All apologies for late preview, Tim Lee valiantly tried to get a preview but the website crashed and all his hard work in a top notch quality preview went down the drain last night. So we’re going to aggregate a preview using a few different sites. What you need to know is the match is set for today in the US (11 am EST) and Wednesday midnight in Korea. If in the US, the match is being streamed on ESPN3. Korea visits Tashkent – a win and 3 points will seal the deal for Korea to book their ticket to Russia 2018, a draw might do the trick providing surprising upstarts Syria doesn’t get a win away in Iran today.
Update on the roster, Ki Sung-Yeung did not make the trip to Tashkent – it’s been circulating that he is not quite fit enough yet recovering from knee surgery earlier this summer. He has yet to play for Swansea this season. The deep midfielder’s absence was felt last Thursday as Korea failed to break down Iran’s 10 man squad in a missed opportunity for the Taeguk Warriors.
Below is AFC.com’s brief preview:
A home win would see Uzbekistan, currently two points behind the Koreans, leapfrog their opponents and advance to a first-ever FIFA World Cup should Syria fail to win in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The visitors, meanwhile, will guarantee a ninth successive appearance at the tournament with a win, while a draw would mean Syria would need to defeat group winners Iran to take second place.
Uzbekistan go into the match after a 1-0 loss in China last week made it four defeats from five, while Shin Tae-yong’s side missed the opportunity to confirm the runners-up spot with a scoreless draw against Iran on Thursday.
Marat Bikmaev will be suspended for the hosts, while Choi Chul-soon misses out for the visitors as the teams look to end inconsistent campaigns with a place in Russia.
Here is Modern Seoul’s preview:
World Cup Qualification for South Korea concludes on Wednesday evening (midnight kick off Korea time) with a super important and must win game against Uzbekistan. South Korea go into the game at the Stadion Bunyodkor knowing that a win will seal a place in the finals, but a defeat might end all hopes.
AFC World Cup 2018 Qualifying Update
The Group A table so far;
Iran have already booked their place in Russia and are 7 points clear at the top of the group. South Korea sit in 2nd place, only a point ahead of Uzbekistan. Syria are 3 points behind them in 4th, with Qatar and finally China sitting at the bottom maybe now out of the running.
Uzbekistan vs. South Korea – Preview and Prediction (Wednesday September 6th 2016 at 12am – Korea Time)
South Korea have a strong recent history regarding World Cup Qualification, having made the finals 8 times on the bounce now. With their best performance coming in 2002 when they reached the Semi-Finals on home soil. They haven’t impressed during qualification so far and a defeat in Uzbekistan could mean a free summer next year. They also have an awful away record losing 3 and drawing 1 of their last 4 qualifiers away from home. They drew with Iran last week 0-0 and didn’t offer much going forward.
Key Player: Tottenham Hotspur Striker Son Heung-Min had a fantastic 2016-17 season for Tottenham and will be looking to bring some of that form into the national side.
Uzbekistan have never qualified for the World Cup since first entering back in 1998. They did however finish 4th in the 2011 Asian Cup. The home side require a win to secure at least a playoff place and possible spot in Russia in 2018. They’ve lost their last 2 world cup qualifiers, but both were away from home. At home they are generally stronger.
Key Player: Former Seongnam and Ulsan midfielder Server Djeparov brings in a ton of experience plus knowledge of the Korean playing system. He could be key for Uzbekistan.
These sides have played each other 13 times over the years with the record looking like this;
South Korea 9
Uzbekistan have only beaten South Korea once back in 1994. Korea won the last clash 2-1 back in November last year.
Uzbekistan 0 – 1 South Korea
They will be a very close game, with half an eye on the Syria-Iran game. We see Korea narrowly edging this one and claiming a place in Russia 2018. However recent form means it could go the other way.
I’m on the run but in a few minutes or in an hour I’ll try to get a prediction on Korea’s starting XI