Klinsmann’s men will look to overcome ‘Shaolin football’ and make it two straight injury-free World Cup qualifiers and five straight A-matches.
The South Korea national football team, coached by Jürgen Klinsmann, will take on China at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Guangdong, China, at 9 p.m. ET on June 21 in the second Group C match of the 2026 North American Football Championship Asia Second Qualifying Round.
South Korea, who defeated Singapore 5-0 in the first leg, are in first place in Group C, while China, who came from behind to beat Thailand 2-1, are in second place. Klinsmann’s men, who had drawn three and lost two since their inauguration in March this year until a 1-0 victory over Wales in September, have been on the rise. In October, they thrashed Tunisia 4-0 and Vietnam 6-0, and against Singapore, they continued their winning streak with an even distribution of goals from their front five of Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), Cho Kyu-sung (Mitwillan) and Hwang Eui-jo (Norwich City).
China is ranked 79th by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). In Group C, they are well below South Korea (24th) but above Thailand (112th) and Singapore (155th). China has only qualified for the World Cup once before, in 2002 in Korea-Japan. Thanks to automatic qualification from hosts South Korea and Japan, they were eliminated in the group stage after conceding nine goals and losing all three games. They will be looking to return to the tournament at the North and Central American World Cup, which has expanded from 32 to 48 nations.
South Korea leads the all-time series with 21 wins, 13 draws, and two losses. Chinese media have even referred to a “fear of Korea” (恐韓症). However, the Chinese will be wary, having suffered a shock 0-1 defeat away from home in the sixth and final Asian qualifying round of the Russian Federation World Cup in March 2017. They have won three straight since a 2-2 draw in the East Asian E-1 Championship in December of the same year. It’s not an A-match, but Hwang Sun-hong’s Asian Games squad recently defeated China 2-0 in the men’s soccer quarterfinals at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
They should have no trouble winning this one. However, China’s physicality is something to watch out for. After receiving one ejection and four cautions in the Round of 16 match in Hangzhou against Qatar, China received three cautions in the quarterfinals against South Korea. In the first leg of the World Cup qualifier between China and Thailand on June 16, there were four yellow cards, all of which were issued to China. Two of them were for back tackles. 토토사이트
“It will be a very difficult game against China,” Klinsmann said at a press conference on Tuesday, a day before the match, “but I don’t doubt the ability and quality of our players.” “We came to play a winning game, and of course we want to keep a clean sheet,” Kim Min-jae emphasized.