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Kuala Lumpur: In their first outing since securing the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualification in Pyongyang six months ago, Korea Republic will take on the United States in the first of two matches against the world champions this week.

Thursday’s opener in New Orleans will be the first meeting between the teams since the Koreans earned a 0-0 draw in a 2015 Women’s World Cup warm-up match, and Yoon Deok-yeo’s team have never beaten the Americans in nine attempts.

Speaking as the Korean squad departed for the US, the coach said the matches would be beneficial as his team prepares for next April’s continental showpiece in Jordan.

“I think it’s a great pleasure for us to face the US, who have experienced and technically gifted players,” said the former men’s international.

“Matches against big teams will further develop South Korean football.”

Also on Thursday, China PR will face a challenge from much closer to come, as they take on DPR Korea in the opening match of the Yongchuan International Tournament in Chongqing.

The tournament – which also features the national teams of Brazil and Mexico – will give the eight-time Asian champions three high-quality matches as they continue to build towards Jordan 2018.

The teams met as recently as four months ago, when China PR slipped to defeat 1-0 in Duyun, and DPR Korea are one of only a handful of teams to have a positive historical record against the Steel Roses, claiming 15 wins and eight draws in 33 meetings.

DPR Korea young guns Ju Hyo-sim and Sung Hyang-sim will both miss the tournament due to AFC U-19 Women’s Championship duty, as will Chinese reserve goalkeeper Peng Shimeng.

Photos: AFP

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