Preview: South Korea @ Iran

After winning against Jordan in a lackluster showing on the road, the Korean National Team arrived in Tehran on Sunday to prepare for their match against Iran. Let’s look at the KNT landscape as the friendly approaches:

Coach Stielike expects his players to be victorious again, which he (oh so subtly) hinted at during his 60th birthday celebration on Saturday, by saying that a win would be the team’s birthday gift for him! To increase the chances of that happening, he has saved his stronger players for this match. You’ll find notable elements about some of them below:


Two news sources confirmed Tim’s speculations for the goalkeeper role, which Kim Seung Gyu will take. After seeing Jung Sung Ryong at the goalpost, KSG gets his chance to confirm his spot at the upcoming Asian Cup.

Kwak Tae Hwi and Jang Hyun Soo will replace the Kim Young Gwon – Hong Jeong Ho defensive duo, while Cha Du Ri and Park Joo Ho will feature a second time in this match.

Along with expressing his satisfaction with Park Chu Young’s composure on the pitch during Friday’s friendly, Coach Stielike has told Lee Keun Ho to tie up his laces for this upcoming game. This means LKH has recovered from his back spasms to do so.

A KFA news report stated that Coach Stielike has been trying out different combinations of attacking players, which partially explains why he replaced Koo Ja Cheol and Kim Min Woo with Son Heung Min and Nam Tae Hee for this upcoming friendly. Those player selections support his previous promise to have his players deliver a more direct, attacking style of play.

South Korea has had a rough 9-7-11 record against the Iranian Lions, and hasn’t managed to snag a win away from home, with 2 draws and 3 losses under its belt in that front. The 1974 Asian Games marked the first time that both teams faced each other in Tehran, when the Iranians won 2-0. The Taeguk Warriors managed to tie 2-2 with them during a 1978 World Cup Qualifier. Currently, Iran’s FIFA ranking is 51, currently the highest of any Asian football team, while the Warriors stand at 66.

Stielike was smart to save his best players for last, given this record, the KNT’s bumpy past with the Iranians, and the intense atmosphere of Azadi Stadium. Yonhap News described the setting as “one of the most intimidating environments in Asian football”, with a capacity of 100,000, which will be filled with only men, because Iran has banned women from being in public stadiums. Also, Azadi Stadium is situated on a hill that’s more than 1200 meters above sea level, which will pose a physiological challenge for the KNT members as they play on the pitch. Will they break their losing streak away from home?

Snazzy Facts

Date: Tuesday, 11.18.2014

Time: 7:55AM EST, 9:55PM KST

Location: Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran.

Broadcast: SBS MBC in Korea. If you’re not there, now’s the time to get creative.



  1. Is it just me, or does Stielike seem to use Nam Tae Hee more than previous coaches? Btw I’m not minding this at all, I still remember a time when Nam was still considered very promising; maybe the new coach saw some sparks the other coaches missed? Or has Nam rediscovered a little of what it was that made others compare him to Messi I think it was way back when?

    Also, considering all the lineup experimentation Stielike has been doing, how open do u guys feel he’d be to maybe giving Lee Seung Woo a cup of coffee on the senior side? It goes w/out saying Stielike must be VERY aware of LSW, & keeps a close eye on his progress @ Barca. Might he give young Mr. Lee a senior taste-test @ sum pt soon? Not all in, mind u, just an initial preview; gotta start somewhere 😛

    • Nam is certainly playing a more significant role under Stielike thus far, but we’re just four games in. We’ll see if Nam can maintain his status within the team over the long haul. Some have speculated that, because he coached in the mideast, Stielike holds the region/players who play there with a higher regard than other managers.

      The topic of LSW and the senior side came up after the U16 AFC Championships (I wrote a lengthy post on it). Stielike was asked about him, and he appeared to pour cold water on the idea.

    • wasnt bad in the sense that we’re not losing but… I feel like watching Korea play is a waste of time because its always so boring and dull

      • you sure you’re watching the same game as me? this has been great as far as Im concerned. i see some real improvement so far over the last match

        • We lost? Dammit. Im the opposite of some of you. I watched the 1st half instead of the 2nd. I was just too tired. But weren’t we a bit impressive with the ball movement in the 1st half? Final third has always been an issue but I felt we did really well in possession, and I got the sense some of the Iranians didnt know what was hitting them. They looked a bit panic to contain.

  2. maybe korea and iran should play more often. might make for a decent rivalry in asian soccer, considering the contentiousness i just saw. lol.

    i only got to see the second half, but that was pretty disappointing. i’ll say that the defense at least wasn’t quite as horrible as in the past. the GK was decent though i couldn’t see exactly what happened on the goal because of a popup ad. stupid ads always popping up at crucial moments. however, they were again horrible at connecting the midfield to the final third. the more i watch though, i’m having trouble buying jae’s criticism of pjy particularly regarding lack of getting shots off. it’s hard for me to blame any of the forwards, even if they aren’t good when i consistently see korea just disintegrating in the final third. constant turnovers and poor service seems to doom them, no?

    also, why is kth not keeping his composure? it’s not like the iranians didn’t do anything that almost every team does when they’re winning with just a few minutes to go.

    • btw, i agree that the ref stunk and things probably escalated because of officiating. but still, i didn’t really think it made sense when you are down and in need of a desperation goal to be losing composure and wasting more time. also, pjh was lucky not to get a second yellow. he was pretty reckless out there.

    • Was only able to watch the 2nd half like you.

      1. Anyways, I’m not sure if defense was any better since Iran sat back for most of the game. Didn’t like the misplaced passes from the back (JHS, YSY and etc were all guilty of it at times).

      2. As for no connection between midfield and attack….. a lot of that blame should be directed at Koo.

      3. Criticism on PJY is fair to me. He did nothing once he came on…

      4. Yea, I didn’t like how Kwak Tae-Hee acted or over-reacted.

      • it seems to me though that almost any forward seems to do nothing. i’m not saying we can’t criticize, but how much of it is on the forwards, i don’t mean just pjy. i can criticize their lack of conversion on the chances they get. maybe i haven’t watched carefully, but chances and even involvement seem hard to come by with the lack of connection and the constant turnovers. and if much of that blame should be towards koo, so be it. as for the defense, i did state, “not quite as horrible”. i apologize if that sounded like a ringing endorsement. lol

Join in the Tavern's conversations -Leave a comment...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.