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Goal difference books South Korea's World Cup place

Chung Sung-Jun

Asia's World Cup Qualifiers, for the most part, wrapped up today. Japan and Australia booked their tickets to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil while Group A, featuring South Korea, was set to play a little later in the day. Chung-Yong Lee would miss out on South Korea's final match of the group stage with a hamstring injury but that seemed to be more precautionary than anything as he still made the bench for his country.

The match itself didn't go well for the Koreans as they went 1-0 down to an Iran goal in the 59th minute from Reza Ghoochannejhad. Their rivals in the match, Iran, sat second in the group at the start of the day and could leapfrog South Korea with a win for the top spot. The other team in contention, Uzbekistan, took on Qatar in the other match. Uzbekistan could move out of the intercontinental play-off with a major win in that game, having to overcome a six goal differential.

In the qualifying for Asia, the top two teams in each final group (four teams total) are automatically into the World Cup and the two third place teams face off against each other in a two-legged play-off. That pair of games will involve Uzbekistan and the winner of Oman v. Jordan, set to be played in September. The winner of that play-off goes on to face the fifth place team in CONMEBOL qualifying. At the time of writing, Uruguay and Venezuela are level on points.

Uzbekistan certainly gave a go of it in their match, beating Qatar 5-1 at home thanks to goals from Ulugbek Bakaev,
Oleg Zoteev, Odil Ahmedov, and a Bahodyr Nasimov brace. Ultimately, it would not be enough to jump past South Korea in the group, despite the loss in Seoul. As a result, Chung-Yong Lee's side has secured their spot in Brazil.