dotorrent blog

Time for us to shine.

Round of 16 Japan-Qatar → Round of 8 China…Hwang Seon-Hong Ho, Lee Kang-In: Why wait for 100%?

There’s a reason why coach Hwang Sun-hong wants to use Lee Kang-in sparingly. Starting with the round of 16 tournament, he will face a series of difficult opponents.

The draw is not favorable for Hwang, who will have to play in China’s inland provinces, where the humidity is worse than in South Korea. Especially in the round of 16, he will have to be ready for anything, as a penalty shootout loss will immediately drop him out. That’s why Hwang is waiting for Lee Kang-in to return to full fitness before using him.

Hwang’s Asian Games squad departed for the final match in Hangzhou via Incheon International Airport on Nov. 16 and are currently training locally to prepare for their first match against Kuwait on Nov. 19. After sweating it out in Changwon, Gyeongnam, earlier this month, Hwang traveled to the National Football Training Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi-do, for a final training session on the 13th before arriving in Hangzhou.

On the 19th, the team will play their first group game against the Middle East’s Kuwait at 8:30pm at China Jinhua Stadium, followed by their second group game against Southeast Asia’s Thailand at the same time on the 21st. On the 24th, they will play their final match against Bahrain in the Middle East at the same time.

South Korea will attempt to win an unprecedented third consecutive men’s soccer title at the Asian Games. The team won back-to-back gold medals in Incheon in 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang in 2018. In Incheon, despite the absence of star striker Son Heung-min due to opposition from his former club Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, Kim Shin-wook, Son Jun-ho and Lim Chang-woo rallied to defeat Japan in the quarterfinals and Thailand in the semifinals, before beating South Korea 1-0 in the final, thanks to Lim Chang-woo’s game-winning goal just before the end of extra time, to win their first gold medal since 1986.

Then, in Jakarta-Palembang, Son Heung-min arrived as a wild card on the day of the first match of the tournament, and the team won the gold medal with an all-star lineup that included Lee Seung-woo, Hwang Hee-chan, and Cho Hyun-woo, all of whom had competed at the World Cup in Russia the same year. After nearly losing to Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals, South Korea went on to beat Vietnam in the quarterfinals and Japan 2-1 in the final to win the title in dramatic fashion. Son Heung-min, in particular, received a special exemption from military service, which paved the way for his long run at Tottenham.

The Asian Games are a big deal for South Korean soccer as a whole.

The men’s team must win a bronze medal at the Olympics or a gold medal at the Asian Games to be eligible for military service, so this could be an important milestone for young players like Lee Kang-in, who hopes to play in Europe for a long time.

However, Lee Kang-in’s arrival in China on the 20th after his French champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) host Borussia Dortmund (Germany) in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League means that the Kuwait game and the Thailand game on the 21st are out of the question. If he performs well in the first two games, his participation in the third game against Bahrain on the 24th will be severely limited.

Hwang’s plan is to use Lee after he has regained a significant amount of fitness and is somewhat jet-lagged, something he said at the departure airport on the 16th.

“I was informed that he will join us after the Champions League on the 20th. When I arrive in China, it will be in the evening of the 21st, but I will take a good look at my physical condition and other things to decide when to play,” Huang said. “The injury is said to be recovered, but I haven’t played yet. I think we should watch the Champions League game (against Dortmund) on the 20th to judge his physical condition.”

Lee was left out of the squad for the Ligue 1 match against Nice on Saturday. He has been rehabbing for the past two weeks due to a muscle injury in his front thigh.

“If he joins us now, we will have to calculate at what point he will be maxed out. Rather than using him quickly, I’ll consider that aspect and decide when to use him.”

South Korea will face Kuwait, Thailand, and Bahrain in the group stage. Kuwait and Bahrain aren’t the top teams in the Middle East, but they’re good enough, and Thailand has the best record in Southeast Asia, so it’s not the best grouping. Of course, it’s not a bad group.

What we need to be more wary of is the round of 16.

If South Korea finishes first in Group E, they will play the second-place team in Group D for a spot in the quarterfinals, which is made up of Japan, Palestine, and Qatar. Japan is bringing a large number of university students to the tournament. It is widely believed that this is not the first team of the U-24 national team. However, at the last Jakarta-Palembang tournament, they finished as runners-up to South Korea with a squad full of top-notch players from the university level, including Hayase Ueda, who now plays for Feyenoord in the Netherlands.

Qatar is also a force to be reckoned with. They shocked Korea with a 2-0 victory in their U-23 Asian Cup 2024 qualifier in Changwon on June 6, and are expected to bring that same team to the Asian Games.

Of course, South Korea will be fielding a U-24 squad that includes wildcards Baek Seung-ho, Seol Young-woo, and Park Jin-seop, rather than the U-22 squad that lost to Qatar, but with Qatar confident in their counterattack, Hwang will have to start planning for the round of 16 with either Japan or Qatar in mind.

And if they make it through the round of 16, they will likely face the home team in the quarterfinals. Having experienced the rough “Shaolin football” of their opponents in their two away trials against China in June, Hwang Sun-hong will need to score an early goal and stabilize his game against the Chinese. Otherwise, the Taeguk Warriors could get caught up in China’s over-the-top tackling. This is why Lee Kang-in, whose skill level is among the best in Europe, needs to be in top form. 먹튀검증

Lee hasn’t played for nearly a month, so he may not be 100% in terms of fitness or game sense. However, there is no need to rush him. He hasn’t played for Hwang Sunghongho in the past year, so Hwang needs to figure out where he can synergize with his second-string options like Hong Hyun-seok and Uhm Won-sang. How to apply the higher-order equation of utilizing Lee Kang-in to the round of 16 tournament against formidable opponents such as Japan, Qatar, and China is the question.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.