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South Korea travel to China for World Cup Qualifiers



Son Heung min Tottenham

South Korea started their qualifying campaign with a dominant 5-0 win over Singapore, where Son Heung-min scored a remarkable goal from outside the box. They currently lead Group C, along with China, who secured a 2-1 victory in Thailand with a late goal.

The South Korean team, led by Jurgen Klinsmann, is the favorite in their match in Shenzhen. However, Son cautioned, “I think Asian teams will try to be physical against us, and getting under our skin will perhaps be a part of their strategy. We just have to make sure we don’t get dragged into that kind of thing and stick to our own game plan,” as quoted by Yonhap.

More than 40,000 spectators are expected to fill the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre stadium for the game. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has high ambitions for Chinese football, aiming for hosting and winning the World Cup, although they have only qualified for the tournament once, in 2002.

Australia and Japan, both strong contenders who reached the last 16 at the 2022 World Cup, also had impressive starts to their qualifying campaigns. The Socceroos thrashed Bangladesh 7-0, with Jamie Maclaren scoring a second-half hat-trick in Melbourne. Japan, on the other hand, secured a 5-0 victory over Myanmar, with Ayase Ueda netting a hat-trick.

Despite the challenges and stress, all teams are focused on securing their spot in the final Asian qualifying round, with the top two from each of the nine groups advancing.