South Korea in good spirits for World Cup qualifying trip to Pyongyang

By Matt Dorman 14 October 2019 14
South Korea in good spirits for World Cup qualifying trip to Pyongyang

South Korea are in a positive frame of mind ahead of an historic World Cup qualifier against North Korea in Pyongyang on Tuesday, according to head coach Paulo Bento.

The Group H encounter will be the first competitive meeting between the neighbouring nations to take place north of the border.

Pyongyang last hosted the Taegeuk Warriors in a friendly in 1990, with Shanghai used a neutral location for North Korea's designated home game in their 2010 World Cup qualifying clash.

Tottenham star Son Heung-min, who completed an hour of an 8-0 thrashing of Sri Lanka on Thursday, is expected to be among the starters for South Korea at Kim Il-sung Stadium.

"I feel good. Our players are well prepared and the team atmosphere is great," Bento was quoted as telling reporters ahead of his side's journey.

"Above all, our players are in great physical condition.

"The most important thing for us is to have everyone healthy before going on the road."

Tuesday's game is to be played against the backdrop of a breakdown in negotiations between the United States and North Korea over the reclusive nation's missile tests.

Local media reports indicate the fixture is unlikely to be televised.

Centre-back Kim Min-jae urged his team-mates to treat the occasion as normal.

"It's the first Pyongyang expedition but it's the same as any other game," the Beijing Guoan defender said.

"I think it's an experience."

The teams are level on six points apiece after two games in the second phase of the Asian Football Confederation's road to Qatar 2022.

About Author

Matt Dorman