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Korea lost to 87th, tied 130th-101th

The Korean national soccer team couldn't get out of the nightmare of the last Asian Cup. It failed to win against a country that showed a significant difference in FIFA rankings one after another.

South Korea, led by interim coach Hwang Sun-hong, held the third Group C match against Thailand in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2026 North-Central America World Cup at Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 21st.

Korea had a 1-1 tie with Thailand after showing lackluster performance on the day. Although Korea maintained the lead in Group C with two wins, one draw and seven points, it was not satisfactory.

In particular, it is close to a disaster to draw in the match against Thailand held at its home stadium. Thailand is ranked 101st in FIFA rankings, and the gap with Korea, ranked 22nd, is very wide.

At the last Asian Cup, Korea had a group draw with Jordan, ranked 87th in FIFA, and lost in the semifinals. It also tied with Malaysia, ranked 130th, 3-3.

Of course, FIFA ranking is not absolute. However, failing to secure consecutive wins against countries with more than twice the difference in ranking is certainly a major negative factor.

Korea led the match against Thailand with Son Heung-min's opening goal in the 42nd minute, but lost the equalizer to Muehanta in the 16th minute of the second half. Since then, the team has launched a full-scale offensive, but failed to penetrate the Thai defense in the end.

In particular, when South Korea conceded an equalizer in the 16th minute of the second half with a 1-0 lead, its defense line collapsed at one point and showed helplessness.

In the attack, Lee Kang-in and Cho Gyu-seong were included in the attack at 1-1, but failed to penetrate the Thai defense ranking 101st in FIFA rankings. Both offense and defense failed.

Now, Korea will move to Bangkok, Thailand on the 22nd for a return match. Many expect that it will be difficult to expect a victory given the current performance and atmosphere.

From this year's World Cup, as many as eight tickets will be given to Asian regions to advance to the World Cup finals. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that South Korea will be able to participate in the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America.

However, it is difficult to expect a good performance in the World Cup finals with the current performance of losing to Jordan and failing to win against Malaysia and Thailand.
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Friday, March 22, 2024
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