The South Korean national soccer team, led by Jürgen Klinsmann (58), will face Peru at the Busan Asiad Stadium on Nov. 16 and El Salvador at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium on Nov. 20.
This is Klinsmann’s “first” roster. The March A match against Colombia and Uruguay was played shortly after Klinsmann’s appointment, so players who will be competing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar were on trial. Since March, Klinsmann has been traveling around the K League and overseas leagues looking for players, and he finally finalized the roster in June.
There were changes. Ahn Hyun-beom (Jeju United), Park Yong-woo (Ulsan Hyundai), and Hong Hyun-seok (KAA Gent-Belgium) made the A team for the first time. Kim Joo-seong (FC Seoul), Park Ji-soo (Portimonense), and Won Doo-jae (Gimcheon Commerce) have been named to the national team under Klinsmann.
While there are new faces in the midfield and defense, the one position that remains unchanged is striker. Hwang Eui-jo (FC Seoul), Cho Kyu-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai), and Oh Hyun-gyu (Celtic) were all selected. Oh accompanied Hwang and Cho to the World Cup in Qatar as a reserve player and was officially selected after the last trial.
Oh has been in the best form of late. In his first season at Celtic, he scored six goals in official matches and completed a delightful ‘Domestic Treble’ (League, League Cup, and FA Cup). Oh came on as a substitute against both Colombia and Uruguay 안전놀이터. In particular, he made a strong impression against Uruguay, scoring a sensational turning shot that was disallowed due to offside. There were plenty of opportunities for Oh in this call-up.
However, as the A-match approached, Hwang Eui-jo and Cho Kyu-sung were sharpened after a brief lull.
Hwang joined Seoul on a six-month loan from Nottingham this season. The plan was to regain his form in the familiar K League. He boasted a wide range of movement up front and excellent link-up skills, but the goals didn’t come as expected. Until the 16th round, he had only scored two goals.
However, the last two games were different. In the 17th round against Incheon, Hwang Ui-jo broke his eight-match goal drought with his signature winding kick. In the next match against Pohang, he found his confidence perfectly, scoring a mid-range shot that was more difficult than the one against Incheon. “Even if I don’t score, I’ll keep trying to shoot,” Hwang said, and it was a moment that paid off.
Cho Kyu-sung also came alive. After starting the second game of the World Cup in Qatar against Ghana and earning a regular spot in the starting lineup, Cho Kyu-sung scored one goal before being sidelined with an injury. On his return to the field after two months, he scored the winning goal in the crucial ‘Hyundai Street Derby’ against Ulsan (16R) and continued his resurgence with a multi-goal performance against Gangwon last weekend.
With the A-Match imminent, the competition for Klinsmann’s goal has become even more fierce as the existing strikers have found their form.
A soccer insider said, “Coach Klinsmann has shown faith in his existing strikers. Even when it was expected that Kim In-gyu (Ulsan), the top scorer in the K League, would be selected, Klinsmann’s choice remained unchanged. This shows that Klinsmann thinks highly of the skills of Hwang Eui-jo and Cho Kyu-sung, even if they are not in the best of form right now. “The competition for the starting spots in this call-up will be even more intense, which will be an added motivation for each of the strikers,” he said.