The Hangzhou Asian Games are just 40 days away, but South Korea’s soccer team, the “Tigers of Asia,” has been hit with a bumpy start for both men and women.
The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, which were postponed by a year to prevent the spread of COVID-19, will kick off on September 23. Ahead of the official opening day, the soccer schedule begins on Sept. 19.
South Korea’s U-23 men’s soccer team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, is in Group E and will face Kuwait on Sept. 19, Thailand on Sept. 21 and Bahrain on Sept. 24.
South Korea has won back-to-back gold medals at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and 2018 Jakarta-Palembang. Head coach Hwang Sun-hong vowed to keep the momentum going during the roster announcement press conference on March 14.
However, there are many who are scratching their heads as to whether Hwang will be able to lead South Korea to a third straight title. At the 2018 tournament, Kim Hak-bum chose Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Eui-jo (Nottingham) and Cho Hyun-woo (Ulsan) as wild cards to cover the front and back line, and it paid off.
However, ahead of the tournament, Hwang was criticized for not having a strong attacking lineup, with Park Jin-seop, Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai) and Seol Young-woo (Ulsan) as wild cards and Park Jae-yong (Jeonbuk) and Ahn Jae-joon (Bucheon) in the front line. He also admitted that Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) was one of his first choices, but negotiations with the club were not finalized.
Anyway, once the roster was finalized, Hwang held a closed-door training session on the 7th. However, overseas players such as Lee Kang-in, Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), and Hong Hyun-seok (Gent) were left out, and the team focused on the big guns.
Even the A team hasn’t been able to train with the full squad. A team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann wants Lee Kang-in and Chung Woo-young for the September A-Match in Europe and is at loggerheads with Hwang, making it crucial for the KFA, including National Strength and Conditioning Committee chairman Michael Mueller, to organize transportation.
Still, the men’s soccer team is in good company with its Asian Games roster. The women’s team, coached by Colleen Bell, hasn’t even been named yet. Bell has said that he will wait until after the World Cup to announce the roster.
The women’s team, looking to qualify for the tournament for the first time in eight years after the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Canada, will be hoping for a strong showing with a balanced new structure that combines the experience of veterans like Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC Wimin) and Park Eun-sun (Seoul Metropolitan Government) with the promise of younger players like Chun Gar-ram (Hwacheon), Chu Hyo-joo (Suwon), and Casey Fair (PDA).
However, contrary to expectations, Korea finished the tournament with one draw and two losses and returned home early. After returning home, Cho So-hyun (Tottenham Hotspur Wimmin) said that Korean women’s soccer was still a “frog in a well.바카라사이트
Bell, who had called for the team to advance beyond the round of 16 before the tournament began, left the tournament with a lot of platitudes but no nail-biting numbers.
With the tournament just 40 days away, the team will need to finalize their roster quickly, get to the bottom of their World Cup disappointment, and rebuild their pride from the Asian Games. The women’s national team’s best finish at the Asian Games is third (2010, 2014, 2018). After three consecutive bronze medals, the women’s soccer team will be aiming for a medal this time around.
Unlike previous Asian Games, both the men’s and women’s teams are facing a “mountain to climb” with just over a month to go until the Games kick off. Despite this, the Korean men’s and women’s soccer teams will be eagerly anticipating their performances to see if they can rise to the occasion and bring home a medal.