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Korea’s First Test: United Arab Emirates

Posted January. 18, 2006 03:00,   


An evaluation soccer match between Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be held on January 18, 11:30 p.m. (Korea time) at Dubai’s Al Shabab Stadium.

All 22 Korean players are eagerly awaiting this match because it will be the start of the tests they must pass to be included on the final World Cup roaster.

The UAE team has a FIFA world ranking of 85, quite low compared to South Korea’s 29. Traditionally Korea has had the firm upper hand against UAE with 7 wins, 5 draws, and 1 loss. UAE is considered a weaker opponent than Greece (FIFA ranking 16), Croatia (20), and Mexico (5); the teams Korea will face on its overseas tour.

Dick Advocaat picked UAE as the first match opponent in hopes of boosting the morale of his players with an easy victory. But he also maintains that the UAE is an opponent to watch out for since its players are still in the middle of pro season and in top conditions, whereas Korean players have been on break after the K-League season ended.

There are two things Advocaat is trying to achieve in the UAE match. He wants to check each player’s physical condition, and test out as many strategies as possible to see how his players adapt.

Lee Dong-gook (Pohang) will be at the forefront of Korea’s offensive. In an eight versus eight mini game held during team practice on January 16, Advocaat placed strikers Park Ju-young (Seoul), Lee Dong-gook, and Lee Chun-su (Ulsan) all on the same team. Lee Dong-gook scored a goal in the mini game, displaying vigorous movement.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com