Korea to face Peru and El Salvador in June

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Korea to face Peru and El Salvador in June

Korea plays Peru during a friendly at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi on Aug. 14, 2013. [KOREA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION]

Korea plays Peru during a friendly at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi on Aug. 14, 2013. [KOREA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION]

 
The Korean national team will face Peru and El Salvador in friendlies in June, the Korea Football Association (KFA) confirmed Friday.  
 
The Taeguk Warriors led by Jurgen Klinsmann will play Peru on June 16 and El Salvador on June 20, with the venues yet to be decided.
 
The two friendlies immediately after the European football season — the Champions League final is on June 10, with all major leagues finishing one or two weeks earlier — will be a chance for Klinsmann to secure his first win with the team.
 
The German manager, who took charge of the Korean national team in February, has yet to manage a win, drawing 2-2 against Colombia and lost 2-1 to Uruguay during the FIFA international break last month.  
 
Korea’s best possible squad, including the team’s aces like Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae, should all be available to play in June.  
 
Peru, which ranks 21st on the FIFA rankings — six positions above Korea — failed to qualify for the last World Cup, although the team reached the semifinals of the 2021 Copa America.  
 
Korea has never beaten Peru before and managed one draw and one loss. The last time the two sides clashed was in 2013 under then manager Hong Myung-bo, ending in a 0-0 draw ahead of the 2014 World Cup.  
 
El Salvador, on the other hand, is an opponent that Korea has never faced before. The Central American country ranks at No. 75 on the FIFA rankings and has qualified for the World Cup twice — most recently in 1982.  
 
El Salvador, however, has recently reinforced its squad with players based in the United States and Europe that have El Salvadoran roots and managed to reach the quarterfinals of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
 
Peru will participate in the continental qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup in September, while El Salvador will compete in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup in June.  
 
Both sides will most likely test out their most prominent squad against Korea ahead of the two big tournaments, and will also play Japan during their Asian swing.

BY PAIK JI-HWAN [paik.jihwan@joongang.co.kr]
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