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S. Korean World Cup qualifier vs. Kuwait in limbo

All News 12:41 March 07, 2016

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea may not play their last match of the second Asian qualifying round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup this month following their opponents' international suspension, the local football governing body said Monday.

The Korean Football Association (KFA) said that FIFA, the world's top football body, will give its decision by Thursday about whether or not the World Cup qualification match between South Korea and Kuwait should take place at Daegu World Cup Stadium on March 29 as originally scheduled.

FIFA suspended the Kuwait Football Association last October after it failed to amend the country's sports law to prevent government interference in the national football body. All Kuwaiti teams and clubs were banned from international competition, and their senior national team's match against Myanmar last November was not played. Kuwait were forced to forfeit the match at a 3-0 loss.

The result allowed South Korea to secure a spot in the final round of the regional qualifications for the 2018 World Cup with two matches to spare. South Korea, which have six straight wins in their group, still have to host Lebanon on March 24 at Ansan Wa Stadium in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, before the Kuwait match.

South Korea, led by Uli Stielike, originally planned to use overseas-based players in the two remaining matches. With some of those players confined to the bench of late, the coach was hoping to help them stay sharp in the World Cup qualifiers.

But if their last match against Kuwait doesn't take place following the FIFA ruling, Stielike will have to send back his summoned players after just one match.

The KFA said that it is planning to have a friendly if the match against Kuwait doesn't take place, but has yet to find an opponent. Under FIFA rules, a friendly match held on an international match day by a national team must take place on the same continent in which the team's country is located.

"Most countries that we contacted are not accepting the situation that we should wait until Thursday for FIFA's notification," a KFA official said. "We can't go to Europe since our friendly match should be held in Asia."


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