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S. Korea trounced by Spain in World Cup qualification warm-up

All Headlines 08:32 May 31, 2012

BERN, Switzerland, May 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's national football team lost to Spain 1-4 in a friendly held here Wednesday ahead of the final Asian qualification round for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

South Korea and Spain tied 1-1 in the first half, but the former conceded three goals in the second half.

The friendly came before South Korea faces Qatar on June 8 in the final Asian qualification round for the World Cup.

"We felt a wide gap with Spain. I checked out overseas Korean football players in the first half and replaced many of them in the second half," head coach Choi Kang-hee said after the match.

"On the basis of today's experience, we will be well prepared for our match against Qatar."

Qatar, ranked 84th, has beaten South Korea just once in five head-to-head matches so far.

Ten countries have qualified for the final round of the World Cup.

In March, South Korea, the No. 31 team in the FIFA rankings, was paired with Iran, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Lebanon in Group A. Group B features Australia, Iraq, Jordan, Oman and Japan.

South Korea will end the campaign on June 18 next year with a home game against Iran.

The top two teams from each group will punch their tickets to Brazil. The two third-place nations will enter a playoff for an extra chance to qualify.

South Korea has played in every World Cup since 1986 and co-hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan.

South Korea was a surprise semifinalist at the 2002 World Cup, defeating football giants Portugal, Italy and Spain en route to a fourth-place finish.

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