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Qatar - South Korea Preview: Taeguk Warriors aim for positive start to final round World Cup qualifying campaign
Choi Kang-Hee's side get their final round qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014 underway in Doha on Friday, while the hosts will be looking to build on Sunday's win in Lebanon
By Ben Somerford
Majid, Al Hamad, Kasola, Al Ghanim
Lami, Rizik, Mubarak
Khalfan, Soria, Ahmed
Choi HJ, Kwak TH, Lee JS, Kim YK
Ki SY, Kim DH
Lee KH, Koo JC, Kim BK
Annabi coach Paulo Autuori will be looking to continue his side's bright start to qualifying and he's boosted by having a strong squad to choose from. Only back-up goalkeeper Rajab Hamza and midfielder Hussain Ali Shebab unavailable due to injuries. Promising young striker Yusef Ahmed is back in the national team fold after a recent long-term injury and he'll play a key role supporting Sunday's matchwinner Sebastian Soria in attack.
In preparation for these qualifying fixtures, all the talk for the visitors, who lost 4-1 to Spain in a friendly tune-up last week, has surrounded star striker Park Chu-Young who was left out of the squad by coach Choi Kang-Hee after failing to explain his decision to defer his military service. Veteran striker Lee Dong-Gook is set to replace Park in attack, while Choi has a dilemma at left-back, with Kim Young-Kwon or the more attacking-minded Park Joo-Ho battling it out for the starting spot.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The last time these two sides met was way back in November 2008, with the game ending 1-1.
- Qatar haven't lost a competitive match on home soil since their thrilling 3-2 quarter-final loss to Japan at the 2011 Asian Cup which it hosted.
- Since the 2011 Asian Cup, Qatar have parted ways with three coaches; Bruno Metsu, Milovan Rajevac and Sebastiao Lazaroni.
- Qatar's Football Association have launched a promotional campaign ahead of this game to bring fans through the turnstiles with prizes worth QR 35,000 (€7,650) to be given away on matchday to three lucky attendees.
- The last time South Korea played in Doha, was during the 2011 Asian Cup where they finished third.
- Three members of the current Taeguk Warriors squad ply their trade in Qatar's Stars League; Al Sadd's Lee Jang-Soo, Lekhwiya's Nam Tae-Hee and Al Rayyan's Cho Yong-Hyung.
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Top 3 Predictions
Qatar 2-1 South Korea
- 13.69 %
Qatar 0-2 South Korea
- 11.79 %
Qatar 1-1 South Korea
- 8.75 %
|World Cup Qualifying - Asia (WCQ)||Mar 26, 2013||South Korea 2 - Qatar 1|
|World Cup Qualifying - Asia (WCQ)||Jun 8, 2012||Qatar 1 - South Korea 4|
|Mar 26, 2013||South Korea 2 - Qatar 1||WCQ|
|Mar 22, 2013||Bahrain 1 - Qatar 0||ACQ|
|Mar 17, 2013||Qatar 1 - Thailand 0||FR|
|Mar 7, 2013||Qatar 3 - Egypt 1||FR|
|Feb 6, 2013||Qatar 2 - Malaysia 0||ACQ|
|Returns:||Qatar £710.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £360.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||South Korea £18.33||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|2||Mesaad Ali Al Hamad||Defender|
|15||Talal Al Bloushi||Midfielder|
|7||Wesam Rizik Abdulmajid||Midfielder|
|14||Ibrahim Al Ghanim||Defender|
The former AFC Player of the Year will play an important link-up role between defence and attack, supporting both Sebastian Soria and Yusef Ahmed. The dimunitive attacker has the skill to beat opponents too.
Koo was South Korea's best player in Europe during the 2011-12 season after a superb finish to the campaign with Augsburg and he'll look to build on that, fresh from extending his stay in Bavaria. Without Park, he may step up in a more attacking sense.
Qatar are a tough side to beat on home turf and the Taeguk Warriors' recent travels to West Asia haven't always been terribly successful. The visitors are without their influential frontman Park Chu-Young, meaning they aren't totally settled and the hosts could just claim a point here although they'll be relying on a defensive gameplan and individual quality in attack.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed