SPORTS

Korea in search of opponents for Nov. football friendlies

By Yonhap
  • Published : Oct 10, 2017 - 16:04
  • Updated : Oct 10, 2017 - 16:04
BIEL/BIENNE, Switzerland -- South Korea's football governing body is in search of opponents for the men's national team's friendly matches next month, an official said Tuesday, with priority given to European and South American countries.

An official with the Korea Football Association said that South Korea plan to play two friendly matches at home during FIFA's international match day period between Nov. 6 and 14, and they are looking for opponents.

"Since World Cup qualification is ongoing on each continent, we have yet to find our opponents," the KFA official said. "However, we decided to play friendly matches with European and South American teams, so we're contacting officials there."

South Korea`s national football team players train at Tissot Arena in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, on Oct. 9, 2017, one day ahead of their friendly match against Morocco. (Yonhap)

South Korea affirmed their presence at the 2018 FIFA World Cup last month under head coach Shin Tae-yong. To beef up the Taeguk Warriors' preparation for the top football tournament, the KFA previously said it plans to organize at least 10 friendly matches before the World Cup kicks off next June.

For this month, the KFA has reached agreements with Russia and Morocco to play friendly matches. South Korea suffered a 4-2 loss to Russia in Moscow last Saturday and they are set to take on Morocco at Tissot Arena in Biel/Bienne later Tuesday.

The KFA official said it's not easy to reach an agreement with European teams at the moment because their World Cup qualifying round has yet to be completed. Besides World Cup hosts Russia, seven UEFA members -- Belgium, England, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Serbia and Spain -- have secured their spots at the top FIFA competition.

The KFA said it is first trying to talk to the seven European teams with World Cup tickets, but they're reluctant to come to South Korea due to the long travel time.

"When European teams come to Asia, they want to play at least two friendly matches," the official said. "Teams that want to face South Korea also look to play against China or Japan. With European World Cup playoffs scheduled in November, it's difficult to host friendly opponents."

Among European teams, Belgium and Wales could be considered favorites for the KFA since both nations are scheduled to face China on the road next month. Belgium will visit Guangzhou on Nov. 9, while Wales will take on China five days later in Nanjing. Belgium are also set to face Japan on Nov. 14, but the two sides have yet to confirm the match venue.

The KFA also said situation with South American teams is the same, as they're still vying for World Cup spots. Except Brazil, which was the first nation to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay all have to fight until their last match to secure a ticket to Russia. (Yonhap)