded three draws and four losses before Thursday's win. 

    Son Heung-min reacts after scoring a goal in a match against Iran in Seoul on Thursday.

    Korea moved ahead of Iran to the top of its group with 23 points from seven wins and two draws. If it wins its final qualifying match against the UAE on March 29, it will finish off the qualifying round as the group leader.

    Iran now has 22 points from seven wins, one draw and one loss.

    A capacity crowd of 64,375 fans packed the stadium for the sold-out match. It was the largest crowd for a sporting event in the country since social distancing rules were enforced in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was also the 10th match to attract a sell-out crowd since the stadium opened in 2001.

    A card stunt was performed by spectators who held up cards reading "We missed you." 

    Football fans cheer during Korea's match against Iran in Seoul on Thursday. /News1

    "Football fans have missed seeing Korean players in person at stadiums, and players have longed to hear them cheering. They expressed their feelings with the card stunt," an official at the Korea Football Association said. "It also meant that they wanted to see them win over Iran, whom they hadn’t beaten for 11 years."

    After the match, the crowd rose as one to applaud the team's victory. Waving their hands, the players took a victory lap of the field to thank them.  

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