메이저사이트 Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korean national football team will play Saudi Arabia as their second opponent in their September away A-match.
An official from the Korea Football Association said on Tuesday, “It is not easy to find a European team for the second match in September,” adding, “We are preparing to play Saudi Arabia as the next best option. We haven’t signed the contract yet, but it’s virtually guaranteed to be Saudi Arabia.”
The FA had initially agreed to play Wales and Mexico in England as part of its preparations for the two away A matches in September.
As a result, Klinsmann’s team will play the first of the trials against Wales at Cardiff Stadium in Wales on 8 September at 3.45am local time. Mexico was scheduled to play an exhibition match against Saudi Arabia prior to the game against South Korea.
However, on 4 March, Mexico abruptly cancelled the trial after the Korean Football Association (KFA) and Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) requested a halt to negotiations, citing TV time.
The KFA has been scrambling to find a second A-Match opponent, but with Euro 2024 qualifiers taking place during the September A-Match (4-12 September), it’s not easy to find a European team.
As a result, the KFA is moving forward with the next best option of playing in Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, which, like us, have scheduling conflicts with Mexico for their trials.
Jürgen Klinsmann, head coach of the South Korean national football team.
Saudi Arabia is the likely opponent for the second match of the September A match, as it is difficult to find a new opponent due to the tight schedule for the trial. The date of the match will be 12 September local time. The venue and time are still to be negotiated.
“We are still trying to find a European team that is stronger than our national team, but it is not easy,” said an official from the Football Association, adding, “Coach Klinsmann also expressed the opinion that it would not be a bad idea to play a Middle Eastern team in preparation for the Asian Cup next January.”
South Korea will compete against Jordan, Bahrain and Malaysia in Group E of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar, next January.
The national team will also begin the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in November. They will face China, Thailand and the winner of the Singapore-Guam first round.
It will be the first time in five and a half years that the national team has travelled to Europe for a test match, and while it will be a treat for fans to see how they stack up against the European giants, it’s also a good test for the team to get a feel for the Middle East in preparation for the Asian Cup next January and the second round of World Cup qualifiers starting in November.
With no scheduled fixtures against the Middle East ahead of the World Cup qualifiers and Asian Cup, Klinsmann will be keen to get some hands-on experience against Saudi Arabia in a September trial.
He is also pushing for a trial against Vietnam in the two October A matches (9-17 October), which will be played domestically.
According to the Football Association, Klinsmann wants an opponent that will play a tight defence in the October A match, and coincidentally, Vietnam will be a ‘virtual opponent’ as they are in the same group as Thailand in the second round of World Cup qualifiers.