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Preview: South Korea vs Brazil

South Korea take on five-times World Cup winners Brazil in Abu Dhabi fresh from frustrating consecutive stalemates in Qatar 2022 qualifying. After drawing away to Lebanon, Paulo Bento's boys face a friendly against out-of-sorts Brazil who have failed to win since lifting the Copa America in July.
(image via: Naver)

Last Time Out

Lebanon 0-0 South Korea

The Taeguk Warriors endured another away fixture in unusual surroundings with no spectators present for a second straight game. The experienced Lee Yong came in for Kim Moon-hwan at right back while Na Sang-ho also dropped to the bench for Nam Tae-hee following October's visit to Pyeongyang.

Lee Jae-sung fired off an early warning shot on seven minutes from the edge of the box before Kim Min-jae presented Lebanon with an opportunity from range just moments later, which Kim Seung-gyu spectacularly denied. While Korea enjoyed the lion's share of possession, the hosts looked dangerous on the break and limited Son Heung-min to efforts from wide positions. Hwang Ui-jo looked most likely to break the deadlock but couldn't find a way past Mehdi Khalil, who looked assured throughout.


Brazil 0-1 Argentina

In a fairly feisty encounter Gabriel Jesus had the first chance of note managing to put a penalty wide of the post after just 10 minutes that he had won himself. Too tricky for the Argentina back line, the Manchester City striker's casual finish summed up his side's performance on the night in Riyadh. Minutes later Alex Sandro clumsily bundled over a galloping Lionel Messi just inside the box to present Argentina with a spot kick of their own. Messi saw his penalty saved but tucked away the rebound before tension on the pitch threatened to boil over.

Referee Matthew Conger was forced to dish out five yellow cards in a supposed friendly match and Saudi Arabia's hosting of the 'Superclassico' may be remembered most for Messi's touchline antics with Brazil's boss. After 58-year-old Tite complained that the Barcelona striker should have picked up a booking, Messi rather disrespectfully told him to be quiet. Not much else happened in terms of goal mouth action, with both sides dragged into a war of attrition on the pitch.


Previous Meetings

Meeting five times in the past, South Korea have come out victorious on one occasion in 1999 thanks to current Ulsan Hyundai manager Kim Do-hoon's winner. Defeating Brazil 1-0 three years before they returned to Asian to lift the World Cup was a major coup, especially as it was in front of a 75,000 frenzied crowd at the Seoul Olympic Stadium. Other notable fixtures include the 2013 friendly between the pair, which Korea lost 2-0 under the guidance of Hong Myung-bo.

#KLUpod

Ryan Walters is joined by Steve Price in studio and Peter Hampshire on the line to discuss the KNT's matches against Lebanon and Brazil as well as the FA Cup Final.



The Adversary

Winning the Copa America as host nation in July may be the pinnacle of some of the Brazil squads career as they saw off a stubborn Peru side 3-1 in the final. Since that jubilant day in Rio de Janeiro Tite's side have failed to win in five matches. Scoring just two goals in their last four and failing to beat both Senegal and Nigeria last month, Brazil are taking their time to shake off the post-party haze.

Perhaps in an attempt to freshen things up Tite has called up three young talents for this latest tour of exhibition matches, with the inclusion of Douglas alongside his Aston Villa teammate Wesley. Emerson of Real Betis joins 18-year-old Rodrygo in the squad with the three starlets potentially making their debuts for the national team. Real Madrid's Rodrygo is drawing particular attention across Europe, having become only the third player to score a Uefa Champions League hat-trick at the age of 18 after Raul and Wayne Rooney. Corinthians legend Tite decided against calling up any players who ply their trade domestically this time round with Brazil's league just coming to a close.

[READ: Kim Yong-dae reminisces about FC Seoul's 2012 success]

What to Watch

Korea have fared very well against South American teams in friendlies of late and Paulo Bento will be keen to keep up Korea's record of just one defeat in their last 22. Winning becomes a habit just as much as losing and if March's performances against Bolivia and Colombia are anything to go by, Bento will not be afraid to line up in an attacking manner. Even though Tottenham Hotspur fans may not be too pleased to see it, expect Son Heung-min to feature for another 90 minutes. Son may however, find himself in different positions on the pitch, not solely focusing on being sole creator around the edge of the box but playing fast counter attacking football against undoubtedly better opposition than Korea have faced of late. Coming on at half time in both of Korea's last two fixtures, Hwang Hee-chan will be chomping at the bit to show what he can do from the start and it will be interesting to see whether those on the periphery of the starting eleven such as Paik Seung-ho and Lee Dong-gyeong manage to get any minutes.

Prediction

I think we will see an entertaining game with both sides willing to express themselves. Korea may be pleased to finally get the chance to play together in front of a crowd and certain players may be looking to impress before December's EAFF E-1 Championship in Busan. Hopefully Korea manage to spring an upset against a Brazilian side who may be sore from their hectic 'Superclassico'. Both sides may settle for a draw in a neutral venue.

South Korea 2-2 Brazil

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