International Friendly Preview: Mexico v South Korea
by Football News
Jan 29, 2014 1:28 PM EST
South Korea continue preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a friendly against a Mexico side keen for stability under Miguel Herrera. Hong Myung-Bo's men qualified for their eighth consecutive World Cup finals in June last year and started 2014 in fine fashion with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in Los Angeles last Saturday. The 2002 World Cup semi-finalists will look to build on that success with a victory over Mexico, who endured a tumultuous qualifying campaign. Mexico needed an intercontinental play-off to qualify for the finals in Brazil, beating New Zealand 9-3 over two legs in November after narrowly avoiding elimination in the final stage of CONCACAF qualification. Indeed, Mexico were beaten 2-1 by Costa Rica in the final round of group stage games, but two late goals from the United States in their 3-2 win over fifth-placed Panama booked Mexico's place in the play-off with. The defeat to Costa Rica signalled the end of Víctor Manuel Vucetich's two-game reign as Herrera became the fourth coach within the span of a month. Herrera will hope that he can turn around Mexico's fortunes heading into the World Cup and that striker Oribe Peralta - scorer of five goals across the two games against New Zealand - will be able to inspire them to a third straight win under his stewardship. Meanwhile, South Korea's squad is bereft of talent such as Bayer Leverkusen's Son Heung-Min and Augsburg's Ji Dong-Won, although striker Lee Keun-Ho, who has 18 goals from his 59 caps, is included.