The time for the Asian Games is coming back. The competition among players for the Taegeuk mark is getting fiercer.
The Korean national under-23 (U-23) 먹튀검증 team led by coach Hwang Seon-hong will challenge for the first time in history to win three consecutive championships at the Asian Games held in Hangzhou in September. Korea previously won gold medals at Incheon in 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang in 2018. Korea has to overcome the variables to go to the top of this tournament. The Hangzhou Games were originally scheduled for 2022. However, due to COVID-19, it was delayed for a year. The age of participation was also expanded to 24 years old, born in 1999.
For director Hwang, it is bound to be complicated. Coach Hwang is not only preparing for the Hangzhou Asian Games. With one year ahead, he is also preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Children born in 2001 can participate in the Paris competition. Director Hwang is looking at people born in 1999 up to 2004. He is, in effect, running two age-specific national teams.
The players are working hard to receive the ‘snow stamp’ of the coach. The progress of European players is fierce. Lee Kang-in (22, Real Mallorca) is putting on a ‘magic show’ in every match. He received praise from around the world in his match against Celta Vigo on the 18th. Lee Kang-in, who played full-time as a starter, was applauded for his sharp free kick and pressure relief on a different level. After the match, he was voted Most Valuable Player (MOM). The local media in Spain predicts Lee Kang-in’s entry into the English Premier League (EPL). Oh Hyeon-gyu (22, Celtic) is also showing a sharp appearance, adapting quickly to the European stage. Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the national football team A, expressed his anticipation, saying, “It is not easy for a young player to get a chance to play for a huge club like Celtic. You have to compete to play, but you will learn a lot.”
Oh Se-hoon (24, Shimizu) and Kim Tae-hyeon (23, Sendai), who play in the Japanese J-League, are also showing stable appearances this season. Since the opening, they have played in 7 games each and are playing as a key resource for the team.
The K-League players have a bit of a gap. Some players, such as Eom Won-sang (Ulsan Hyundai), Ko Jae-hyeon (Daegu FC), and Cho Young-wook (Kim Cheon Sangmu) are playing as the core of the team. In particular, Um Won-sang is leading Ulsan’s leading run with MVP-level performance. However, some players are showing jagged performance. In this situation, players who have been out of the game for a while due to injuries are returning to raise tension.
‘U-20 runner-up member’ Kim Hyeon-woo (24, Daejeon Hana Citizen) recently recovered from an injury and hit the ground. On the 16th, he started in the match against Ulsan and showed active movement. He helped his team win 2-1. ‘Germany’ Cheon Seong-hun (23, Incheon United) also received applause in his K-League debut against Gangwon FC on the 16th. He was recognized as Incheon’s new attacking option and led the team’s 2-0 victory.
An official from the Korea Football Association said, “The national team is opening all channels at home and abroad and checking players. We are promoting a friendly match during the A match in June. Nothing has been confirmed yet.” Head coach Hwang travels across the country to inspect players on the field. The competition among players to participate in the Asian Games is getting fiercer.