South Korea and Uzbekistan will play their fifth match in the final Asian qualifying round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Tuesday. Both teams are in Group A, where they also compete against Iran, Syria, Qatar and China.
In the pre-match press conference Uzbekistan football coach Samvel Babayan said:"South Korea are a very strong team in Asia and we need to overcome nerves when facing a strong team," Babayan at a press conference at Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Uzbekistan are currently second in the group after collecting nine points from three wins and one loss. They are two points ahead of No. 3 South Korea with two wins, one draw and one loss.
Iran are the group leaders on 10 points, with an undefeated record of three wins and one draw.
Uzbekistan, looking for their first World Cup appearance, haven't beaten South Korea since 1994, their only victory in 13 meetings. Overall, they have a head-to-head record of one win, three draws and nine losses against South Korea.
"We don't think the match is important just because our opponent is South Korea," the coach said. "For us, every upcoming match is important."
Uzbekistan have conceded only one goal so far in the final round. Babayan said that his side is not playing entertaining football, but is improving with young players.
The 45-year-old said all South Korean players are talented.
"I can't just pick one South Korean player who will give us trouble," he said. "But I can tell you that we'll do our best to stop the player who gives us a hard time on the pitch."
Uzbekistan arrived in Seoul on Sunday on a chartered flight. Despite short preparation time here, Babayan said the team is ready.
"It's all about adaptation," he said. "We thought that is a good way to prepare for the match. We're well prepared."
Igor Sergeev, who plays for Chinese club Beijing Guoan, said the players are determined to show their best performance. The 23-year-old striker added the players will try to execute the coach's tactics.
"Our team atmosphere is great," he said. "When you're called up to the national team, you need to show more than what you have. I will give my utmost even if I just play two minutes on the pitch."