Korea’s first international match since the 2022 Qatar World Cup looks set to be against Group H rivals Uruguay, with Uruguayan media reporting Saturday that the two sides will face off in late March.
Federico Buysan, a reporter 스포츠토토 for Uruguayan television network Teledoce, reported on Twitter that his country will be playing two friendly matches against Korea on March 20 in Seoul and Japan on March 27 in Tokyo.
It will be Korea’s first time facing Uruguay since they played in last year’s World Cup group stage, which ended 0-0. It will also be the first time the two sides meet since Korea beat Portugal 2-1 to earn a spot in the round of 16 at the World Cup, knocking Uruguay out of the competition.
So Uruguay may be coming to Seoul looking to settle some scores.
The friendly match against the South American team should serve as the debut for Korea as-yet-unnamed national football team head coach.
The Korea Football Association has not publicly announced that its first international match of the year is against Uruguay, possibly because it still has not appointed a new manager following the departure of Paulo Bento at the end of the World Cup.
For Korean football fans the Uruguay clash could be an interesting fixture, not only because it is a chance for them to observe what kinds of tactics the new manager wants to implement with his team, but they also want to see if the Taeguk Warriors can continue to hold their own against the South American side.
Since the friendly match is happening during the FIFA international break, Korean players based overseas, including Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae, will be available to play.
Oh Hyeon-gyu, who recently completed his move to Celtic, might also be included in the squad for the first time since his cap against Iceland last November.
Uruguay’s national football team is still led by manager Diego Alonso, who failed to advance to the round of 16 in the World Cup for the first time in 12 years.
The squad will most likely include such key players as Federico Valverde of Real Madrid and Darwin Nunez of Liverpool alongside veterans like Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani, who have yet to retire from international football despite being in the mid-30s.
The Taeguk Warriors have faced Uruguay nine times and have only beaten the South American side once on home soil in 2018. With the appointment of Korea’s new manager, that record could change.
The match against Uruguay in March will also serve as a preparatory stage for Korea, who are heading to Qatar once again for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in June.