“I hope we are 100 percent fit.”
The South Korea Under-24 Men’s National Team, coached by Hwang Sun-hong, will kick off the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games 2022 at 8:30 p.m. today against Kuwait in Group E at Jinhua Stadium in Zhejiang, China.
Head coach Hwang Sun-hong arrived in Hangzhou on Nov. 16 and has been training with the 21-man Taegeuk Warriors since then. Led by captain Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai), the squad includes wild cards Park Jin-seop (Jeonbuk) and Seol Young-woo (Ulsan Hyundai), as well as players of the same age, including Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), Lee Han-beom (Wilt Miran), Uhm Won-sang (Ulsan), Jung Ho-yeon (Gwangju FC) and Ko Young-joon (Pohang Steelers).
He joins the team a little later. He’s the big brother everyone’s been waiting for, Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain). Lee plans to join the French club after their 2023-24 UEFA Champions League match against Dortmund on Sept. 19.
In fact, until the afternoon of Thursday, Lee’s arrival was not certain. There were concerns that if the negotiations between the KFA and PSG fell through, Korea would have to play the Asian Games with 21 players instead of 22.
Coach Hwang Sun-hong said at a press conference on the 14th, “I’m also frustrated. I am personally communicating with Lee Kang-in. He wants to join the team as soon as possible, but there seems to be no coordination with PSG on the timing.”
Since Lee hasn’t been at 100% recently, and the tournament is not a national team competition, PSG could have decided that it would be more damaging to let him go.
But thankfully, the agreement was amicable. “After discussions, it was agreed that he will join the Asian Games squad after the home game against Dortmund,” the KFA said on Friday. “Finally, we received an official response from PSG on Thursday night that the club will allow him to join the Asian Games squad on June 20 without any other preconditions.”
He will miss the first game against Kuwait and the second against Thailand, but could be a substitute for the third game against Bahrain if he is fit. Lee was sidelined for about a month with a left quadriceps injury in late August and missed the national team’s two September A matches. Lee Kang-in’s physical condition needs to be assessed.
On the 18th, Hwang Sun-hong, the head coach of Hangzhou, said, “He is expected to arrive after 6pm on the 21st. We have to continue to build with the players. We will check closely and make a good combination.”
The match between PSG and Dortmund will take place at dawn on the 20th. However, Hwang plans to give up his early morning sleep to watch what could be Lee’s comeback game. 먹튀검증
“It would be nice to play a lot of minutes in good shape,” said Hwang. I hope to be 100% fit. I plan to watch the match.”
Before Lee Kang-in joins the team, however, they need to win their first two matches to secure a spot in the round of 16, or at least get a head start.
“I think the first game is the most important,” said Hwang Sun-hong. “We want to win, we have to win, and we will win,” he said. If the players keep their composure rather than being in a hurry and under pressure, I believe they will win. Please give us a lot of support.”