Taeguk Warriors to take on Bolivia, Colombia

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Taeguk Warriors to take on Bolivia, Colombia

Korea will host Bolivia and Colombia for international friendly football matches next month, the national football governing body confirmed Monday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said the men’s national football team, coached by Paulo Bento, will take on Bolivia at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan on March 22 and play against Colombia at Seoul World Cup Stadium in the capital city four days later.

Both matches will kick off at 8 p.m.

Korea was scheduled to play a friendly match against Vietnam, led by Korean head coach Park Hang-seo, in Hanoi on March 26, but that match has been postponed indefinitely due to Vietnam’s scheduling conflict with their under-23 team that is also coached by Park.

Vietnam recently requested the friendly to be moved to June, but the KFA said it couldn’t accept the proposal due to its own scheduling reasons.

The two friendly matches in March will give Korea a fresh start after suffering a quarterfinal exit at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month.

“The two friendly matches in March will be a good opportunity for the national team to regroup after the Asian Cup and to find new faces for the 2022 FIFA World Cup regional qualifiers,” said Kim Pan-gon, who leads the KFA’s committee for the national team competitiveness.

“Bolivia and Colombia are good sparring partners to check our team’s level.”

Korea, ranked 38th in the latest FIFA rankings, has faced No. 60 Bolivia twice in the past, with both encounters ending in 0-0 draws. Their last meeting was in June 2018 ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Korea have three wins, two draws and one loss against Colombia, the 18th-ranked team in the world. The two sides last went head-to-head in November 2017, and Korea collected a 2-1 win at home, thanks to a double by Son Heung-min.

The match against Colombia will likely draw big interest from football fans after the South American powerhouse hired former Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz as their new boss.

Queiroz, who led Iran from April 2011 to January 2019, has been a nemesis to the Taeguk Warriors. While Queiroz was in charge of Iran, Korea never defeated his team, drawing one and losing four matches.

It will also be a battle between two Portuguese tacticians with an interesting history. Bento was the successor to Queiroz for the Portuguese national team job in September 2010.

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