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Do or die for South Korea's fringe players

sports Updated: May 28, 2010 11:41 IST

South Korea's fringe players will have their last chance to impress coach Huh Jung-moo and win themselves a ticket to the World Cup in their warm-up game against Belarus in Austria on Saturday.

Huh must reduce his squad to 23 players before the June 1 deadline and will make the final three cuts after the friendly in Kufstein, the Yonhap news agency reported from the team's training camp in the Austrian Alps.

"I will utilise the game as the last opportunity to review the capacity of my players even if it may not be recognised as an international A match," Huh told reporters.

South Korea, World Cup semi-finalists as co-hosts in 2002, look in promising form heading into the June 11-July 11 finals after 2-0 victories over Ecuador and East Asian rivals Japan in their first two warm-ups.

Their final pre-tournament match against European champions Spain on June 4 will provide a better test of their credentials than the match against Belarus, in which Huh plans to play mainly reserves.

Prolific domestically-based striker Lee "Lion King" Dong-gook, who was injured in the match against Ecuador, is still a concern and is unlikely to feature, Huh said. "He is recovering at a moderate pace, but the medical team is cautious as his hamstring can be strained if he uses a sudden burst of speed," he added.

The Koreans open their campaign against Greece on June 12 and will also face Nigeria and Argentina in their opening round in Group B.