June 23, 2024

Shin Tae-yong, new head coach of the South Korea football team, speaks during a press conference at the Korea Football Association in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, July 6, 2017. South Korea appointed Shin head coach on Tuesday and charged the former Asian Champions League winner with taking the national team to the 2018 World Cup finals. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

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Tasnim – SEOUL, South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong said he thinks Iran is similar to European teams and its players have their unique power and speed.

The Korean team, currently second in Group A, the last automatic qualification spot, is scheduled to host already-qualified Iran on Aug. 31, and will take on third-placed Uzbekistan five days later.

“I must say Iran is not the same as other teams in the Middle East,” Shin said to reporters at the NFC. “Iranian players have their unique power and speed. They’re much more like European teams.”

South Korea, ranked No. 49 in the world, has not beaten Iran since 2011, suffering 1-0 losses to Iran in their last four meetings. The Korean team also has an inferior overall head-to-head record with nine wins, seven draws and 13 losses.

“We can’t allow an opening goal to Iran,” he said. “We must score first so that we can prevent the opponent from messing with our mind.”

Iran is scheduled to land in Seoul on Saturday, which is earlier than the usual arrival time for international matches, Yonhap reported.

Shin said he doesn’t care about Iran’s early arrival and said he has been analyzing Team Melli since he took the helm of the national team last month.

“I’ve already finished setting up my defense plan against Iran,” he said. “I just have to work with my players (to execute the plan) when our full squad gets assembled next week. And, of course, I could change my plan depending on the players’ fitness.”