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Team Korea to Face UAE for Beijing Olympics

Posted March. 14, 2007 07:08,   


Will Team Korea be able to score another victory in an away match? The Korean football national team led by Dutch coach Pim Verbeek will face their counterparts from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the second round qualifying match for the 2008 Beijing Olympics of Group F in Dubai today.

The UAE is 87th in the FIFA ranking, far behind 44th ranked Korea. Although South Korea leads the UAE in head-to-head "A" matches with seven wins, two losses, and five draws, its away record is two wins and an equal number of losses and draws.

Given the history that Verbeek was the head coach of Team UAE for two months in 2005, expectations are high on what strategies he will demonstrate against his old team. Team Korea has recorded no losses in preliminary Olympics matches since the qualifying games for the 1992 Olympics (13 wins and two draws).

Korea won the first preliminary round over Yemen 1-0, but it was not a satisfactory performance. Adding to the worries is the loss of Park Chu-young, one of the key strikers in the under-23 squad, who should miss the game with the UAE due to a red card he received in the previous match.

On the other hand, Team UAE is composed of players who had been playing together since last year’s Doha Asian Games. The UAE players must win this match to survive the preliminaries as it lost in the first group match against Uzbekistan 1-2 on February 28. Korean players need to take heed of the top three strikers of the 4-3-3 formation squad, who are renowned for their fast, threatening moves.

For Team Korea, the vacuum created by absence of Park is likely to be filled by two players, Yang Dong-hyun and Seo Dong-hyun, with a formation change to 4-4-2.

Korea’s offense, which has been rather oppressed due to the tight defense of its opponents, need quick passes to counter the defensive moves of the UAE. Swift-footed Kim Seung-yong and Lee Seung-hyun will be the two side midfielders while center midfielders will be Baek Ji-hun and Oh Jang-eun. The four defensive players will be Park Hui-chul on the left, Kim Jin-kyu and Kang Min-su in the center, and Kim Chang-su on the right.

SBS Sports will broadcast the game between Korea and UAE live, along with four other second round games starting with the match between Australia and Jordan from 5:30 p.m.