Korea to face Hiddink in Feb. friendly

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Korea to face Hiddink in Feb. friendly

Korea will play the Turkish national football team, led by Korea’s former manager Guus Hiddink, in an international friendly match Feb. 9.

“We reached an agreement with the Turkish Football Federation for a friendly match,” the Korea Football Association said in a statement released yesterday. “The game will take place in Trabzon [in Turkey] on Feb. 9.”

The Dutchman Hiddink previously managed the Korean national football team to the semifinals of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. Hiddink’s Dutch national team trounced Korea, 5-0, at the 1998 France World Cup.

Since managing Korea at the 2002 World Cup, Hiddink has gone on to manage several other national teams, including Australia, Russia and Turkey, but the scheduled friendly match in February will be his first against Korea since 1998.

The national football team, led by manager Cho Kwang-rae, played its last friendly match of the year against its archrival Japan on Oct. 12 in Seoul. Cho and his men played to a scoreless draw in the game and Cho ended the year with the record of 1-1-1 since being named the successor to Huh Jung-moo in mid-June.

The national team will gather at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi, on Christmas Eve in preparation for the 2011 Qatar Asian Cup in January. The friendly against Turkey will be the start of a new chapter in which the national team prepares for the 2014 Brazil World Cup regional qualifiers.

Korea is currently ranked 40th in the world while Turkey is ranked 29th. Korea won the last match between the two sides, 2-1, in 2004.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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