June 29, 2022

The South Korean men’s football team won against Lebanon 1-0 in their latest World Cup qualifying match on Thursday, leading it to secure their 10th straight trip to the sport’s showpiece event.

South Korean starting forward Cho Gue-sung in the first half scored late in Group A action at Saida International Stadium, in Sidon, south of Beirut.

The country become the first Asian team to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar and improved to 17 points with five wins and two draws to stay in second place behind Iran, which blanked Iraq 1-0 at home Thursday to reach 19 points.

In the current qualification stage there are two groups of six, while the top two nations from each group will get automatic qualification to Qatar. With three matches to go, Iran has been assured of at least the second seed.

South Korea would have joined Iran on the direct path to the World Cup if the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had lost to Syria or settled for a draw later Thursday in Dubai. Instead, the UAE beat Syria 2-0 to move to nine points, keeping their hopes alive of catching up with South Korea over the remaining three matches.

South Korea’s next opportunity to qualify for the World Cup will be decided on Tuesday against Syria. Regardless of the UAE’s result against Iran the same day they can grab an automatic spot with a win.

South Korea played the match without captain Son Heung-min who suffered a leg injury earlier this month while playing for Tottenham Hotspur.

Lebanon on a last-minute free kick opportunity ended up missing out while South Korea remained undefeated in the qualifying phase.