Korean national team head coach Cho Kwang-rae has revealed that he would like a friendly against a Middle Eastern side before his national team takes on the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar. In preparation of the Asian Cup, the national team will be training in the Middle East from the end of December to January before the team travels once again to Doha, Qatar. The most likely candidates for this pre-tournament friendly are Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Since winning the first (1956) and the second (1960) tournament consecutively, the national team has failed to win the Asian Cup in fifty-one years. During the past years, the Korean side has failed to perform against their Middle Eastern opponents in the continental tournament. In 1972 (1-2 loss to Saudi Arabia in finals), in 1980 (0-3 loss to Kuwait in finals), 1988 (3-4 loss on PKs to Saudi Arabia in finals), in 1996 (2-6 loss to Iran in quarter-finals), in 2000 (1-2 loss to Saudi Arabia in semi-finals), in 2004 (3-4 loss to Iran in semi-finals), and in 2007 (3-4 loss on PKs to Iraq in semi-finals) the Korean side was stopped by a team from the Middle East.
The Korean national team is in Group C along Australia, Bahrain and India. Kuwait, who is in Group A, and UAE, who is in Group D, would prove to be fair sparring partners before the start of the tournament. Historically, Korea has a record of 8 wins, 3 draws and 8 losses to Kuwait and a record of 9 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses to UAE.
Head coach Cho Kwang-rae will reveal his 50-man preliminary squad for the Asian Cup on December 7th for training domestically. The first official national team call-up will be on December 24th and an official 23-man squad will be finalized on December 28th. After training until January 6th, the national team will travel to Qatar and play against their first opponent Bahrain on the 10th.