Reuters – SEOUL, South Korea coach Choi Kang-hee said he wanted to crush Iran’s hopes of automatic World Cup qualification next week after being ‘badly treated’ in Tehran last year.
Choi’s side beat Uzbekistan 1-0 in Seoul on Tuesday, leaving them in a position to qualify for Brazil even if they lose to Iran at home in Ulsan next Tuesday.
The quirky coach, who had previously said he would step down once the team had qualified, said he wanted revenge after a 1-0 defeat in Tehran in October.
“I remember being badly treated in Iran,” Choi told reporters in Seoul.
“The manners they showed were not good…they were not hospitable. Aside from who makes it to the World Cup, I would like to beat Iran no matter what.
“Honestly, I dislike Iran more (than Uzbekistan). I hope Uzbekistan make it to the World Cup.”
Tuesday’s victory moved Korea on to 14 points from seven matches in Group A of Asian qualifying, three clear of the Uzbeks with Iran on 10 from six games. Only the top two are guaranteed a place at Brazil 2014.
Iran host Lebanon later on Tuesday before flying to Korea for their final fixture.
The two third-place finishers in the Asian qualifying groups will face off over two legs with the winners advancing to take on a South American side in two matches for a berth in Brazil.
Uzbekistan have never qualified for a World Cup but remained confident, despite the defeat, that three points in their final fixture at home to Qatar would be enough to change that.
“I think we lost nothing today; we still have a chance,” Uzbek coach Mirjalol Kasimov told reporters.