AFC – SEOUL, Korea Republic must deal the Islamic Republic of Iran a first defeat in Group A of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 qualifying campaign at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Thursday if they are to go into the final Matchday with Uzbekistan next week with their destination in their own hands.
The East Asians have posted a perfect four wins from four at home but it is on the road where they have struggled, with poor results leaving them just one point ahead of the third-placed Uzbeks and ultimately leading to the departure of German coach Uli Stielike.
In his place comes Shin Tae-yong, whose first task is to overcome an Iran team that has already confirmed their place in Russia and has yet to taste defeat or concede a goal, but go into the tie without suspended forward Sardor Azmoun.
Korea Republic’s surprise 3-2 loss in Qatar in June and Iran’s 2-0 victory over Uzbekistan in Tehran confirmed Carlos Queiroz’s side’s place at the FIFA World Cup along with top spot in Group A, but also meant the Taeguk Warriors stayed a point ahead of the Uzbeks with two games remaining.
However, victory for Shin’s side coupled with defeat for Uzbekistan in China would see Korea Republic qualify for Russia 2018 as Group A’s second placed side.