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scouting

2023 AFC Asian Cup: Jordan vs. South Korea

South Korea take on Jordan this Saturday in Group E of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup knowing that a win would put them on the brink of qualification to the knockout stages. Jurgen Klinsmann's men will be looking to harness their second-half showing against Bahrain and get the job done but face a side that scored four last time out.
Updated: 19th January, 15:15 PM KST
(Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Overview & Match Information

Fixture: Jordan vs. South Korea
Competition: 2023 AFC Asian Cup, Group E
Venue: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha
Date: Saturday 20th January 2024, 20:30 KST

The two teams who won their Group E openers, Jordan and South Korea, face each other this Saturday in the all-important second group stage match. A win for either team would put them on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages and in the driving seat to win the group outright. The winners of Group E will face the runners-up in Group D, potentially avoiding one of the tournament favourites Japan. Elsewhere in Group E, Bahrain take on Malaysia at 11:30 PM KST. A draw coupled with a Korea over Jordan win would mean qualification to the Round of 16.

Recent Form

Korea head into Saturday's match on a run of seven straight wins and nine without defeat. Abdullah Al Hashash's 51st-minute equaliser in the eventual 3-1 win over Bahrain on Monday is the only goal Korea have conceded in over 720 minutes of football. In terms of competitive matches, it's three straight wins under Jurgen Klinsmann with 11 goals scored and one conceded.

Jordan, meanwhile, recorded the 2023 AFC Asian Cup's biggest victory so far, putting Malaysia to the sword in a 4-0 win. There were two goals each from Mahmoud Al Mardi and Mousa Tamari to move Jordan top of the group on goal difference. It marked a comeback from the potentially damaging 6-1 loss to Japan in a friendly a week before. From their last six outings, Jordan have won two, lost three, and drawn one.

Team News

South Korea will be without first-choice goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu who has ruptured the ACL in his right knee. Jo Hyeon-woo is expected to step in and deputise.

Hwang Hee-chan joined full training on Wednesday 17th December and could be in line for a return. Kim Jin-su is not yet taking part in full training and, according to News1, looks set to miss the rest of the group stage and the Round of 16 should Korea qualify. Fellow full back Kim Tae-hwan has muscle fatigue in his calf meaning that Lee Ki-je and Seol Young-woo are Korea's only fit full backs. Lee is on a yellow card, though, and could miss the last group match should he receive another caution. Lee Jae-sung was able to shake off a calf problem in time for the group opener with Bahrain. 

Head-to-Head

Park Ji-sung (R) in action vs Jordan in May 2008 (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)
The two teams last met in November 2014 in a friendly with Korea emerging as 1-0 winners; Han Kyo-won got the game's only goal on 34 minutes. It was the first meeting in six years with the previous competitive meeting stretching back to 2008 - a World Cup qualifier in Jordan. A penalty from Park Chu-young earned Korea a 1-0 victory. One particular meeting that will be looked back on fondly by Jordanians is the 2-2 draw between the two nations in May 2008. In qualification for the 2010 World Cup, Korea took on Jordan at Seoul World Cup Stadium and managed to build up a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Park Ji-sung and Park Chu-young. But Jordan fought back with a brace from Hassan Abdel Fattah in the last 17 minutes to ensure the spoils were shared. Overall, there have been five meetings with Korea winning three, with two draws.


The Opposition

(Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jordan, nicknamed The Chivalrous Ones, are ranked 87th in the world and 13th in Asia. The national team is led by Hussein Ammouta, a former Moroccan midfielder, who has also managed the likes of Al Sadd in Qatar and Wydad AC in his native land. He has been in charge since June 2023 and has overseen just seven matches. The 4-0 win over Malaysia was his first since taking over having been in the dugout for some heavy losses  - a 6-0 defeat to Norway and a 5-7 reverse against Iraq.

A total of 16 of the current squad play in the domestic league, the Jordanian Pro League. Midfielder Musa Al-Taamari is on the books of Montpellier in France's Ligue 1 as the only Europe-based player. Three players, namely Ibrahim Sadeh (Al-Khor), Ali Olwan (Al-Shamal), and Yazan Al-Naimat (Al-Ahli) ply their trade in Qatar, while Noor Al-Rawabdeh and Fadi Award are on the books of clubs in Malaysia, Selangor and PDRM respectively. 

Striker Hamza Al-Dardour is the most capped player among the current squad with over 120 appearances. He's also Jordan's top scorer among the current crop of players with 35 goals.

Jordan's best achievement at an Asian Cup is reaching the quarterfinals and have done so on two occasions - 2004 and 2011. In the last tournament, Jordan reached the Round of 16 but lost to Vietnam on penalties.

Who To Watch

Son Heung-min

Son bearing down on goal in the Group E opener vs Bahrain (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

As skipper, Son Heung-min will have been pleased with the 3-1 win over Bahrain, particularly with how South Korea shifted up a gear in the second half. However, after missing a couple of close-range chances, the Tottenham Hotspur star may feel like he could have done a bit better and will want to make amends against Jordan. Son had four shots on goal, two on target. One came from around eight yards out and to the left of the six-yard box (xG 0.16), the other around 11 yards out and to the right (xG 0.22). Son was deployed as the 'one' behind the striker in a 4-4-1-1 for the first 72 minutes before moving up front as the lone attacker in a 4-1-4-1; Lee Jae-sung and Lee Kang-in were deployed out wide. Son had 10 touches in the box which is bettered only by Qatar's Akram Afif who has played one game more. 


Prediction

Korea will need to have their wits about them in the first 20 or 30 minutes but once they find a rhythm, have the professionalism to get the job done. 

Jordan 0-3 South Korea

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