The Korean Asian Games national soccer team met its fateful opponent, Japan, in the finals. The starting lineup is expected to be the same as before. However, it is unclear whether Eom Won-sang (Ulsan Hyundai), who played until the semifinals, will participate due to injury.
The men’s under-24 (U-24) soccer team led by coach Hwang Seon-hong will compete with Japan for the color of the medal at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China at 9 pm (Korean time) on the 7th.레고토토
The Korean national team reached the finals by defeating the host country, China, and Uzbekistan, known as the ‘powerhouse of the age group competition’.
The national team scored 25 goals and conceded 2 goals during 6 games in this Asian Games. In the group stage, they won against Kuwait (9-0), Thailand (4-0), and Bahrain (3-0) with 16 goals without conceding. They then defeated Kyrgyzstan 5-1 in the round of 16, China 2-0 in the quarterfinals, and Uzbekistan 2-1 in the semifinals to advance to the finals.
If Korea wins the gold medal at the Asian Games, it will achieve its third consecutive victory, following Incheon in 2014 and Jakarta and Palembang in 2018.
Some are predicting a tense battle between Korea and Japan. Coach Hwang Seon-hong’s offensive line consists of Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) and Ko Young-jun (Pohang Steelers) taking turns at the center. In the quarterfinals, Lee Kang-in, Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), and Eom Won-sang started on the bench, while Ko Young-jun and Ahn Jae-jun (Buchon FC) started. Conversely, in the semifinals, Ko Young-jun and Ahn Jae-jun waited on the bench.
The main players are Lee Kang-in and Jung Woo-young, both Europeans. Jung Woo-young, who plays in Germany, scored a total of 7 goals until the semifinals. So far, he is the leading scorer in this tournament.
Japan is not easy. Japan won a 3-1 win over Qatar and a 1-0 win over Palestine in Group D, where only three teams competed, and won a ticket to the round of 16 as first place. They then advanced to the finals by defeating Myanmar 7-0 in the round of 16, North Korea 2-1 in the quarterfinals, and Hong Kong 4-0 in the semifinals.
The team’s highest scorer is Kotaro Uchino (3 goals). A total of eight players took turns scoring goals for Japan. Traditionally, organizational ability without being biased in one direction is considered a strength.
This match also has the character of a ‘battle of revenge’ for the Korean team. Over the past five years, Japan has had many victories in the Korea-Japan wars. Since 2019, Korea has played a total of 9 games against Japan (based on U-15 national team level or higher) and lost 6. The wins were the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup round of 16, the EAFF E-1 Championship, and the 2023 SBS Com International Football Tournament. Both were 1-0 wins.
The national team led by coach Hwang Seon-hong met Japan in the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup in June last year and lost 0-3. The lineup at the time included key players of the national team, including Lee Kang-in, Hong Hyun-seok, and Cho Young-wook.