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S. Korea chasing first win under Klinsmann in World Cup rematch vs. Uruguay

March 27, 2023 - 09:17 By Yonhap
Korea national football coach, Jürgen Klinsmann and his assistant coach Andi Herzog are watching the players as they warm up before a training session at the National Football Center in Paju, some 30 kilometers northwest of Seoul, on Sunday, in preparation for a friendly match against Uruguay. (Yonhap)

South Korea will take their second crack at winning their first match under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann this week, hosting Uruguay in Seoul in a rematch of last year's FIFA World Cup.

The kickoff between 25th-ranked South Korea and 16th-ranked Uruguay is set for 8 p.m. Tuesday at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

South Korea settled for a 2-2 draw against Colombia on Friday, frittering away a 2-0 lead after the restart with some defensive breakdowns.

Captain Son Heung-min scored both goals for the Taegeuk Warriors, climbing to third on the all-time South Korean men's scoring list with 37.

This will be the 10th meeting between South Korea and Uruguay. South Korea have managed just one win, along with two draws and six losses.

Their most recent meeting came during Group H play at the World Cup in Qatar. The match ended in a goalless draw, with Uruguay striking the woodwork twice and South Korea not registering a shot on target.

That one point proved to be huge for South Korea, who upset Portugal 2-1 in their final group match to advance to the round of 16. South Korea and Uruguay both finished with four points, but the former won the goals scored tiebreaker.

South Korea's 25-man roster features most of the players who competed at the World Cup, and Klinsmann is the most notable new face. Uruguay, on the other hand, will bring a new-look team, with caretaker boss Marcelo Broli in charge.

Broli didn't call up seasoned veterans Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin. Liverpool star Darwin Nunez and FC Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo have been sidelined with injuries.

Against Colombia, South Korea applied aggressive, high pressing in the first half to great effects, creating scoring opportunities off turnovers and stifling counterattack opportunities for the visitors. In the second half, however, Colombia responded with two goals within the first five minutes, taking advantage of South Korean defensive lapses.

Klinsmann, still new to the team, is expected to make a few lineup changes to see different players in action.

The backline will almost certainly feature a new face or two. Starting left back Kim Jin-su suffered a lower back injury early in the Colombia game, and his replacement, Lee Ki-je, looked overmatched.

On Saturday, Klinsmann selected the 24-year-old Seol Young-woo to take Kim's place. This is Seol's first call-up to the senior national team.

As a former star striker in his playing days, Klinsmann has taken a particular interest in forwards on the national team here. Of the three on the squad, Cho Gue-sung of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors got the start versus Colombia and Oh Hyeon-gyu of Celtic subbed in for Cho in the second half. That left FC Seoul forward Hwang Ui-jo as the odd man out, continuing the fall from grace for the leading scorer under the previous head coach Paulo Bento. (Yonhap)