AG desperate for Lee Kang-in to play ‘Asian team’ Saudi Arabia in England?

The Korean Football Association (KFA) 메이저사이트 and Klinsmann’s have been embroiled in another controversy as the opponents for the September and October A matches have been revealed. In particular, it seems difficult to avoid criticism due to the different level of opponents in the trial matches compared to rival Japan.

According to the KFA on Tuesday, Jürgen Klinsmann’s team has decided to play in Europe after rejecting the Middle Eastern nation of Saudi Arabia as the second opponent for the September A match.

A KFA official said, “We are preparing to play Saudi Arabia as the next best option. We haven’t signed the contract yet, but it’s practically a done deal,” said a KFA official.

The KFA has agreed to travel to England to play Wales and Mexico as part of its preparations for two away A matches in September. The team is scheduled to face the Welsh national team at Cardiff Stadium in Wales on 8 September at 3.45am local time before taking on Mexico. The plan was for Mexico to play a two-game series in Europe against Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

However, according to foreign media, the schedule was disrupted when Mexico abruptly cancelled the trial on 4 March after the KFA and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) abruptly requested a halt to negotiations, citing TV coverage time.

The KFA scrambled to find a second A-match opponent, but apparently concluded that it would not be easy to find a European team as the European Football Championship (Euro 2024) qualifiers will be held during the September A-match.

As a result, a Plan B of South Korea and Saudi Arabia playing in England is almost confirmed. The date of the match will be 12 September local time, with the venue and time still to be agreed. Klinsmann is also reported to have said that it would not be a bad idea to play a team from the Middle East in preparation for the Asian Cup next January.

South Korea have been drawn in Group E alongside Jordan, Bahrain and Malaysia for the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar, in January 2024. The national team will also begin the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in November. South Korea have been drawn in Group C alongside China, Thailand and the winner of the Singapore-Guam first leg in the second qualifier.

Given their immediate fixtures, it’s easy to pick Saudi Arabia, but it’s fair to question why they need to fly to Europe to face an Asian team.

The reason for travelling to Europe is that it allows the team to play at their best by reducing the jet lag of the European players, which is a key part of their strength, while also making it easier for the team to arrange matches against European teams that are relatively hard to come by when playing in Korea or Asia.

This means that the strengths and weaknesses of the squad can be weighed up and ways of improving them can be explored. However, Japan wasted a valuable opportunity to travel to Europe by playing Saudi Arabia. This is in stark contrast to neighbours Japan, who have already booked two European games against Germany and Turkuye in September.

A total of 53 nations, excluding hosts Germany, will compete in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, divided into 10 groups. As a result, seven of the five-team groups will be empty on each matchday. South Korea and Japan took advantage of this gap, and as a result, South Korea were drawn against Wales and Japan against Turkiye. Japan, however, went further, choosing to play a return match 10 months after the World Cup in Qatar against Klinsmann’s homeland Germany, who are not taking part in the qualifiers themselves as Euro2024 hosts, to create a solid September A fixture list.

South Korea, on the other hand, were forced to play Saudi Arabia after their opponents changed their minds about an exhibition match with Mexico.

In addition, the decision to play Vietnam in the second of two October A matches at home has also raised concerns from within and outside the football community. According to the KFA, Klinsmann’s desire to play a tight-knit defence in the October A-match raises the possibility of Vietnam facing a virtual Group C opponent in Thailand in the second round of World Cup qualifying.

Japan, on the other hand, has no such plans and has already announced the venues for their home trials against Canada and Tunisia, both of whom appeared at last year’s World Cup in Qatar. Based on the trials in March and June, South Korea could have invited the two Japanese teams to play each other on the same day that Japan played Canada and we played Tunisia, but Klinsmann suddenly came up with the idea of playing Vietnam at home, citing “defeating dense defences”.

Domestic football fans are already up in arms online. “Jordan will also play Norway (with Elling Holland) in September,” “Should we pay to watch Vietnam,” “Klinsmann finally gets his first win (against Vietnam),” and so on. “Korean football, which has lost 0-3 to Japan in national team matches at all levels since last year, has also lost heavily in A-match bookings by three goals,” some said.

There are some in the football world who wonder why Lee Kang-in, who is essential to the Asian Games squad, would be called up to the Klinsmann Lake to play against Saudi Arabia in England during the A-Match in September.