The Caltex Socceroos will play their first match on home soil since their FIFA World Cup™ qualifying win over Honduras last year when they take on Korea Republic in Brisbane in November.
In what will be coach Graham Arnold’s first home match in charge, both nations will be looking to fine-tune their game ahead of next year’s AFC Asian Cup in the UAE.
But what kind of match can Australia expect from their Asian Football Confederation rivals?
Like the Caltex Socceroos, the Korea Republic failed to advance out of a tricky group at June’s FIFA World Cup™ in Russia.
Despite having high hopes of advancing in a group that featured defending world champions Germany, Mexico and Sweden, the Koreans struggled to produce their best football.
Their opening group match was a hard-fought affair against Sweden, with a second-half penalty – awarded by the Video Assistant Referee – the difference as the European nation prevailed 1-0.
While they were better in the second group match against Mexico – and fired off more shots at goal than their opponents – they were beaten again, this time 2-1.
Downing the World Champions
There’s no doubt the high-point of Korea Republic's tournament came in the final match against a German side that needed a win to progress.
Despite piling on the pressure in the second half, Germany couldn’t break down a Korean side that showed tremendous organisation and desperation to repel every attack.
In the end, stoppage-time goals Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min completed a famous 2-0 win, but it wasn’t enough to keep their tournament dream alive.
That result against the Germans has undoubtedly been the high point of the last six months for Korea Republic.
After only qualifying for Russia with four wins from 10 matches in their group, their lead-up form was also patchy.
In six friendlies between March and the start of the FIFA World Cup™, Korea Republic had just one victory: a 2-0 win over Honduras in May.
They suffered shock defeats against Bosnia-Herzegovina (3-1), Senegal (2-0) and Northern Ireland (2-1), while their 0-0 draw with Bolivia in June was a lacklustre affair.
The Caltex Socceroos should get a good handle of what to expect from the side after they play two friendly matches in September against Costa Rica and South American heavyweights Chile.
While their results may have been a little underwhelming of late, this Korean side looks to be one on the rise, with a stack of exciting young talent set to be unleashed against Australia.
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