Coach Klinsmann makes few changes for S. Korea’s World Cup qualifiers vs. Singapore, China

SEOUL, South Korea will be taking many familiar faces to their upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Singapore and China this month.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) on Monday announced the 23-man roster for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who will try to build on comfortable friendly wins over Tunisia (4-0) and Vietnam (6-0) last month.

In this file photo from Oct. 17, 2023, members of the South Korean men’s national football team greet their supporters at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, following a 6-0 win over Vietnam in a friendly match.

Third-string goalkeeper Kim Joon-hong gave way to Song Bum-keun, who is back on the national team for the first time in five months, while defender Kim Ju-sung was dropped from the October roster, with everyone else back in the fold this time.

Captain Son Heung-min will once again look to lead the team’s attack, with Lee Kang-in, who has been on an offensive tear for Paris Saint-Germain, also back.

South Korea will play their first Group C match in the Asian World Cup qualifiers against Singapore at Seoul World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. Nov. 16.

In 27 all-time meetings, South Korea have registered 22 wins, three draws and two losses against Singapore. Their last loss came in 1968.

After playing Singapore, South Korea will visit China for the second Group C match on Nov. 21. South Korea have had 22 wins, 12 draws and two losses against China.

Klinsmann will open training camp in Seoul next Monday and will discuss his choices at a press conference the same day.

In this file photo from Oct. 17, 2023, South Korea head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (R) smiles after subbing out defender Kim Min-jae (C) during a friendly match against Vietnam at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.

Following the two November qualifiers, South Korea will have home-and-away dates with Thailand in March 2024, followed by an away match in Singapore and a home match against China three months later.

South Korea have played at every World Cup since 1986.

There are 36 nations divided into nine groups of four in the second round. The top two teams from each of those groups will move on to the third round, where they will be paired into three groups of six.

From there, the top two teams from each group will punch their tickets to the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. The third- and fourth-place teams from the three groups will still have another shot at qualifying in the fourth round.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first edition to feature 48 nations, up from the current 32.

Source: Yonhap News Agency