Korea Rep.: Choi KANG-HEE (KOR)
Iran: Carlos Queiroz (POR)
Referee: TAN Hai (CHN)
Assistant Referee 1: MU Yuxin (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: HUO Weiming (CHN)
Fourth official: MA Ning (CHN)
Ulsan: Team Melli qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside Korea Republic after Reza Ghoochannejhad’s second-half strike secured a 1-0 win for Carlos Queiroz’s side on Tuesday.
Ghoochannejhad capitalised on an error from Korea defender Kim Young-gwon on the hour mark at Munsu Stadium to find the net for a third consecutive game as Iran advanced to the FIFA World Cup for a fourth time as Group A winners.
Korea were forced to endure a nervous few minutes with their defeat opening the door for Uzbekistan before their automatic qualification for an eighth consecutive FIFA World Cup was confirmed on goal difference as the Central Asians could only manage a 5-1 comeback win over Qatar.
“We played with a great team effort and we achieved an important win. We were technically the better side and we managed to win the match,” said Iran coach Queiroz.
“We knew that the match would be very difficult for us and that is why we were realistic. We took advantage of a mistake from our opponents and scored an important goal which was enough to win.”
Needing to only draw to guarantee their qualification, Korea dominated the opening exchanges as Kim Shin-wook first volleyed over the crossbar before Lee Dong-gook tested Iran goalkeeper Rahman Ahmadi with the first shot on target after 13 minutes.
And with Iran’s lone striker Ghoochannejhad struggling for service as the visitors looked to defend in numbers, Son Heung-min then failed to find the target after 21 minutes.
Korea’s best chance of the first half arrived two minutes before half-time as Lee Myung-joo raced clear of the Iran defence only to be eventually muscled off the ball just outside the penalty area by a combination of defender Khorso Heydari and goalkeeper Ahmadi.
Korea continued to dominate proceedings at the start of the second half, but on the hour mark Ghoochannejhad took advantage of a horrendous error from Kim Young-gwon on the right wing before coolly lifting the ball over stranded goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong.
The home side were denied an equaliser with 13 minutes remaining as Ahmadi produced a superb double save from point blank range from Kim Young-gwon and Jang Hyun-soo before Lee Keun-ho headed wide from Kim Chi-woo’s cross in stoppage time.
“We qualified to the World Cup but it wasn't a clean finish. I have nothing much to say about this defeat and I'm the one to blame,” said Korea coach Choi Kang-hee.
“The players gave their best but we didn't play as we wanted to. I hope that our team can learn a lot from the qualifiers and that we can have better performances in the future.”
South Korea vs Iran World Cup 2014 qualifiers goal