Preview: South Korea vs Iran – predictions, team news, rosters
Sports Mole previews Thursday’s World Cup qualifier – Asia clash between South Korea and Iran, including predictions, team news and possible rosters.
South Korea will welcome Iran at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Thursday in their final qualifying group for the 2022 tournament taking place in Qatar.
Both teams have already officially qualified to take part in the competition, but with just two points between them, this could be a crucial game to determine who finishes on top.
South Korea have the opportunity to edge their Group A opponents on Thursday with a win, which would set them up perfectly for the final qualifier next week.
However, to do so they would need to defeat Iran for the first time since 2011, with the two teams meeting to a draw in the reverence match.
Son Heung-min had given his team the advantage in this game, only to Alireza Jahanbakhsh to equalize 15 minutes from the end, and this time Paul BentoMen hope to do better.
Since then, South Korea have won their next six international matches, and they have done so in impressive fashion, scoring 21 goals to concede just one.
It’s a record they would love to have in this particular game, with their last outing being a dominating 2-0 win over Syria which has brought a lot of confidence to the group.
On the other hand, the visitors aren’t lacking in conviction either, as the only time they dropped points in this group stage was against South Korea, and even that was a draw.
The team has the chance to finish undefeated, which would give them plenty of momentum ahead of the World Cup at the end of this year, which they hope to have.
A win would guarantee them first place, giving them bragging rights, and after three straight clean sheets they proved their defensive abilities.
Dragan Skocic saw his side win both of their winter games 1-0, against Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, so he is hoping for more attacking flair as he looks to polish his squad.
While Iran have already guaranteed their place in Qatar, the players still have to fight for their positions if they want to be at the World Cup, which gives them a lot to do in this game.
South Korea World Cup Qualification Form – Asia:
South Korea form (all competitions):
Iran World Cup Qualifiers – Asian Form:
The COVID-19 pandemic always proves to cause problems for South Korea before this one, as several players had to withdraw, such as Jung Woo-young, Na Sang-ho and Paik Seung-ho all tested positive.
However, while this is a disappointment for the team, it provides opportunities for Nam Tae-hee, Cho Young-wook and Won Du Jae to try and prove themselves in the next two games.
Iran are also missing players due to the same issue, which includes two of their strongest attacking options with Jahanbakhsh and Mehdi Taremi to be out of action.
Saman Ghoddos also had to withdraw due to the virus, which extends the options even further, while Sadegh Moharrami is suspended after being sent off on his previous outing.
Possible starting line-up for South Korea:
S. Kim; T.Kim, M.KIM, Y.Kim, J.Kim; Lee, Hwang, Kun-Hee, Jeong; J. Heung-min, Cho
Possible starting lineup for Iran:
Abedzadeh; Mohammadi, Noorafkan, Kananizadegan, Aghasi; Afagh, Amiri, Nourallahi; Gholizadeh, Rafiei, Ansarifard
We say: South Korea 0-1 Iran
It’s bound to be a tightly contested game between the two most dominant teams in the group, each aspiring to finish as winners to gain as much momentum as possible.
Although South Korea have the advantage of being at home, they usually struggle against Iran, who are in fine form, and that should lead to an away win by narrow margins.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their proven football tips.Under 2.5: data