The U-24 national soccer team, coached by Huang Sunhong (55), is about to make its first appearance in China. The biggest topic of discussion is the competition for the “second striker” position below the striker. Ko Young-jun (22-Pohang), Song Min-kyu (24-North Jeolla), and Uhm Won-sang (24-Ulsan), who have already made their mark in the professional ranks, are expected to compete fiercely.
Hwang Sun-Hong will play two friendly matches against the China U-24 National Team on Sept. 15 (7 p.m.) and Sept. 19 (8:35 p.m.) at Jinhua Stadium in Zhejiang Province, China. The stadium will be the venue for the soccer competition at the Asian Games (AG) in Hangzhou, China in September. It’s the perfect place for the team to get 토토사이트 acclimatized with three months to go. “It’s the last step in the process, and we planned this trial to get used to the local conditions,” Hwang Sun-hong, the head coach, told the Korea Football Association (KFA) before his departure on Sept. 12.
This is the first time the U-24 national team will play an official match. Last year’s Hangzhou AG was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the age of participation was changed. The original AG was open to players aged 23 and under, but the restriction was lifted to “born after 1999” in February after the tournament was postponed.
The first call-up of the U-24 national team was held in March. At that time, Hwang played two friendlies against local clubs in Qatar. The real kickoff will be against China.
The most talked-about aspect of the squad is the second striker. With players up to the age of 24 being allowed to participate in the tournament, Hwang has more options and a happy headache. Jung Woo-young (Freiburg), born in 1999, and Song Min-kyu and Uhm Won-sang already have experience with the A team. Ko Jae-hyun (24, Daegu), Yang Hyun-joon (21, Gangwon), and Ko Young-joon, who have established themselves in the K League, will also be in contention.
When comparing the records of players in the K League, “God” Ko Young-jun stands out. With six goals and one assist in the league, he was nominated for the April-May K League Player of the Month. He was followed by Song Min-kyu (4 goals, 2 assists), Uhm Won-sang (3 goals, 3 assists), and Go Jae-hyun (5 goals, 1 assist), all with 6 offensive points each.
They’re all on an upward trajectory, so it’s hard to see any one of them taking a significant lead. On the contrary, Yang Hyun-joon, who had eight goals and four assists in the league last season, has struggled a bit this year with one goal and one assist. Jung Woo-young has also struggled in the German Bundesliga, scoring just one goal.
Meanwhile, the likes of Lee Kang-in (22-Mallorca) and Hong Hyun-seok (24-KAA Hent), who have been named to the A squad, are looking better than ever. The players will be highly motivated as they will receive a military exemption if they win the AG gold medal. South Korea has won back-to-back gold medals in the last two tournaments.
The final AG roster will have 22 players. 19 field players, excluding the three goalkeepers. A maximum of two players per position will be selected. Add to that the three wild cards, which allow players of any age to be selected, and the competition becomes even more intense. Prior to his departure from Korea on December 12, Hwang Sun-hong told the Korea Football Association, “(The wild cards) have a pool of about 10 players. I have an idea in my head, but nothing has been finalized.”