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S. Korea to face Moldova, Jamaica, Latvia in pre-World Cup friendlies

All News 17:26 January 08, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will take on Moldova, Jamaica and Latvia in pre-World Cup football friendly matches starting later this month.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced these three countries as South Korea's opponents during their training camp in Antalya, Turkey.

Coached by Shin Tae-yong, South Korea will work out in Turkey from Jan. 22 to Feb. 4. They will face Moldova on Jan. 27, then Jamaica on Jan. 31 and Latvia on Feb. 3.

All matches will kick off at 10 p.m. Korean time, KFA said. Venues will be determined later.

In this file photo taken on Dec. 15, 2017, members of the South Korean men's national football team practice before taking on Japan at the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Championship Football Championship at Ajinomoto Stadium's West Field in Tokyo. (Yonhap)

South Korea, ranked 60th in the world, have drawn world No. 1-ranked Germany, No. 16 Mexico and 18th-ranked Sweden in Group F at the World Cup in Russia. KFA had tried to schedule friendlies against European and Central American opponents in preparation.

No Nordic nations were available, due to prior commitments, and the KFA settled on two Eastern European nations.

South Korea have never before faced 167th-ranked Moldova, which didn't qualify for the World Cup.

South Korea have two wins and a draw all-time against No. 54 Jamaica. Most recently, South Korea blanked Jamaica 3-0 in Seoul in 2015.

Latvia, ranked 132nd, and South Korea have gone toe-to-toe once in 2010, with South Korea prevailing 1-0.

Kim Dae-up, head of KFA's national team supervisory committee, said finding available opponents was difficult because the January-February period wasn't part of the official FIFA international match calendar.

In this file photo taken on Jan. 5, 2018, South Korean men's football head coach Shin Tae-yong speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport after returning from a scouting trip to France and England. (Yonhap)

"Coach Shin wanted to put players through actual games, and we've managed to schedule three matches," Kim said, adding that Jamaica should help South Korea prepare for Mexico since the two countries are from the same region.

Shin will announce his 23-man training camp roster next Monday. Stars based in Europe, such as Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min, will not be available, and Shin will carry players from South Korea's K League, Japan's J. League and the Chinese Super League.

Since the World Cup roster will likely include close to a dozen players from Europe or other leagues outside Asia, the upcoming camp could be the last opportunity for Asia-based players to make their World Cup case.

After the camp, South Korea will face Poland in another friendly on March 28.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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