The South Korean men’s national soccer team, led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, will face China in the second Group C match of the 2026 North-China World Cup Asian qualifying round at the Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China, at 9 p.m. on the 21st.
Coach Klinsmann met with reporters on the 20th, the day before, and said, “There is no easy game in the second qualifying match for the World Cup. I expect it to be a very difficult game. I will respect the team called China and the national players,” he said.
Earlier, when he was leading the German national team in the past, Klinsmann had a hard time winning 1-0 away against China in October 2005 ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. “I think (the 1-0 victory at the time) shows how difficult tomorrow’s game will be,” he said. Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), who met with coach Klinsmann, said, “I came to play a winning game. Of course, he is aiming for a scoreless game. “If you don’t lose a point in defense, a very good offense can score enough,” he said.
China’s local interest in this “Korea-China War” is very hot. More than 40,000 tickets to the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center were sold out on the same day, according to Piao Xingqiu, a local sports event and performance booking website in China. Coach Klinsmann said, “I heard from an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) official that all seats were sold out in about an hour.”
Chinese national team coach Aleksandar Jankovic expressed tension over South Korea’s “offensive football.” “Not only Son Heung-min, but there are many players to stop,” he said. (Korea) As the whole team and all players show high-quality tactical movements and sophistication, defense according to the system is needed. There could be a crisis in any aspect, he said.
South Korea is ranked first in the group with a 5-0 victory over Singapore in the first Group C match of the second qualifying round at Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 16th. China finished second in the group on the same day, winning the first match 2-1 against Thailand. South Korea and China are far ahead with 21 wins, 13 draws and 2 losses.