Korea earns eights successive World Cup berth despite a 1-0 loss to Iran

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Korea earns eights successive World Cup berth despite a 1-0 loss to Iran

Korea has secured a berth to Brazil World Cup in an unconvincing fashion after a 1-0 loss to Iran in their final qualifying match in Ulsan on Tuesday night.

Reza Ghoochannejhad capitalized on a defense error by Kim Young-gwon to score the winner in the 60th minute at Munsu Football Stadium, handing the hosts a second success loss after a 1-0 defeat in Tehran in October.

The victory lifted Iran past Korea to finish as the winner of Group A on 16 points. Uzbekistan sprang back to tie with Korea on 14 points with a 5-1 thrashing against Qatar in the other match of the day but had to finish third by a single-goal differential. Uzbekistan will try to revive its hope for a first-ever World Cup entry as it enters two rounds of playoffs. The two top teams from the group are entitled to the automatic berth to Rio de Janeiro.

Korea will make a World Cup appearance for the eighth consecutive time, a feat that only five other countries have achieved so far including Brazil (20 times), Germany (15 times), Italy (13 times), Argentina (10 times) and Spain (nine times).

By MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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