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First time in 17 years since 2006 ‘no-medal shock’…weakest field ever, no wildcards

No frontline striker wildcard for the first time in 17 years.

Head coach Hwang Sun-hong announced the final 22-man roster for the South Korea U-24 men’s national soccer team at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games at the Football Hall on Thursday.

Hwang invested three wild cards in defense and one in midfield. Seol Young-woo, Park Jin-seop, and Baek Seung-ho have been selected to support the “golden second line” of Lee Kang-in, Jung Woo-young, and Uhm Won-sang.

However, I don’t see a clear ‘goalie’. A number of players have been mentioned, but most of them have completed their military service. In addition, the Asian Games are not mandatory, so it was not easy to get cooperation from overseas teams ahead of the 2023-24 season 메이저놀이터순위.

In the end, Hwang chose players who play in the K League 2, such as Ahn Jae-jun and Park Jae-yong. Both players are expected frontline strikers, albeit in the K League 2. This season, Ahn has six goals (three assists) in 14 games and Park Jae-yong has six goals (one assist) in 16 games. They are ranked seventh and eighth in K League 2 scoring, respectively.

Hwang said, “Ahn Jae-jun is a player I’ve been keeping an eye on. He can play on the flanks as well as as a striker. He can make offensive moves. He can also score goals. That’s why I started him. Park Jae-yong has very good link-up play. He is calm and has good door-to-door play.”

However, it will carry less weight than past Asian Games. In the 21st century, South Korea has competed in five Asian Games, most recently winning gold in 2014 and 2018. Kim Shin-wook and Hwang Eui-jo were selected as wild cards. Hwang had one of the best performances of the tournament, scoring nine goals in seven games. Although he didn’t win the gold medal, Park Joo-young was selected as a wild card in 2010.

The last time a purely under-23 frontline striker team competed at the Asian Games was in 2002 and 2006. In 2002, they had Lee Dong-guk and Kim Eun-jung, and in 2006, they had Jung Jo-guk, Kim Dong-hyun, and Park Joo-young. We were able to use wild cards in defense and midfield to strengthen our strength. We have the same options now, but different circumstances.

It’s hard to make a direct comparison. It’s hard to compare names. That’s why Hwang wanted frontline attackers like Oh Hyun-kyu and In Ji-kyu, who were mentioned as wildcard candidates, but couldn’t get them together. As a result, the front line is one of the weakest in history. Therefore, despite having the “golden second line,” there are concerns.

Even more concerning is that in both 2002 and 2006, when they didn’t choose a frontline wildcard, they failed to reach the final. In 2006, they even finished in fourth place and with a gold medal. In many ways, it’s hard to find positive signs.

Nevertheless, Hwang and South Korea have already crossed the Rubicon: the roster submitted to the Asian Games Organizing Committee cannot be changed except for injury or medical reasons. In the end, barring injury, the team will have to stick with its current roster to achieve its goal of a third consecutive gold medal.

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