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S. Korea to take on Saudi Arabia in final tune-up before Asian Cup

December 18, 2014
Coach Uli Stielike congratulates Ki Sung-yeung for job well-done as he makes a second half substitution. (Yonhap)

Coach Uli Stielike congratulates Ki Sung-yeung for job well-done as he makes a second half substitution. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korea will take on Saudi Arabia in its final tune-up match before the AFC Asian Cup football tournament next month, officials said Thursday.

The 2015 Asian Cup will kick off Jan. 9 in Australia. The Korea Football Association (KFA) said South Korea will play Saudi Arabia on Jan. 4 in Sydney, six days before its first group stage match against Oman.

The KFA said the match will kick off at 6 p.m. at Pirtek Stadium in Sydney.

Seeking its first Asian Cup since 1960, South Korea has drawn Australia, Oman and Kuwait in Group A.

South Korea, coached by Uli Stielike, is currently ranked 69th in the world, 37 spots ahead of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia holds an edge in all-time meetings with five wins, seven draws and four losses, but South Korea has been undefeated in their last three meetings with one win and two draws.

At the Asian Cup, Saudi Arabia is in Group B with Uzbekistan, China and North Korea. Saudi Arabia and South Korea could face each other in the quarterfinals of the 16-nation tournament.

Stielike is currently holding a training camp on Jeju Island with 28 players from leagues in South Korea, China and Japan, whose seasons have ended. At the Asian Cup, Stielike’s squad will likely feature about a dozen players from Europe and the Middle East, but they couldn’t report to the ongoing camp with their seasons still in full swing and their clubs under no obligation to release them for the occasion.

The camp will close Sunday, and the KFA said Stielike will announce his 23-man roster Monday.

The team is scheduled to depart for Sydney on Dec. 27.

After opening the group phase against Oman in Canberra on Jan. 10, South Korea will stay there to meet Kuwait on Jan. 13. The group finale will be against the host Australia on Jan. 17 in Brisbane.

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