The South Korean men’s national football team, led by head coach Paulo Bento, will be able to confirm their 10th consecutive participation in FIFA World Cup as early as January of next year.
In a Group A football match at the Thani Bin Jassim Staidum in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday, South Korea beat Iraq 3-0. This is the first time South Korea scored three goals in the final group rounds. It is also the first time since June 2012 that South Korea clinched a victory in an away match against Qatar. South Korea has remained second in Group A with four wins and two draws, extending their undefeated streak to six matches. Iran stands in first place with five wins and one draw, defeating Syria 3-0.
South Korea has earned the opportunity to confirm their second place finish in Group A, which guarantees a ticket to the World Cup finals, by widening the gap with the third place. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands in the third place and Lebanon in the fourth following South Korea.
The UAE is eight points behind South Korea. Lebanon and Syria will face South Korea on Jan. 27 and Feb. 1, respectively. After the match with Lebanon, each team will have three games left. If South Korea manages to be more than 10 points ahead of the third place, it will advance to the finals regardless of the remaining match result. If South Korea beats Lebanon and the UAE ties with or loses to Syria on the same day, South Korea will confirm its participation to the finals.
By scoring a penalty earned by Cho Gyu-sung, Son Heung-min scored his 30th international goal in 96 matches. Son’s first penalty attempt was successful, but he had to try it again as Jeong Woo-yeong moved into the penalty box before Son shoots the ball. In his second attempt, Son scored a penalty aiming at the center of the goalpost. Son celebrated his goal, making a heart sign with his hands just like he did 10 years ago, when he scored his international debut goal in an Asian cup match against India in January 2011.
Jeong Woo-yeong showed impressive performance with his fast attack and shooting abilities although he made Son shoot a penalty again. Jeong, who is called “Little Jeong Woo-yeong” as the national team has another player with the same name, scored his international debut goal at the same stadium where Son scored his debut goal.
Won-Hong Lee firstname.lastname@example.org