Taeguk Warriors have Azkals in their sights
Seoul: Korea Republic are aiming to kick off their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 journey with a win when they meet the Philippines in a Group C match on Monday.
Korea Republic and the Philippines will square off at the Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. China and Kyrgyz Republic are the two other teams in the group.
Although Korea Republic have not won the continental title since 1960, the Taeguk Warriors are consistent performers at the AFC Asian Cup, having taken four runners-up and four third-place finishes. The Philippines, meanwhile, are making their first appearance at the Finals.
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The two sides will face each other for the first time in 39 years. In their last meeting in 1980, Korea Republic defeated the Philippines 8-0.
Korea Republic have a perfect record against the Philippines with seven wins, scoring 35 goals and conceding none.
Both teams are led by foreign coaches, and it will be a meeting between an ambitious Portuguese head coach and an experienced Swedish tactician.
Korea Republic are coached by Paulo Bento, who was appointed last August after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Under Bento, who previously managed the Portuguese national team and clubs like Sporting CP and Olympiakos, Korea Republic have so far collected three wins and four draws.
The Philippines are led by renowned coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who has managed various clubs in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and China, as well as national teams like England, Mexico and Ivory Coast.
The 70-year-old took over the helm in October, and has so far collected two wins, two draws and three losses with the Philippines.
Korea Republic haven't done particularly well in opening matches at previous Asian Cups, with four wins, eight draws and one loss. But the last defeat in the first game came in 1964.
Fourteen of the 23 Korean players went to Russia for the 2018 World Cup and should have no problem adjusting to the atmosphere of a major competition.
Nine players already have Asian Cup experience, with five of them set to make their third consecutive continental tournament appearance.
On the Philippines roster, 21 of the 23 players have experienced European football, although only three of them are still playing there.
Veteran midfielder Stephan Schrock (pictured above) is probably the most decorated player on the Philippines roster.
The 32-year-old, who represented Germany at youth levels, played for German Bundesliga clubs like Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt and Greuther Furth.
Sources: Yonhap News Agency, Korea Football Association, Philippine Football Federation, FIFA via Getty Images
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