You may not think that a match in Seoul against Paraguay on Wednesday marks the start of the road to the 2010 World Cup for South Korea but it does. It is the first of what will amount to close to 20 preparation games for the Taeguk Warriors as they set their sights on South Africa.
Everything is now geared towards next June. Unlike most Asian nations, the Koreans don’t even have to worry about qualifying for the 2011 Asian Cup – that spot was clinched automatically after third place at the 2007 version. Coach Huh Jung-moo just has to think globally.
The game against Paraguay marks the first non-Asian opposition for the team since January 2008 – the first game of Huh’s reign. That match against the headline-writer’s dream that is Chile, was also the first and, to date, only loss that the team has suffered under the grizzled tactician.
An inter-continental Judi Slot match-up has been a long time coming. While it is hard to be too critical of that considering that the team has been working its way through the Asian zone of World Cup qualification, Japan has been doing the same but at the same time managed to squeeze games in against teams from Europe, Africa and South America.
Latin American adversaries have often caused problems for South Korea and Paraguay, ranked 28 places above the host at number 20 in the world; will be a tough test as it prepares for vital World Cup qualification matches against Bolivia and Argentina in September. Two good results there should see the boys from Asuncion ascend to the summit that is South Africa.
The Seoul media, and no doubt a good number of young women in the capital, are disappointed …