x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Korea planning a Riyadh raid

They have a combined total of 11 World Cup appearances, both have four points from two games in World Cup qualification and both know that a win in Riyadh will be a huge boost on the road to South Africa.

They have a combined total of 11 World Cup appearances, both have four points from two games in World Cup qualification and both know that a win in Riyadh will be a huge boost on the road to South Africa. Tonight's clash between Saudi Arabia and South Korea is a huge game. Two powerhouses from either side of the continent meet with the East Asians looking to end a recent run of bad results against the Sons of the Desert.

Korea have lost three and drawn two of the last five meetings. "It is a tough game but we have come here to win," said Korea's Manchester United star Park Ji-sung. "We don't have a good record against them. We will do our best to change that." Korea drew 1-1 in Qatar last Friday, a disappointing performance after the 4-1 thrashing of UAE in Seoul last month. "I am not interested in this result," said coach Huh Jung-Moo. "The important game is Saudi Arabia."

Despite the problems, the hosts are the favourites. In front of 65,000 fans at King Fahd International Stadium, a fourth consecutive win would put the Saudis in a great position for World Cup number five. In Group One, Pim Verbeek has vowed Australia will go all-out for victory in their against Bahrain despite the absence of a number of key players through injury. Brett Emerton, Vince Grella, Scott McDonald and Craig Moore are just some of the names missing through various injuries.

"We will go into the game aiming for a win as we will field the best players that we have available," said Verbeek. Bahrain coach Milan Macala wants nothing but a victory from his side. "We will fight to get the three points because a draw or defeat will put us out of contention," he said. Japan are looking to record a crucial victory over Qatar when the two sides meet at Al Sadd Stadium. "We want to go back with three points. That's our aim. My players are in great condition," said their coach Takeshi Okada.

Former UAE manager Bruno Metsu is still seeking his first win as Qatar coach after three matches in charge. "Japan are one of the top teams in Asia. But I know their weaknesses, I know how they play. We are ready for them," he said. @Email:sports@thenational.ae