March 24, 2022, 8:12:04 AM
Both sides have already qualified for the competition, but with just two points separating them, this match might be significant in determining who finishes first.
With a win on Thursday, South Korea will be able to overtake their opponents in Group A, putting them in prime position for the last qualifying game next week.
To accomplish so, they'd have to beat Iran for the first time since 2011, when the two teams played to a 2-2 tie in the reverse game.
In that encounter, Son Heung-min gave his club the lead only for Alireza Jahanbakhsh to equalize with 15 minutes remaining, and Paulo Bento's players will be looking to go one better this time.
South Korea has gone on to win their next six international matches, scoring 21 goals while allowing only one.
The visitors, on the other hand, have plenty of confidence, given the only time they've dropped points in this group round was against South Korea, and that was only a draw.
The team has a chance to go unbeaten, which would give them a lot of confidence coming into the World Cup at the end of the year, which they will be aiming to qualify for.
A win would put them in first place, giving them bragging rights, and they have already demonstrated their defensive ability with three straight clean sheets.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still causing problems for South Korea, as some players have had to withdraw due to positive COVID-19 tests, including Jung Woo-young, Na Sang-ho, and Paik Seung-ho.
While this is a setback for the club, it does create opportunities for Nam Tae-hee, Cho Young-wook, and Won Du-Jae to show their worth over the following two games.
Iran is also without players due to the same issue, including two of its most dangerous attacking alternatives, Jahanbakhsh and Mehdi Taremi, who are also out.
Due to the virus, Saman Ghoddos has had to withdraw, further limiting the possibilities, while Sadegh Moharrami has been suspended after getting sent off in their previous match.
We say: South Korea 0-1 Iran
This is bound to be a closely-contested match between the two most dominant teams in the group, with each aspiring to finish as the winners to gain as much momentum as possible.
While South Korea do have the advantage of being at home, they typically struggle against Iran, who are in fine form, and that should lead to an away win by small margins.
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