Gold medal jubilation forgotten. Hwang Sun-hong is back on the road to the Paris Olympics.
The South Korean Under-22 national team, led by coach Hwang Sun-hong, will play an away friendly in France. Hwang will depart for France on the 13th and play a practice match with a local professional team on the 17th. On the 20th, the team will play an exhibition match against the France U-21 team led by Thierry Henry in Le Havre, France. Henri recently took charge of the France U-21s.
The Korea Football Association announced the 24-man roster for the trip to France. The call-up includes a handful of overseas players, including Jung Sang-bin (Minnesota) and Kwon Hyuk-kyu (Celtic). Also back on board are Ko Young-joon (Pohang Steelers), Hwang Jae-won (Daegu FC), Ahn Jae-joon (Bucheon FC), and Kim Jung-hoon (Jeonbuk Hyundai), who shared the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
There are also new faces. Kim Ji-soo (Brentford), Kim Sun-ho (Bucheon FC) and Lee Kang-hee (Gyeongnam FC) are new to the team under Hwang. Kim Ji-soo, the ‘youngest born in 2004’, raised expectations by joining the Hwang Sun-Hong Ho after representing the U-20 and A national teams.
The Olympic teams are preparing for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup, the final Asian qualifier for the Paris Olympics in April 2024 in Qatar. The top three teams from the tournament will qualify directly for the Olympic Games. Fourth place will be decided by the fourth-place finisher in the African qualifiers and an intercontinental playoff. South Korean soccer is aiming to become the world’s first team to qualify for 10 consecutive Olympic Games. Hwang Sun-hong-ho’s side experienced a bumpy ride at the U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers in Changwon last September. The team lost their first group game against Qatar 0-2. The team was lucky that the match did not affect their ranking as Qatar qualified early for the Asian Cup. After a tough first game, South Korea went on to defeat Kyrgyzstan (1-0) and Myanmar (3-0) to qualify for the Asian Cup.
“During this call-up period, we hope to fully understand our team’s strengths and weaknesses and prepare for the final 안전놀이터 qualifiers and the Olympic Games through trial matches against the powerhouse France and local adaptation experience. It is unclear whether we will be able to call up overseas players for the final Asian qualifiers in April next year. We have minimized the number of overseas players in this call-up as well.”