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S. Korea to train in Turkey in Jan. ahead of World Cup qualifiers

15:21 November 30, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean men's national football team will set up training camp in Turkey in January before the final World Cup qualification round resumes later that month, the sport's national federation said Tuesday.

An official with the Korea Football Association (KFA) said the men's team, coached by Paulo Bento, will train in Antalya, Turkey, from Jan. 9 to 23 and will also try to schedule two friendly matches during that time.

South Korea will play Lebanon on Jan. 27 and then Syria on Feb. 1 to continue with their World Cup qualifying campaign.

In this file photo from Nov. 16, 2021, Son Heung-min of South Korea (R) celebrates his goal against Iraq with teammates Cho Gue-sung (L) and Hwang In-beom (C) during the teams' Group A match in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Thani bin Jassim Stadium in Doha. (Yonhap)

After six out of 10 matches in the current phase, South Korea are in second place in Group A with 14 points from four wins and two draws. Iran are leading the group with 16 points.

There are two groups of six, and the top two nations from each group will book tickets to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The two third-place teams will meet in a playoff, with the winner moving on to the last-chance intercontinental playoff.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are a distant third with six points in Group A. If South Korea beat Lebanon and the UAE lose to Syria on Jan. 27, then South Korea will lock down one of the two automatic berths in the World Cup.

South Korea have played at every World Cup since 1986 in Mexico.

In this file photo from Nov. 16, 2021, South Korea head coach Paulo Bento speaks at a press conference after a 3-0 win over Iraq in the teams' Group A match in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Thani bin Jassim Stadium in Doha. (Yonhap)

South Korea also had a pre-World Cup camp in Antalya in January 2018 and played friendly matches against Moldova, Jamaica and Latvia.

The training camp will not fall inside the FIFA international window, meaning clubs aren't obligated to release players for the occasion. Bento will not likely have his Europe-based stars, such as Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur and Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers, for camp. The coach will instead have longer looks at players from the domestic K League who will try to stake their claim to roster spots ahead of the World Cup.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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