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Korea confirm football friendlies with Uruguay, Panama, Uzbekistan

South Korea will play friendly football matches with Uruguay, Panama and Uzbekistan later this year, the national football governing body said Tuesday.

The Korea Football Association said South Korea, now led by new head coach Paulo Bento, will face Uruguay on Oct. 12 and take on Panama four days later. Both matches will be held at home, but the exact venues will be decided later.

The KFA added South Korea will meet Uzbekistan in Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 20, three days after they play against Australia at the same city.


The latest announcement finalizes the match schedule of Bento's South Korea before entering the 2019 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Bento is set to make his South Korea coaching debut against Costa Rica in Goyang, north of Seoul, on Friday and will guide the men's national football team against Chile in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, next Tuesday.

Uruguay, known for star strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, reached the quarterfinals at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and lost to eventual champions France.

South Korea, currently No. 57 in the latest FIFA rankings, have never beaten fifth-ranked Uruguay. The Taeguk Warriors have an inferior head-to-head record of one draw and six losses. Both sides last met in 2014 in Goyang, where hosts South Korea suffered a 1-0 loss.

Panama, ranked No. 69 in the world, made their World Cup debut in Russia, but they failed to pass the group stage against Tunisia, England and Belgium.

South Korea have never met with Panama. The KFA said Panama will be a good sparring partner since they reached the World Cup ahead of teams like the United States in the regional qualifying stage. 

Both Uruguay and Panama will also visit Japan to play friendly matches there.

The KFA said November friendlies with Australia and Uzbekistan are directly aimed at preparing for the AFC Asian Cup in January.

Uzbekistan, ranked No. 95, are likely to mostly comprise their team with under-23 players who won the AFC U-23 Championship and competed at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, where South Korea edged them 4-3 in extra time.

Uzbekistan recently appointed former Egypt boss Hector Cuper as their new head coach.

"We'll test our competiveness against World Cup participants in October, and we'll be entering the Asian Cup mode in November," said Kim Dae-eop, who heads the national team supporting office at the KFA. "We believe upcoming friendly matches will be a big help for our national football team." (Yonhap)